This month’s book club choice is Soulkeeper by Daniel Dalglish, which did not disappoint. I’m halfway through the trilogy’s last book, and I don’t want to finish it. I know I will feel empty when I read the last page. Do you know that feeling when you start binging a new show and catching up to the current season? Yeah, that’s right around the corner for me, and I am not looking forward to it at all.
Soulkeeper by David Dalglish is the first book of The Keeper series, obvi, but man is it one of the best first books of a trilogy I’ve read in a long time. Soulkeeper is witty and the perfect book for anyone who likes monster-hunting-centered books. It’s fast-paced without rushing. You never feel like you’re robbed of any sort of world-building or character development. The first few pages’ll suck you in if you’re anything like me.
The Basic Plot
The story immediately jumps into the thick of it. Devin, the main character, is sent on a mission to a little remote town where he is tasked with finding the cure to a plague that might not even be real. Devin is a Soulkeeper. He worships the Three Sister Goddesses. They are responsible for the birth of human souls, caring for the soul during life, and taking it after death. A part of a Soulkeeper’s job is to pray to one of the sisters over a dead body so that the soul can be taken during the reaping hour. It’s how souls find peace in this world. But as Devin searches for the mystery cure, he stumbles on a forgotten evil intent to destroy the world.
And if that wasn’t enough, there were some zombies, wolf-spiders, man-eating flowers, and some weird man-eating owls that really raised my blood pressure. All the monsters in this book felt the right level of amazing.
Devin fits the trope of monster-hunter, like Geralt of Rivia or Trevor Belmont. He is intensely loyal to those he cares about and is not afraid to protect others, no matter the cost. But, even if the cost is his life, Devin has that monster-slayer humor that shines so brightly in the dark, violent moments throughout the book. He reminded me of Father Fujimoto from Blue Exorcist in a way. Maybe it’s because Devin is a foul-mouth priest who cracks me up even in the middle of a fight.
Tommy is the awkward but endearing sidekick. His character feels like he is awkwardly fumbling his way through every conversation with everyone else. It’s hilarious to watch unfold. Every monster hunter story needs a funny, awkward kid who rambles his way through the whole plot.
I don’t remember the last time I shed tears reading a book. I do it all the time for anime, but not so much for books for some reason, but Jacaranda’s story got me. She went through so much. She’s got the backstory of an anime protagonist, and watching her seek vengeance had me tearing up at points.
Tesmarie and Puffy
In a story centered around monster-slaying and an evil and dark power trying to kill off humanity, Devin befriended an onyx faery and a firekin. It goes to show that we shouldn’t judge books by their cover. They felt like the Merry and Pippin of the friend group. They brought this charm and coziness that I adored in this book. Soulkeeper has many dark themes and violence, but David Dalglish does a great job of finding little moments of comfort. They feel like a chance for the reader to gasp for air before hurdling back into the abyss.
The big baddie of Soulkeeper. Janus is a maniac in the best possible way. How can you not love to hate someone who revels in slaughter and bloodshed? The worst part is that there is never enough slaughtering for him. Killing is a work of art, and he relishes it. He is certifiably insane, and I love every minute of it. Janus is one of the best villains I’ve enjoyed reading in a long freaking time.
This book is about humanity vs. monsters. Even though the mystical creatures are creatures, Dalglish does a great job setting the conflict up for some climax. You feel as if the conflict between man and fantasy creatures could end happily or horribly. But I won’t spoil how it turns out.
9 out 10 (I really enjoyed every single moment in this book.)
Next Month’s Book Club: Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie