Title: The Jack of Souls Author: Stephen C Merlino
Publisher: Tortoise Rampant Books Publish: December 1, 2014
Type: Sci-fi Fantasy
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Harric, an outcast and trickster, must break a curse that was laid upon him before his nineteenth birthday or a most horrible death will be upon him. He gets pulled into an epic quest be led by old crotchety knight and his best friend Caris, a hopeful knight that is horse touched. He’ll need all the help he can get and maybe some forbidden magic.
The world of The Jack of Souls is a wonderfully built stage and every chapter you learn something new either about the world or the characters. That being said, it is a complicated read. It is so drenched in character leveling and world building that you can miss small interactions. There are points where you just want it to get on with the plot. I felt that many times but segment was so carefully built that you didn’t want to skip any bit of it. Every action had a reaction. Unfortunately for Harric, it never seemed to work out in his favor.
I liked Harric. He was my favorite character. He was raised to abhor magic like the general population but yet seems fascinated by the forbidden. Harris was raised by his mother to manipulate, twist and con every person he meets. He’s really good at it. But people look down upon those people. So Harric hides it, but that has its advantages as well. I liked his interaction with Caris, his best friend. Merlino is very creative. I like the idea of horse touched. In Merlino’s world a horse touch is simply a person In tune with horses. But the downside is they have a hard time interacting and being around humans. But Caris wants to be a knight, on the few female knights in the realm. I didn’t like Willard. He irritated me and seemed like the cliched grumpy, hate the world knight. But he seems very important to the plot of the story. Sigh.
Overall, I like the book. I would give 3 out of 5 crotchety knights. It just took a bit to get through. I will wait patiently for the second book so I can see how this world builds. Not to mention, I want to know what happens to Harric. It took me 4 hours to plow through this word dense 352 pages. But Stephen Merlino is a fantastic story teller. Check it out on Amazon or your local bookstores.