slashmarks (slashmarks) wrote in bookish,

Title: Soul Taker
Author: Celia Rees
Verdict: 3/5
Challenge: Back to school challenge, fifty books in sixty-two days
Synopsis: [ganked from amazon]

As fans of supernaturally tinged horror are well aware, the words "I'd give anything" are not to be spoken lightly. Overweight, uncool Lewis finds this out the hard way when he inadvertently promises his soul to a toy maker who hires him as an assistant. Feigning avuncular concern, Lewis' new boss inspires him to a diet, yoga, and exercise regimen that wins him his heart's desire: popular, gorgeous Jennie. Readers will quickly realize that Lewis' transformation "from fat boy to hunk in about a month" has more to do with the dark arts than his own self-discipline. Lewis is slower on the uptake, even after discovering an eerily lifelike replica of the toy maker's last assistant hidden in the workshop. The melodrama of the final showdown is mitigated by the fact that it's not just Lewis' soul at stake but the authenticity of his new identity. Far more mass-market in feel than Rees' historical novels, this British import will satisfy readers looking for something in the Stephen King mode.

I liked Rees’s Witch Child and Sorceress much better than this book, but it’s true that her talent is still there. The details of the toymaking, and the process of stealing souls, aren’t given anywhere near as much detail as I’d like. I also thought that making the evil magician Roma is both cliché and a bit prejudiced. This is a quick read, good if you need something to distract you for a few hours, but the ending isn’t surprising and the plot isn’t all that original.

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