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Review: Soulstice by Simon Holt

WARNING: If you haven't read THE DEVOURING, then you probably shouldn't read this review. Especially since it may contain spoilers!

S o u l s t i c e by Simon Holt
Release Date: 9/1/09
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Next: Fearscape (2010)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 266
Source: Borrowed/public library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kindle
Word Blurb: Manic, nightmarish, and totally spooky!
"The terrifying, nail-biting, and grossly intriguing sequel toThe Devouring.

It's been six months since Reggie first discovered and fought against the Vours, malicious and demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on the eve of the Winter Solstice.

The Vours still haunt Reggie, but only in her dreams-until one night, when an unexpected visitor turns her nightmares into reality.

The battle against evil continues in Soulstice, the second book in the thrilling The Devouring series, which School Library Journal called, 'Comparable to books by R. L. Stine and Stephen King....A must-have for horror fans.'"
What a crazy, thrilling installment in The Devouring series this turned out to be! I'm still shaking. Where to begin...

Soulstice has everything I loved from the first book, The Devouring, but magnified at least five times. So, it's darker, edgier, and much much scarier. But the creepy parts aren't unnecessary, without purpose, but serve the plot well, and effectively kept me at the edge of my seat! 

See, this second book takes place six months after the events of The Devouring and Reggie still hasn't fully recovered from the aftermath of saving her brother, Henry, from these demonic, fear-inciting beings called the Vours. These Vours have a goal: to cross dimensions and possess humans so that they may lead their lives, perhaps torturing other humans as a side benefit. They crave our tastes, smells, and sounds. And, in my opinion, they ultimately envy and despise us humans. Though they may look and even act like the person they've taken over, they are entirely different; heartless and evil entities. So, it was none too pleasant for Reggie to witness what these things were capable of and how quickly they can take away loved ones, or turn them against you, firsthand. Being that these entities can only do their evil-possessing-bodies routine on a day known as Sorry Night, aka the Winter Solstice, Reggie thought that it had been over.

But, boy was she so very wrong!

Reggie's now a threat to the Vours, one they wish to eliminate before they execute their big plan, especially to prevent her from interfering with it. Reasons why I'm really falling for this series is a combination of elements, a mixture of different aspects of this book in particular. First thing, I love Reggie! While she may frustrate me at times, and I sorta wish she had a different name, she's a marvelous heroine. She's bad-ass to the bone, I think. I mean, this girl's done some pretty outrageous things that span the series, but nothing beats the fact that she's courageous enough to meet these Vours head-on. Not only does she deal with a bunch of drama at home - her dad being kind of distant since her mother left them - but also she's constantly having to protect her family and watch out for her younger brother, ex-Vour victim Henry. Though, she does have people to turn to, like her best friend, Aaron, and her former employer, Eben, she still has to carry a very dark and heavy burden, having to make adultlike decisions and tough calls. It cannot be fun for her! And at the end of all of this, she'll never be the same. And I think that's what provokes the most sympathy from me and feeling toward her. 

I loved that this paranormal phenomenon - crossing dimensions and dark, fear-provoking entities - is science-based. It was pretty unexpected, the discoveries that help answer some questions. In book one, I learned as much as Reggie did about the Vours, which wasn't much. It was nice to have some things explained, and discover Reggie's significance in the big picture. She's feared, yet she's needed. Should she fall into the wrong hands... it's basically game over for everyone, adding a concentrated tension on the characters and the sense of 'racing against time'. 

As far as love and romance, I'm wounded. Was it creepy or weird for me to think that just maybe the heroine would fall for one of these dreaded demonlike monsters? But, can you blame me for drawing this conclusion. Not only was it sort of implied, but look at all the other paranormal books out there! Half the time, our heroines are out there falling in love with 'soulless' vampires and faeries and what have you, so, I thought, why couldn't Reggie maybe fall for one of these soulless monsters too? My logic wasn't too far gone, right? But, alas, it was not so. In book one, I was kind of rooting for the whole 'friends become more than friends' love between Aaron and Reggie, but I don't think that's going to be happening either. Quinn is still a possibility even after everything, but... I fear that there may never be romance for my young heroine...

And because of that, I'm not sure if I can fully love and enjoy the series and all the ensuing books. What can I say other than I'm a hopeless romantic at heart?

I think the ending was the freakiest part of the book! (Highlight to read) Why is it that parents never believe their children when they should, despite how bad it looks? And why do they always believe sending them for psychiatric help is bound to solve all problems? Damn it all! I was left in dire suspense!

Needless to say, I definitely am going to be on the lookout for Fearscape, the third book in the series, but just as soon as I get through my already hefty reading pile first!

Favorite Scene:

Even though this is so wrong...
"'Wait. You didn't tell him, did you?'
'After what he's been through -- this would distract him from the big picture.'
'So you put him on a need-to-know basis. I like this side of you, Halloway. It's so... devious.'
'He would kill you if he knew you were still alive.'
'I think you just want me for yourself.'
Quinn stepped closer to Reggie, and she could smell his sweet breath... Her heart pounded in her chest then, and it was pounding now. The gash beneath his eye had started to heal, but there would always be a scar, as well as the black crisscrosses down his cheek. Yet somehow, he wasn't hideous. He'd lost his conventional looks undoubtedly, but they'd been replaced with something striking and dark. His exterior matched his true self now, the Vour self, and Reggie realized she found that refreshing. It was honest. There was no pretense between them, no walls, no masks. It was both a relief and a terror...
'You went through hell and lived,' Quinn said softly. 'That leaves marks.' He lifted her forearm and lightly touched her skin. 'Marks deeper than these.'
*is angry*

Thanks for reading!