Book Review: Souls of the Never (Tales of the Neverwar #1) by C.J. Rutherford

Posted July 9, 2016 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Fantasy, Review / 0 Comments

Overal Rating: two-stars

My original Souls of the Never audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

20 year old Katherine started to have nightmares some months ago. She often wakes up bathed in sweat. Her best friend Perry is her confident, and will try to make Katherine feel better despite her weird dreams. But one day they stumble upon Darren, the boy who lately appeared in Katherine’s dreams, and together they discover that Katherine will be the key in a war between the good and the evil.

The premises of this book were very good, an ancient conflict between the good and the evil, traitors and a girl that will be decisive for the outcome. But the execution was poor. There is a lot going on here, and more background info would have been welcomed. We are suddenly thrown in the middle of the story. The author has the concepts clear in her mind, but we do not. It is recommended to read the short prequel Origins of the Never, so I guess this book would be less confusing having read or listened to it. Since it it a short prequel I would have appreciated if they would have been published together. Origins of the Never was, though, published after Souls of the Never, I understand, in a way to give a more precise frame for the events on this book.

I also felt that way about the Island Katherine builds in her dreams. It seems there is some information missing here, and the way the island is introduced is quite abrupt.

Despite we were given some key events from the character’s past, these remain quite unidimensional and they are the typical stereotypical characters: Katherine is the damsel in distress that discovers she has what it takes to save the world, Perry is the loud and strong friend any girl would want, and Darren is handsome, romantic and completely in love with Katherine. And do not get me started with love. The word appears so many times in this book that it is ridiculous. Katherine and Darren meet and they suddenly feel true love and that they are two halves of the same soul. Sappy? Well, this just the beginning. The characters are supposedly 20 years old, but their emotions and words are the ones from a young teenager. I left that time of my life some years ago, but I can still read some Young Adult novels without thinking they are ridiculous. This one got me rolling my eyes at the mention of true love again and again. I wonder how one can try to save the world when she is completely obsessed about a boy that she can hardly think about anything else.

One thing that I enjoyed was the twist to the story, even though it implies a mix of genres (fantasy and science fiction) that does not seem to work completely for me here.

Katie Welburn did a decent job narrating this story, and she truly became the girls and was able to express their exalted emotions. I felt her register was a bit limited and there was no difference when she impersonated male characters, but this did not prevent me from enjoying the story.

I think this book would work well for young adult female readers that long for romance with some fantasy touches. This is a fantasy book but the fantasy is secondary to the romance, in my opinion.