“Soulswift started off strong. With a brilliantly imagined fantasy that examines faith, trust and uncertainty. After thirteen chapters the story slowly unraveled into miss-matched threads, leaving me sadly disappointed and utterly confused.”Cecelia Beckman Sheaf & Ink
Gelya is bound to serving the Father: a powerful and all-knowing deity, until her death. Upon her passing she will become a Soulswift, an immortal bird whose purpose is to carry deserving souls to heaven.
But enemies of the One True God draw closer. Gelya’s faith and beliefs are tested after she meets and saves Tavik. A boy who is regarded as a heathen and enemy because of his own beliefs and faith.
My Review Soulswift
First, I want to stress Megan Bannen’s debut novel, The Bird and the Sword is exceptional.
Even though my review of Soulswift does not receive glowing reviews, I still highly recommend reading her first novel.
Having said that, let’s get to it.
I loved the idea of Soulswift.
Gelya is stereotypically subservient. She follows the rules with no questions asked, somewhat awkward believer of a faith that seems similar to today’s Christianity. It was a good set up. Where I was waiting for Gelya to show her true inner strength. Wanting Bannen to recreate Gelya. Transforming her into a confident, strong renegade. A character who would be willing to burn down the patriarchy and embrace a more feminist view point.
That was not the case.
More often Gelya floundered from a helpless cub to what amounted to be a cliché nun. A girl who has no idea of the world beyond the walls of her convent.
And that was frustrating.
To see a character who had so much promise and NOT change into someone who pushes back against the norm or challenged the status quo, was to say at the very least, disappointing.
In addition to Gelya’s character lacking the strength to become an indelible female character, my mind kept snagging on the language of the novel. Soulswift is not a modern day contemporary narrative. It has the feel of an ancient medieval era, but Bannen infused into her novel language and dialogue that felt strangely juvenile and clashed with the setting. It was as though Bannen were trying to stir together water and oil, modern day language with a medieval era setting, knowing it just won’t mix.
A Few More Thoughts on Soulswift
As for the romance, Bannen sets up a trope I wanted to be the bright side of the novel. But as the novel progressed, the relationship between Tavik and Gelya didn’t feel organic. It didn’t feel like these two enemies were languidly moving towards something more. Something that felt right, leading to a slow burn that would eventually ignite.
Again, that was not the case.
With confusing and often times conflicting religious views, a scattered and forced romance, plot devices that didn’t make sense and an ending that fell flat, Soulswift had so much potential to be a book that fans of Emily A. Duncan’s Wicked Saints and Mary Pearsons Vow of Thieves could have enjoyed.
Happy Reading ̴ Cece
RATING: – Adequately Inked
Author: Megan Bannen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Paperback Publication Date: November, 2020
Audience: 12 and up
Jacket Art: Sasha Vinogradova
Jacket Design: Catherine Lee
You can find Soulswift at HarperCollins Publishing
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