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Return of Souls (A Song for No Man's Land) Kindle Edition
|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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You see, I’m not much for traditional fantasy. I slogged my way through Tolkein’s Lord of the Ring series and felt rather unrewarded (the movies are better, as far as I’m concerned), and forced myself to make it through Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon because of all the praise that Malazan series has garnered. There are exceptions of course – I’m a giddy sucker for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and am always on the lookout for new R. Scott Bakker books. I have a much easier time with urban fantasy series, like Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black novels.
All of this is a long-winded way of my trying to explain that I thought Andy Remic’s latest novellas would be up my alley, with their heavy on World War I and light on fantasy elements approach. Alas, it’s not meant to be…
Although Return of Souls, and it’s predecessor, A Song For No Man’s Land, are novella length stories, I’ve felt they were both too long and unnecessarily plodding. Each book has been divided into four parts, with the first 3/4 devoted to Jones and his time on the frontlines fighting German soldiers and beastly creatures known as walriders. The last quarter, though, is when Remic decides to take a sharp and sudden turn, introducing new characters to eat up the page count, hopping back and forth in his narrative between newbie cast and the old-hands, in order to set up the next book. This is a pet peeve of mine.
When I finished the prior entry in this series, I was curious to see where the story would go. Unfortunately, I found myself hitting a wall before the half-way mark into this latest entry and was ready to move onto some other book instead. Remic introduces a new love interest for Jones to pine after, and it mostly serves to grind an already slow narrative to a near halt. I finished it, merely because these are short books (even if they subjectively feel much longer to me), but can’t muster up the enthusiasm to rate it any higher than a 3-star read – it’s an OK story, and while I certainly didn’t hate it, Return of Souls failed to connect with me in any way past a bit of a time killer.
Fantasy fiends may have a better time with it, or those who don’t mind a war story with rather languid pacing. This book, and this series taken as a whole thus far, just isn’t for me.
[Note: I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.]
<em>Return of Souls</em>, by Andy Remic, is a novella of war and its atrocities that transcends time and dimensions.
Private Jones is a soldier in the trenches in the War to End All Wars (WWI). By so many accounts, it was one of the most brutal wars for soldiers and Remic captures this well through the journal writings of Private Jones as he details the horrors that he's witnessed and the fears that plague him. But as the story moves on, Jones' fears begin sounding a little stranger and stranger and we can't help but wonder if its psychological stress or if something else is actually happening.
But this is an Andy Remic story, and if you are at all familiar with him you probably already guessed that the story would take on a tangent away from a conventional war story.
Private Jones wakes up in a strange land where is found and tended to b a woman named Morena. She tells him of the atrocities on her world and of the battles that have played out. Her role as nurse contributes to his falling in love with her and he promises to help and protect her even in the face of unknown evil.
This is a very powerful piece and I'm really curious to go and read the first part of this story since this feels like a very good beginning to me. There are a lot of unknowns, but Remic builds the story nicely and I trust that he will answer the unknowns as we go (and he does).
I'm not a fan of stories that don't have endings but instead rely on trying to secure another sale by not ending the current story, and for that I take away a 'star,' but otherwise this was a very compelling read that had me eager to turn the page to see where it was going.
Looking for a good book? <em>Return of Souls</em> is a novella by Andy Remic that takes on the horrors of war from different times and different realities through the eyes of a front lines private.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.