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Souled Out (Volume 1) Paperback – July 5, 2012
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Ell Clyne is a cypher: a twin: and without a soul. At twenty, she has been a cypher for the Members for 4 years. The Members are the vampire-elite-the political and legal structure for the vampires. With her ability to `decipher' or read souls, she is called upon nightly to reveal the future. But Ell has a secret that she keeps deeply buried-only now it appears that the Members and the Mass have found out the truth.
Working as a cypher for the vampires has a few benefits. A longer life and more money then she knows what to do with. But it ends there. At 16, Ellenore was chosen as the next cypher, but with it came the headaches and the lost connection to her friends, her parents and recently, the connection with her twin sister Myranda. With a deepening depression, Ell continues to pull away from the reality of life and is determined to withdraw from everything. Yet each night, Gabriel continues to bring a parade of people and vampires that the Members need to be read.
Gabriel is a vampire. Working for the Members, Gabriel is charged with bringing anyone the Members considered important to their future. Reading souls was taking a toll on Ell, and Gabriel was one of the few who knew the reason. Gabriel too, had a past he keeps hidden. But there was more to their relationship than professional courtesy-the continuous battle of wills between Gabriel and Ell was cracking the façade that Ell wrapped tightly around herself-only Gabriel was aware of what drove Ell and he was hoping for something more.
Seth is another vampire who has crossed paths with Ell on a couple of occasions, but Seth is looking for something more as well. And when Ell suddenly finds the Mass (vigilante vampires) waiting for her return, it will be Seth and Gabriel who take it upon themselves to be bodyguard and guardian-only neither has the ability to stop the Mass from attacking their intended victim. And Ell will find herself beaten, near death and buried alive with no hope for rescue. But sometimes friends will reveal themselves at the strangest places and times.
When Ell is brought before the Members, it is Gabriel who will stand by her side. But when the truth is finally revealed, 2 sets of twins-one set once thought to be close-and the other set- still farther apart-will be pulled into a melee of betrayal and conspiracy of a jealous sibling. No one had ever said family was easy.
The character of Ell is in a world of hurt. Perceived rejection by her parents and her sister, as well as the continuous strain of the cypher, will pull Ell into a deepening spiral of self-loathing, self-doubt and anxiety befitting every psychiatrists nightmare. And it will take 2 strong vampires to show her that life doesn't end, when your family calls it quits.
SOULED OUT is a fascinating look at the vampire storyline. Not your typical vampire genre, Souled Out is a mix of the paranormal and urban fantasy. A story replete with the powers of an aging witch, Souled Out is a dark tale of betrayal at the deepest level. Another unique and interesting vampire novel and a couple of vampire myths -shot all to hell.
The book was really well written. It gave me enough detail to satisfy my curiosity but did not reveal everything at once. Also it did not overly describe objects, surroundings etc which I loved as it left something to my imagination (I don't like it when book describe every minute detail with flowery language). I found myself a little confused at times but after re-reading the paragraph/section or reading on a few pages it was cleared up easily enough.
One thing I didn't like/understand is why Gabriel, Seth etc had to be vampires. For me it added nothing to the book and I would have rather Chorpenning make up or use another mythological character related to Ell's job more as it would have been more interesting and unusual. In my opinion it didn't make sense for vampire to want the souls of prospective humans to be read as the book didn't give much background detail on this aspect. In all honesty, for me, it made the book less original as the vampire thing has been done hundred of times now and I don't believe this book needed them. I don't think I would have minded so much if they acted like vampires but besides one feeding, fire and their strength nothing else was related to vampires.
Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to paranormal lovers. It does keep your interest, there was a lot of action and the main character - Ell - was great. However it could have done without the vampires. For me it lumped an enjoyable/partly original (Ell's job and soul element) book into the swamped vampire genre when it wasn't needed. This book would be able to stand on its own if the vampires were changed but for me, as it stands, it is lost as a vampire book.