Blurb: Ayla thinks she’s just a comic-book geek with photophobia living in boring Colorado Springs until the day a space fold forms in her living room. When her father drags Ayla through to the other side, she discovers an alien world. Her birthplace. Karanik.
Everything should be great for Ayla, but it’s not. The boy who has been crushing on Ayla all summer was pulled through to Karanik too. Her long-lost sister thinks Ayla’s some sort of messiah. Her grandmother wants to shape Ayla into a ruthless leader and Earth is under attack.
It’s up to Ayla to stop millions of invincible alien creatures before they devour the souls of everyone on Earth.
This book, ya’ll. Just wow.
I was starting to think I’ve been ruined for books and was incapable of truly enjoying them anymore. So I didn’t have high expectations going into Terra Soul by S.J. Abraham. I definitely wasn’t expecting to love it. But I did and I’m so glad!!
The story is mostly from the perspective of Ayla – a geeky teenager whose normal life is smashed to bits when she gets zapped to another planet. But at least she gets the benefit of some answers: why she and her family are so tall, can’t tolerate bright light, what happened to her mother when she died, and more. But poor Justin had finally worked up the courage to approach Ayla – he was hoping for a date, not to be whisked across the galaxy. Neither of them were planning to be caught up in political machinations or a war against vicious souleaters. They definitely weren’t expecting to become Earth’s only hope.
I loved the tone of this book. It was tense and serious but also snarky and funny. I felt there whether the characters were at the comic store in the mall or underground on a foreign planet. The idea of a moon-like “well of souls” and soul items that reveal the shape of ones soul – objects that represent who you are. (It’s such a beautiful, cool concept that I can’t explain well without spoiling.) The book felt like contemporary fantasy not science fiction. Not once did I question any of the characters’ actions, emotions, motives – every aspect was handled perfectly. And I loved the moral and ethical dilemmas Ayla faced – they weren’t easy and there were times she messed up as she struggled over what kind of leader she wants to be. (The whole do-the-end-justify-the-means debate…) Oh – and anyone who knows me knows my obsession with culture. The Karani – they were not necessarily likeable but they had a rich culture that was fascinating.
The only flaw for me – there was occasional swearing denoted as swear symbols (#$@&%*!). I don’t have a problem with characters swearing though I prefer the less severe words and it certainly fit the situations. But since the words weren’t actually shown, inevitably my brain always tried to plug a real word into those spots (and sadly, my instinct often went to the words I’d rather not be thinking). It was the only time the dialogue tripped me up.
I liked the ending, too. Not all done up in a bow but plenty of closure with the door wide open for a sequel. And I want it now!!!!! (I really, really hope there are plans for one.) Also, I think Terra Soul would translate fantastically to film. Hint hint movie/tv people!! (Btw, Terra Soul is also a finalist for Realm Makers’ Debut Novel of the Year!)
What was the last book that really floated your boat?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.