Hello readers! It’s my stop during the blog tour for The City of Souls by Vacen Taylor, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out the book details and my review on this adventurous MG fantasy. Don’t forget to enter giveaway, the link is at the end of this post.
The City of Souls (Starchild #2) by Vacen Taylor
Publication Date: October 14th 2013
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Fantasy / Middle Grade
A gripping forest adventure full of mystery, betrayal and courage.
When a new sealer boy joins the journey, Mai, Long, and Akra are confident their challenges have come to an end. But as they embark on their journey once again, they find themselves having to escape from the clutches of dangerous enemies.
They travel to Naroan – the forest lands of the soulbankers, the regulators of life and death. Against the backdrop of rules and suspicion, the children are challenged with unravelling the mystery of the Silvershade, which has been calling to Akra from the moment he arrived in the forest city. But Long is tormented by his doubts – he must face a deadly power from the Underworld before it takes him into the darkness.
Will the dark pebble take Long along a road of no return? Or will his friends find a way to help him?
*** Note: I received this book from the author as a winner of giveaway. Many thanks to author and Rachel for tour invite. ***
Previous book I read in series:
The City of Souls was adventurous second book in Starchild series that takes children- Akra, Mai, Long and Sahib- to the City of soulbankers, regulator of life and death and their adventure in this city of souls. It was about beginning of the war against evil forces, irresolute mind, self-doubt, manipulation, love of sister, friendship and understanding and controlling the elemental powers and skills.
It should be read in order to understand world, characters and how journey of these brave kids started. Writing was again vivid and engaging. Characters, elemental magic and the world was well written in third person voice.
It started from where the first book ended. Mai, Akra, Sahib and Long are back on their journey towards Valley of Thousand Thoughts but once again they faced danger from the very first chapter. Sandslavers, Melkarie- a deadly underworld winged creature- and unexpected help from soundwaver caused them to take different direction from their journey and landed them in Naroan, the city of souls, where Akra felt the pull of mystical song that they later found was coming from Silvershade. But Long was troubled with the wound on his ankle inflicted by powerful being of underworld, Amual, who has found his weak link and tried to manipulate his thoughts.
What was the Silvershade and why it was calling to Akra, how Long would fight the evil talks of Amual, could they find Silvershade and save Long from Amual’s dark plans? It was fun to get answers to these questions.
The world was brilliant. This time we are introduced to one of the city of soulbankers, their lush green forests, their characteristics, way of living, and how they use their elemental magic. I loved that chamber of souls and how they collect and preserve each souls until they were given new life.
This time the story focuses a little more on Long and Akra’s pull towards a magical mysterious sound in soulbanker’s city and mystery behind it. Long’s self-doubt, jealousy because of Sahib and desperation to prove his worth lead him to darker path. I didn’t expect him to cave in so easily. At the same time I could see how Mai”s ignorant behavior towards Long and taking things lightly when it came to his feelings affected Long. She cared for him but Long couldn’t see it as she didn’t express it outwardly. I have a feeling their bond is going to turn strong and unbreakable in next books of the series.
Returning of Sahib’s memory and his real identity, the healer’s power and her true nature, upcoming war was interesting turn. Each chapter had adventure, tension, mystery or new information about the world with interesting details.
Mai and Sahib were amazing in this book. Mai’s trust and faith in her brother was great. She was shocked finding out what he was up to and after all that happened, I admired her for her unwavering love for Long. Sahib turned out even more interesting. Akra was still confused because of his broken memory but he showed lot of courage and strength in climax. They all were brave and strong kids with soul filled with good and kindness.
Climax was tense and uncertain. End was tragic yet the hope in these kids kept them going ahead on their journey.
Overall, it was gripping and unique middle grade book with magical world and developed characters. I surely recommend this book to young readers.
Vacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements. A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).
Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018. The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.
Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.
She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.
In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.
What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.
Giveaway to Win all 4 books of the Starchild Series by Vacen Taylor (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book in this series? Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is your favorite Middle Grade book and character?
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