Soul Eater by Michelle Paver

Soul Eater
Soul Eater by Michelle Paver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My daughter had four of the six books in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series out from the library at the same time, rushing through one after another. I’ve been trying to catch up with her, so when I finished Spirit Walker (book 2), I picked up Outcast, thinking it was book 3.

As I read, I had a feeling that something was missing, that Paver was making references to things I didn’t remember, but I thought maybe she was just changing up the formula a bit, keeping the reader in suspense and planning to reveal the rest of the story later. I was 90 pages into Outcast when I finally looked at the spine of the book and saw that it was book 4, not book 3. So, I set Outcast aside and got Soul Eater from my daughter.

What’s funny is that near the end of Soul Eater, Paver actually uses the technique I’d suspected her of at the beginning of Outcast. We’ve got this period of lost time in which this thing happens that makes it so Torak has to keep another secret from the Raven clan and sets up the conflict for the next book (although I didn’t realize the period of time was lost until Paver mentioned it, and I still can’t figure out when exactly this particular scene could have happened).

The books still tell a fairly intriguing story, but I think I’m growing weary of them. Torak just can’t seem to catch a break, and that grows tiresome. He’s really not learning a lot along the way, either; every book he makes the same mistakes, relying too much on himself and not enough on his friends, keeping secrets when he should be confiding in those he can trust. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Torak are all cut from the same cloth, it seems. I can only hope that this means that Torak will eventually grow from his experiences rather just getting into—and out of—scrapes over and over and over again. I’d really like to see the series turn into a coming-of-age story. He’s the right age for it, but so far, I’m not seeing a lot of evidence that’s going to happen.

I don’t know. I do like the idea in the stories that the potential for evil actions lives in each of us, the whole “chasing demons and soul eaters” thing is just getting a little old. But the books don’t take very long to read, and my daughter really likes talking to me about them, so I’ll probably finish the series.

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