It makes sense that, being a beacon for regular souls, Cora would also be a magnet for dark souls. The explanation about dark souls and how they come to be is written clearly and is easy to understand. Dev, whose status as a dark soul falls into the ‘yes and no’ category, makes a very interesting and different character. His backstory and it’s connection to Echo and several of the other Grimnirs brings another layer of understanding to the history of Echo and his people.
There is a decent development of suspense before it is finally revealed that the dark souls targeting Cora are being led by Maliina, who is supposed to be locked away in Hel. Suddenly it makes sense that Maliina sketched medium runes on Cora. She plans to use Cora as a skin ‘suit’. Maliina’s ultimate demise is a combination of Dev’s heroics and Cora’s self-preservation.
One of the things I really love about this book is that I finally get to know Cora’s mom and Dad much better. Their relationship with Cora is so well defined and smile-inducing. The whole family dynamic is well-written and so believable. Her parents’ support of her relationship with Echo is a testament to their love for her.
There are a few things from the story that are unfinished, unexplained or unnecessary… I don’t know which. Why are Echo and Cora house shopping in Kayville? Are Torin, Raine and company really leaving town, and if so, why now? If everyone in Kayville has altered memories, why aren’t Cora’s parents’? Why is Raine in a hurry to marry Torin?
I am not quite as enamoured with SOULS as I am with GRIMNIR, but I find it well-written and engaging.