Ghosts, bullying and Egyptian mythology are not three subjects you would usually find all together in one book but The Weight of Souls by Bryony PearcGhosts, bullying and Egyptian mythology are not three subjects you would usually find all together in one book but The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce has exactly those three things and combines them perfectly! I love ghost stories and Egyptian mythology so this book was definitely on my 'must read' list, I was intrigued to see how these different elements could all tied together.Also, any book that opens with a Poe quote is not going to be bad!
Taylor Oh is cursed... Her mother is dead, her father is convinced both she & her mother are mentally ill and spends his days trawling the internet looking for 'cures' and her best friend is one cancelled get-together/ditched school day away from disowning her because Taylor, in what she thinks is a bid to protect those closest to her, can't be honest and tell her the truth. This is both a weakness and a strength for Taylor, she does herself no favours by closing herself off or denying herself normal every day things like best friends, boyfriends and a social life and it only makes her more vulnerable. On the other hand she starts to realise that behaving this way is not good and she finds the strength to pull herself out of this mindset - eventually! Throw in secret societies with both unexpected and influential members and bullying from what feels like every student at her school certainly makes life difficult for Taylor. After discovering that the secret society, the V club has its roots in her school and is some sort of extreme 'truth or dare' group who had involvement in Justin's death, with members including including Justin's girlfriend and best friends. Taylor becomes determined to get to the bottom of his murder, not only for him but for the sake of her own sanity too. Thanks to Justin having given her his Mark the hunt for his killers turns into an exhilarating race against both time and the Darkness.
The supporting characters in the Weight of Souls are a varied bunch. I really loved Hannah - the best friend - who was there for Taylor as much as she was allowed to be, until pushed away once too often. Hannah gives Taylor every opportunity to be honest but of course she doesn't do this until it's pushed their friendship beyond breaking point. I wasn't a huge fan of Taylor's father to start with, he seemed set on there being only one possible explanation for Taylor's ability to see ghosts and the Mark on her hand and that is mental illness, the same mental illness that caused his wife's death and the one responsible for causing the accident that led to him being wheelchair-bound. I thought it was quite significant when he finally accepted that neither his wife or daughter were mentally ill and that in actual fact the Oh family curse is very real, especially after he see's Justin in all his ghostly glory! The biggest change in character of course is in Justin, who goes from alive & bullying to dead & apologetic for everything that went before. Justin admits that he could well have been able to stop at least some of the devastating bullying that went on, having had a crush on Taylor from the day he arrived as a new student he found it easier to be nasty to her after she showed no interest in him and unfortunately the other members of the V club picked up on this. This was the only bit of the story I found a bit difficult to believe, having gone through almost constant bullying from Justin and his friends I found it hard to believe that Taylor would forgive & forget so quickly, even if Justin was dead.
The action in the story was fast paced and well written, especially in the second half as more & more secrets are revealed and challenges are made. The ending was suitably both resolved and left hanging, I can only hope this means there will be a sequel of some sorts as I want to know more! This is the second novel I've read by Bryony Pearce, the first was Angel's Fury which was also her first novel published, and I sincerely hope we get to read something else from her soon!...more