It’s not often I run across a book that moves me. I don’t mean that as just emotionally, but spiritually. I have to say that I haven’t read a story th...moreIt’s not often I run across a book that moves me. I don’t mean that as just emotionally, but spiritually. I have to say that I haven’t read a story that hit me that deep since reading the biblical verse where Jesus saved a prostitute from an angry mob and made it a lesson to not judge people. I won’t get all spiritual in this review, but I just have to make it clear, I was deeply moved, and I can’t stop thinking about Emily Colt.
I’ll break it down without spoiling any of it. Emily Colt is the female lead in Paper Souls. A strong character, with a sometimes uncommon outlook on life. She is surrounded by both loving and not so loving people who push and pull on her for their own selfish reasons, much like everyone else in the world. What stands Emily apart from most everyone else in the world is that she’s schizophrenic. I loved how most of the book refers to her “illness” but never goes into too much detail until about halfway. When the reader finally gets a glimpse of not just her narrative mind but the voices that talk over her own narrative, its eye opening as to why she hides from the world. For those of you who know nothing about Schizophrenia, you should look up a video that CNN did with Anderson Cooper. It was called “Anderson Cooper tries a schizophrenia simulator” and is one of the best real life tests I’ve ever seen about what it’s like to be schizophrenic.
I do not pretend to completely understand the experience of one who is schizophrenic. I hear several voices in my head, but when I tell them to be silent, they do, and when I focus on something, they assist me with multiple points of view. That might not be a normal thing either, but my voices work with me as a team and I can easily tune them out when I need to. That is not the case for someone who is schizophrenic. One of my most favorite people in the world was my grandmother, who had been a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. I never understood what that meant, until I saw her with my own eyes, completely overwhelmed by her voices. It was terrifying to see someone you love suddenly be someone you don’t recognize.
Getting back to the book, Emily Colt has learned to live with the voices, and she has a successful life, but things happen, her life takes a few strange turns, and as you follow the story through her eyes, you will question what is real and what isn’t. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The true lesson in this book is about the human soul.
Allie’s writing is very smooth and the flow of the story expertly handles the chaotic life of Emily Colt in a way that makes it easy to read and enjoy, but it will tug on the heart strings and really dig deep into you. Superb. One of the best books I’ve read all year. That’s saying a lot because this isn’t my usual genre, but finding out the main character was schizophrenic drew me to it.
My hat is off to all those who have to live with schizophrenia and still find a way to make a life for themselves. This book is an absolute must read. Allie Burke just earned a new diehard fan, I will go out and find the rest of her books, no matter what they are about, and I’m going to read them. I will also be purchasing this book for my collection and to support this writer. This review is based off of an advanced copy for reviewing.(less)
This was not at all what I expected when it was recommended to me. I was expecting a fantastic nightmare, but the book took a turn, which I figured ou...moreThis was not at all what I expected when it was recommended to me. I was expecting a fantastic nightmare, but the book took a turn, which I figured out early where it was going, that took it on the worst nightmare any child could ever have. I absolutely recommend this book. It was absolutely amazing and will leave you looking at yourself and wondering if you could have handled it any different than Connor. I'm not sure I could have been any stronger than the boy.(less)
An excellent research tool on emotions. Every writer should have this in their library. It maps out emotions like you would a book outline, making emo...moreAn excellent research tool on emotions. Every writer should have this in their library. It maps out emotions like you would a book outline, making emotion progressive like it should be and helping to make characters less psychotic and weird emotionally.(less)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I started reading, and I was a little worried when the description of the protagonist came across a l...moreI wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I started reading, and I was a little worried when the description of the protagonist came across a little cartoony to me. After reading a while, I became very interested in the little teenager. He had a lot of hope and dreams, but he was a bit on the unlucky side. He was too impulsive, as most teens are. This gave him plenty of room to grow, and he did. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic Canada, where an unknown human called the Dream Eater turned the world upside down by bringing to life his own nightmares in some sort of cleansing. Weaver, the story’s hero, searches not only for a safe place to survive, but also to understand who and what he is. He has no real origin that he knows of and no family to turn to. His only allies are a motley crew of other survivors, some friendly, some not.
The characters are colorful and diverse, although a couple sisters are confusing to tell apart at times. That was the only confusion about characters I ran across. Their hair color was different but I confused their names several times. The world building was well done. The nightmares gave it a fantasy feel in a post-apocalyptic setting which seemed to blend perfectly natural. That is a testament to the author’s ability to create worlds. Nothing ever felt unnatural. The story flowed well through most of the book and the descriptions were well done without going over the top or too little.
The only real issue I had with many of the characters was the overflow of dialogue which constantly explained important issues. I always prefer watching characters learn about things as the action commences, but there were a couple scenes where characters just sat around and talked. The talking scenes were informative but slowed the drama down a little. There was also a lot of chatter during the action which reminded me of something like an anime film and about halfway through the book, that’s how I began to imagine the characters. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the dialogue bothered me. Otherwise I would have given the book a five star rating. In the end, I would recommend this book to any fantasy lovers. It’s original, entertaining, and has a great ending that didn't disappoint.
The author sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I will be looking out for more novels in this series. (less)