Small Review's Reviews > 7 Souls

7 Souls by Barnabas Miller
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Oct 11, 2015

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bookshelves: published-2010, g-paranormal, pub-random-house, read-2010
Read in October, 2010

2.5 stars

Why isn’t she dead yet?

I loved the idea for this story, but the execution left something to be desired. You're told from the outset that Mary dies, so I was expecting a short chapter or two run through of her last day and then she'd die early on and we'd get to the untangling the mystery through the eyes of others part of the story. Unfortunately, my expectations were way off base and this negatively affected my enjoyment. Mary doesn't die until page 179. One hundred seventy nine! That's half of the book just to get to the "hook" of the story described in the jacket flap!

Kill me now

Written in the third person and with absolutely massive chapters, I found this book tiresome, especially since Mary isn't the most likable character. She's shallow, mean, and kind of dumb, so listening to her whine about how none of her friends are mentioning her birthday when *I* wouldn't ever want to be her friend let alone throw her a party was almost torturous to read.

I know we're not supposed to like Mary, but all I can say is the authors did an excellent job in making her easy to despise. I hated her from the first page to the last page. None of the other characters are any better, especially Mary's boyfriend Trick. He's completely vile.

The part right before Mary dies is suspenseful and reads like a fun slasher flick. I was finally engaged at this point, though, admittedly, a large part of me was into it because I knew Mary was finally going to get killed and I couldn't wait to see that happen. Once she dies, things started to pick up and the book became a lot more interesting.

Here we go now

During the possessions, Mary not only sees what happened that day through the eyes of someone close to her, but she also shares the person's memories of crucial events involving Mary herself. The memories were interesting and provided clues toward the mystery of who killed Mary. As it turns out, a lot of people had motive (heck, *I* had motive!).

The way the mystery unfolds in this half was suspenseful and fun to piece together. Best yet, the truth about Mary's death is (at least to my experience) completely original and I found it easy to accept once all of the pieces are revealed. I never saw it coming. I really liked the ending and would almost raise the book up to three stars on the strength of the climax. Almost.

To read, or not to read

The big question is: do I recommend this book? The answer is that I'm not really sure. There was a lot I didn't like about this book, but ultimately the story was unique and interesting and I am glad I pushed through to the end (though I really could have done with a different epilogue, it was beyond horrible!).

I don't recommend against 7 Souls, but I think a bit of advice is in order: The first half of the book is long and boring, but it's riddled with clues that later on will prove very important to solving the mystery. Pay attention to the little details. Nothing is superfluous and all of the things that seem like silly character building are actually relevant to the mystery itself. I wish I had known that going in, as I think I would have enjoyed the first half a lot more if I knew it wasn't just overwriting on the authors' parts.

I’ve seen this book compared to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, but I haven’t read that book so I can’t comment. I was reminded strongly of 7 Souls when I read Rosebush by Michele Jaffe. FYI, this book is a standalone.

Originally posted at Small Review
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