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Westlake Soul

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  315 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Westlake is in a permanent vegetative state. He can’t move, has no response to stimuli, and can only communicate with Hub, the faithful family dog. And like all superheroes, Westlake has an archenemy: Dr. Quietus—a nightmarish embodiment of Death itself.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by ChiZine Publications (first published January 1st 2012)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  315 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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This is copy 54 of 150 signed numbered hardcover copies.
Kealan Burke
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, heartbreaking, inspirational, and incredibly well-written novel. Like a cross between Richard Matheson's WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and Walton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, WESTLAKE SOUL is nothing short of a masterpiece. Nothing more I could say would achieve anything other than ruining the impact. A wonderful piece of work by an author who has shot up to the top of my reading list by virtue of this singular triumph.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
After a surfing accident leaves him in a Persistent Vegetative State, Westlake Soul finds he has developed "superpowers," among which are the ability to communicate with his dog and other animals (but not humans, for various reasons having to do with "normal" people's psychology), and the ability to astral-project his soul. He is fully aware of the sights and sounds around him, yet is unable to communicate this fact to his family, who must make some life and death decisions about him.

This was my
J.K. Grice
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-fantasy
Rio Youers does a stellar job with a unique premise in this highly original novel. Westlake is a wonderful character, and this is a wonderful story.
Adam Cesare
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rio Youers’ WESTLAKE SOUL is one of the very few books I’ve ever finished and said to myself “I’m going to read this again some day.” There are just too many books I want to get to, and not enough hours in my life to go re-reading everything I liked. But I didn’t like Westlake Soul, I loved it.

WESTLAKE SOUL is the story of Westlake, a twenty-three year old surfer, who’s put into a persistent vegetative state by a surfing accident. The catch is that the novel is narrated by Westlake himself, he’s
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bought-own
This book is so unique but incredibly sad. I was brought to tears on several occasions throughout the book. It is haunting and devastating. It really makes you look at life a whole lot differently. Appreciate all you have as you may not have it forever.

An absolute must read.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reads
After a fluke surfing accident and getting smashed in the head with his board, Westlake Soul was without oxygen for 8 minutes and 44 seconds. Now instead of surfing, he spends his time talking to his dog Hub, drinking sweet Jevity 1.2 Cal thru a tube and swimming with the whales. He just may be the smartest person in world history. But he still ain’t no Pip.

Now he is in a life and death battle with his archenemy Dr. Quietus, whose laughter is the sound of breaking bones and who is biding his tim
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Katy by: NetGalley
Disclosure: I received a free eGalley eBook ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: “All superheroes get their powers from somewhere. A radioactive spider bite. A science experiment gone awry. I got mine from a surfing accident in Tofino. The ultimate wipeout. I woke up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a body like a wet paper bag. . . .

Meet Westlake Soul, a twenty-three-year-old former surfing champion. A loving son and brother. But if you think he’s just a r
Frank Errington
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first met Rio Youers at 2010 Horrorfind Weekend in Gettysburg, PA. That day he read from Dark Dreams, Pale Horses and I was instantly a fan. Since then, I've read everything I can get my hands on from this relatively new writer.

Although I discovered Rio at a Horror convention, I wouldn't necessarily call him a Horror writer. Speculative fiction maybe? Actually, he's just a damn fine writer.

Westlake Soul is his best book to date. Westlake is a 23 year old former surfing champion. Now more like
Christina Boulard
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes--it happens very rarely--but sometimes you are privileged enough to read a book that touches your soul.
A book that makes you feel blessed to have experienced it. A book that makes you look at life in a completely different way.
Westlake Soul is one of these books.

Westlake Soul is the story of a man--named Westlake Soul--trapped in his own mind.

After a surfing accident, Westlake's brain suffers too much trauma. He goes into a permanant vegetative state.
Unknown to his loved ones, Westlake
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
The idea of reading a book about the ramblings of a man in a vegetative state wasn't exciting and this story has rested in my Kindle for months. A weekend trip with no internet or phone service forced me to begin the story. I read it in two sittings. Being a person who believes in possibilities made this book a very enjoyable read. Understanding that it is speculative fiction and not a memoir or a based on any sort of medical reality is essential. If, like myself, you were that person who had to ...more
Jon Recluse
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
WESTLAKE SOUL is an unprecedented work of speculative fiction. Capturing the horrific isolation of a mind that surpasses human potential trapped within an inert body, cut off from his loved ones, save for his faithful dog, yet painfully aware, without a voice.....knowing his family has lost all hope and are contemplating the unspeakable to free themselves from the burden he has become. Little knowing Westlake is so very present, and waging war with what may be the specter of Death in the shadowy ...more
Kevin Lucia
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
No idea. You just have no idea. Full review coming soon...
Josh reading
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a book! This was my first read by Rio Youers and I am officially hooked, I can only wonder how it took me this long to discover his writing. I’ve heard great things about his more recent titles but thanks to a recommendation by a fellow book friend (thank you Steven), I stated with Westlake Soul. The book tells the story of a professional surfer who suffers a debilitating injury while surfing that causes him to become a paraplegic. Westlake gains “superpowers” so to speak and can read t ...more
Rob Twinem
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Truly brilliant and emotional writing of the highest order.... Westlake Soul dwells in a permanent vegetable state following a surfing accident and he is now lives (if you can call it living) back home with his family. Although he cannot communicate, through his mind and his thoughts we travel with Westlake as he spends what remaining time he has in the presence of those he loves and who in turn love him....there are so many poignant moments in what undoubtedly is a memoir of a young man who con ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Egalley thanks to ChiZine Publications
So, I opened this book expecting a light superhero's story. Not so much.

I would never ever look at or think of people who are stuck in a permanent vegetative stage in the same way I used to look them. And that's what this powerful heart wrenching book did to me.

Westlake is a former golden boy, talented surfer and a charming person generally loved by all. He's got a girlfriend whom he loves deeply and who he thinks is his future Mrs. Soul. He's got his best
Timothy Baker
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
ust finished a pre-release copy of Rio Youers novel, Westlake Soul. I met Rio last year at the World Horror Con in Austin and again at this years WHC in Salt Lake City. Had a great conversation with him sitting in the hotel bar, throwing back beers. Later that night he read from Westlake Soul at the release party. The chapter was titled "On Love". I was stunned and transported. Told him it was starbright and that it had made my trip. Luckily, I picked up on of the few copies.

Westlake Soul is lik
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Rio is one heck of a writer. This thing kinda wrecked me. I don't cry during books, not sure why because I sure can let loose with a movie, but WESTLAKE SOUL had me tearing up more than once. The read was uncomfortable, beautifully tragic, and the premise unique in every way. If I had a problem with it at all it would be the very end. It was a loose ending and felt anticlimactic considering the beautiful buildup. I wanted more. And had it been there it would have wrecked me even more. ...more
Tracie Orsi
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was twelve years old living in New Jersey when the battle over Karen Ann Quinlan's life became headline news. Her case, presented by her parents to the New Jersey Supreme Court, made national news. The court found in favor of the Quinlans to remove the artificial life support from their daughter. Karen Ann Quinlan lived another ten years, dying from pneumonia.

I always wondered if she dreamed.

Then came the fifteen year legal battle over the life of Terri Schindler Schiavo in which her husband f
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Thinking meat
Recommended to Alan by: A dry period, a stark color scheme, and a clever back-cover excerpt
This compact and quickly-read novel—I burned through it in less than 24 hours—from a tiny but fierce Canadian fringe press may have a title that's mysterious but awkward, and obscure authors giving it glowing cover recommendations (well, okay, Peter Straub isn't all that obscure, but I'd never heard of the rest of 'em), but Westlake Soul has one thing really going for it right away: a great elevator pitch.

This shows up on page 12 of the book (the second page of the actual story) as well as on th
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-list-2018
This book has wrecked me. A masterpiece of originality. heartbreaking. Will make you look at and appreciate life in a whole new way, and that’s not an easy thing to admit for this cynical old bastard. I loved everything about this, and you will too!
Benjamin Ethridge
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Being a big fan of Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun," and having the chance to hear Rio Youers read the first few chapters of his latest novel, I was primed and ready to like WESTLAKE SOUL.

I ended up being wrong about that part. I didn't just like the novel, but LOVED it. What can I say that hasn't already been said by other readers? It's a masterpiece of elegant, emotional, funny prose that will captivate you from beginning to end. You don't just know the characters in this book, their DNA coils ar
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excerpt from my review on Shroud Magazine Book Reviews online (

...Every word, every delicate phrase, glows and vibrates with Westlake’s sly and optimistically world-weary voice. Witty, compassionate, and full of life, Westlake is the quintessential fighter—always striving for “more”. Though he is a superhero, he’s not perfect and is still human—which is the entire point. As he powerlessly watches the people he cares about ride out the curls of their lives, Westlake lea
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Wow. This book is so interesting, beautiful and so emotionally wrenching. Westlake Soul is a powerful and beautiful book. Westlake Soul the character was layered and his loss was devastating to his family, friends and to the reader. I would like to try this book again when I can be better prepared for the struggles and heartbreak of this cast of characters. Last night I literally cried for over an hour reading this story. I find I have always been a very empathetic reader and often shed a tear o ...more
Damien Angelica Walters
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully heartbreaking story!
Nick Cato
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
(Review coming soon to THE CROW'S CAW)
Kevin Whitten
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books
Great book - my first by Youers. I hadn't read any reviews of the book and had no clue what it was about when I picked it up - Actually I thought it was more of a horror book based on the cover and the circle of Twitter friends that turned me on to Youers.

Anyways - I don't want to be the one that ruins this beautiful story for a potential reader so no spoilers here. I loved the flow of the book, dazzling imagery and a protagonist you will fall in love with. Lots of feels - lessons. There is powe
Cory Stegall
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what an amazing ride. This book was so well written, so emotional, a masterpiece in my humble opinion .This one will stick with me for a while.
Before I start this review, I want to take a minute to say how awesome the cover of this book is. I partially wanted to pick this up because it deals with a tough subject in a speculative way, but at the same time, the cover really piqued my interest. Nice blend of colors and the character's features. Even so, going into this book, I didn't have a clue who Westlake Soul was. Reading along, I understood that he's supposed to be a superhero of sorts, but trapped in his own body and fighting for th ...more
Roxanne Kade
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I first read the synopsis for Westlake Soul, I expected a superhero adventure novel with just a touch of seriousness, but what I got was the total opposite. This book is a non-stop emotional whirlwind that ripped through my heart and left me devastated.

WARNING! Prepare to cry your eyes out!!

The story tells of Westlake Soul, a free-spirited surfer whose entire life changes within a split second. An accident that leaves him in a permanent vegetative state, forces him to watch in painful sil
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Rio Youers is the British Fantasy Award–nominated author of End Times and Point Hollow. His short fiction has been published in many notable anthologies, and his novel, Westlake Soul, was nominated for Canada’s prestigious Sunburst Award. Rio has been favorably reviewed in such venues as Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and The National Post. His new novel, The Forgotten Girl, will be released by Mac ...more
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