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After-life just got a lot more complicated

Maggie is a Soul Collector. It’s her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After – but during a mission to New England to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girl’s body. Trapped, Maggie’s soul is catapulted into Ally’s life – and the human world she hasn’t experienced for one hundred years.

But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girl’s soul dies... To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets – because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggie’s could be next!

The Life After series:

1. Soul Taken
2. Soul Possessed
3. Soul Betrayed

208 pages, ebook

First published June 4, 2013

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About the author

Katlyn Duncan

22 books341 followers
Katlyn Duncan is a multi-published author of adult and young adult fiction, and has ghostwritten over 40 novels for children and adults.

When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’, and hanging out on YouTube where she shares her writing process and all the bookish things.

Keep up with Katlyn by subscribing to her newsletter: www.katlynduncan.com/newsletter.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews
Profile Image for Keeleigh.
112 reviews25 followers
October 25, 2013
2.5 stars

This was so boring that I think I fell asleep with my eyes open whilst reading it.

The writing wasn't terrible I guess, nothing really jumped out as being especially good. The world building was pretty damn weak (more on that in a minute) and I wasn't sure if the main character was meant to be deliberately unlikeable or if it was just shoddy writing.

Maggie is a Collector, a spirit which collects souls and take them over to the other side via Gate Seven. Maggie wants a promotion though, she wants to become a member of The Guard, a group which protects humans. This doesn't happen.

Now, what I thought I was going to get from this book was a well written female protagonist that was very introspective about death and humanity and I figured she'd join The Guard and fight "evil" spirits to protect humanity, but a mishap would get her trapped in a human body- possibly sharing a body with another soul.

What I actually got was a teenage angst-fest melodramatic love-triangle with a super confusing plot and flimsy world. Maggie doesn't get the job because she basically doesn't care about humans as long as the souls are recovered properly, she has a hissy fit and then she's called to go help in some serious business.

A girl, Ally, has lost her soul- or has she? someone stole her true soul, but it's never clear what a "true soul" actually is- which is bad, but it's super bad for Ally because she's a Caeleste, basically a half-angel (or is that a Prognatum? you won't know because they'll be used interchangeably at times) and she's going to inherit her angel powers soon.

At this point the plot gets so muddled. Maggie gets trapped in Ally's body but it's pretty much impossible to tell if she's just inhabiting Ally's body and the "true soul" of Ally is gone or if they're sharing the body....she gets Ally's memories but Maggie frequently talks about her as if she's not there or dead or says they have to get her back?? Maggie is pretty much an unlikeable character from the off, a former assistant of hers gets the position of Guard and she doesn't, so she goes mad at him and she tells the reader how incompetent and horrible and useless he is, but you just have to take this at her word because Aaron doesn't actually do anything to warrant this treatment beyond grin at her. On top of all this weirdness the other sub-plot of who Maggie actually is, is muddled in. She's lost her memories, because that's the oldest and lamest story telling trick in the book. So you get weird scene of her remembering bits of her life, and this Jackson guy.

Jackson, who is one of our love interest and he's...something else...some other kind of angel? An evil something else anyway. Or the people he's associated with are evil but he's not?? Lord, I don't know, following this story is enough to give you a headache if it doesn't put you to sleep first. It takes a special kind of terrible to be brain-bendingly confusing and also soul-cripplingly boring

Our second love interest is Cooper who makes the most sense. He's a Guard, he's meant to protect Ally, Maggie's hot for him. BLESSED SIMPLICITY.

Why have I given it 2.5 stars? Because:
1) Boring, but not terrible writing.
2) Some really interesting concepts (perhaps too many) that were good but poorly executed.
3) A lot of this book was so meh that it doesn't inspire enough passion in me to give it such a harsh review.
4) I can see people really into the angel scene enjoying the crap out of this.

Although after I've slept on it I could easily change my mind.

tl;dr: A book that I thought was going to be about a kickass grim reaper turned out to be a shitty angel novel full of love-traingles and mean girl-esque bullshit. I read this drivel so you don't have to, avoid!
Profile Image for Donna.
1,178 reviews
June 26, 2016
SOUL TAKEN was an interesting story but I wasn’t floored by it. It was entertaining enough to get through, but it’s one of those books that doesn’t really leave a mark. It’s just kind of so-so.

Maggie ends up stuck between a rock and a hard place when she gets sucked into the body of Ally while Ally’s soul piece is stolen. The notion that Ally is a mean girl is pretty irrelevant. You don’t see it at all while Ally is still intact; you only see it in a couple memories that Maggie accesses once she’s in Ally’s body.

And the human world doesn’t seem to have as large of an impact on the story as I think the blurb would like it to have. Maggie loves to eat and the feel of things and while she does make a friend with Jamie her work appears to be consumed with things that exist beyond the human world. And rightly so but it refocuses the story a little bit beyond what the blurb intoned.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing either. I enjoyed the story enough. I wasn’t attached to the characters, though. They were engaging enough to read about but I was reading a story I was only mildly interested in. The best parts, I think, were Maggie’s memories from her human life. Those were the most interesting of the lot. The whole soul collecting business came off as more corporate, less supernatural than I would have liked and I’m not the biggest fan of the trope that denies someone information “for their own good.” That was done here and it was used as part character development for Maggie and part suspense for the story, but it didn’t lend enough to either of those.

I did like how the Seth issue was linked to Maggie and not just Ally and how Jamie came to play a role on all of these shenanigans. But ultimately I was nonplussed about SOUL TAKEN. It didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to. Plus it had a lot of odd punctuation, mainly commas that didn’t belong or were missing entirely. Made for a kind of jerky reading experience.

The book’s okay, just nothing to write home about.


I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 4 books2,239 followers
November 4, 2021
I thought this was such a fresh take on a YA paranormal story. It's a low fantasy, but Katy created some really cool new aspects for our world. There were twists, turns, surprises, and a mystery to drive the story forward. I loved the characters, the unique story and the pacing so much! It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a YA paranormal, but this one hits the spot!
Profile Image for Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts).
660 reviews231 followers
January 12, 2019
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The first book in the Life After trilogy is apparently one of those books where the results – or the sequels, per say – could be either good or bad...

The concept is fantastic – I particularly loved the idea of the dead collecting souls and guiding them to the After after death (note: that was not a mistake – After is a place). While the general concept does sound a little similar to Ephemeral , there's really not enough to deem it a complete carbon copy. Duncan gives the idea with her own twist in having Maggie being stuck in a mean girl's body while looking for a True Soul and having time running against her as the others search for Ally's missing soul.

The world building is as equally fantastic as the concept – it's obvious that Duncan is quite thorough, complete, and detailed with developing the After as the author introduces us to Maggie's life from early on in the book, from the different roles to how they all worked to even the possibility of reincarnation.

Duncan's writing, however, did feel a little awkward at times throughout the process of reading Soul Taken. Some sentences didn't seem to flow along together seamlessly, and made the reading a little bumpy. Apparently the inner editor in me questioned a few things.

The formatting is also a little odd. Though it's similar to the problem I had while reading Fire and Shadow (that was a horrendous ride), I don't really have as much as a problem as there's an eenie weenie break between paragraphs and not looking as though words were bumping words (or so close to it, you couldn't even tell there's a break). Not to stress anything, but I honestly didn't notice the little break when I eFlipped to the very first page. Massive panic was involved for a few seconds.

But much kudos to Katlyn Duncan on her characters – they were highly intriguing. Maggie's visions of her past is perhaps one of the things that kept me reading the story and turning the pages without noticing that Maggie spent most of her time in Ally's body doing a little stressing out over the amount of time getting shorter each day the Guards couldn't find Ally's soul. A few of the characters were also highly unpredictable until the end – a character well played, Katlyn Duncan. Well played. I definitely didn't see that coming (a rarity, so I'm doing a happy dance). ^_^

The ending... what can I say about the ending without giving spoilers away? Simply put, a character's exit was quite... pitiful. I say pitiful because three seconds after I literally praised the author (mentally) on a job well done, one of those characters makes a flail-worthy exit (along with the villains). The victory seemed a little too easy and I'm half afraid to pick up the other two books in the trilogy because the very end of the entire trilogy may be similar to the one in Ever After (a happy one). Not that I actually mind a happy ending for all of the characters, but I do love it when the villain(s) makes a jaw-dropping exit that makes you question what just happened.

Soul Taken was a highly enjoyable read, a book that is perfectly paced with intricate and surprising characters thrown into complex situations even after death.

This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts
12 reviews3 followers
June 5, 2013
Soul Taken, the debut of YA author Katlyn Duncan. I am 28 but read many YA books. I have found that some YA authors write only for teens. While other authors, like Katlyn Duncan, write for a broader audience. Katlyn has taken great care in developing her characters. You get a feel for their personalities quickly without them being predictable. The protagonist, Maggie, is simultaneously 17 and 100 years old. This leads to the dialogue being sophisticated enough to engage an older (20’s -30’s) audience with enough flippancy and immaturity to engage the younger audience. The characters are extremely relatable; their struggles though in the “paranormal” world, are struggles everyone can identify with, such as identity, the good vs. bad side of ourselves, and of course love. One of my favorite parts is that while there is certainly a love story going on, it is not over played or predictable like many of the YA books out there. The story line is original, the characters are strong and well developed, and the dialogue is well thought out and fun. It is a quick read and leaves you excited for the next installment of the series. The author gets you into the story quickly and makes you feel for the characters; be it hate, love, frustration, or admiration. Can’t wait to read more from this debut author! Love this book!
Profile Image for Nicky Peacock.
Author 40 books120 followers
June 30, 2013
One of the biggest joys of YA fiction is that the market is wide and the readers ravenous – and Soul Taken is a tasty morsel indeed. It not only gives us an interesting new concept of Reapers and the business of soul recycling, but also a believable and uncomplicated world to visit. It was an easy read from start to finish and invites you into an intriguing, well written story every time you turn on your e-Reader. It has a steady pace and enough of a mystery to keep you reading well past your bedtime!

I know we shouldn’t judge books by their covers but we all secretly do, so - from an aesthetics point of view the front cover is bright and attractive and encapsulates the overall feel of the book. Fresh and beautiful.

Looking at the plot from a writer’s perspective, it could have been all too easy to complicate this story with unnecessary and indulgent side-lines – but Katlyn keeps it effortlessly on-track making it a seamless read. There are some beautiful characters in Soul Taken that tick all the YA boxes and the style is very chatty, much like a secret shared by your best friend.

I’d give this book 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone. Come on Katlyn, let’s be ‘aving book 2!
Profile Image for Fiona Wilson.
Author 2 books54 followers
December 31, 2015
Maggie is a soul collector who has certain ways of gaining the souls she is sent to find. She has been looking for a promotion, however, to the Guards but has been passed over for someone she tried to train.

On the same day she finds this out she is sent on a special mission to search for a special soul. In the process Maggie finds herself thrust into the body of the girl she has been following, unable to get back out and unaware as to how this happened.

Maggie has to try and figure out why this has happened to her, but at the same time search for the soul of the body she is inhabiting.

Along the way she discovers that everything happens for a reason, and that reason dates far back in her life. She has been put inside this body for a very specific reason. Can Maggie figure out a way to not only save herself, but also save the young girl she was sent for?

This is a well written story, and one which is different from others of the same genre. I was worried that it would appear similar to others I have read, but no. The story was one which captured my interest very quickly, and the questions it threw up throughout its pages had me puzzled right up until the answers were given. I will watch with interest for future stories from this author.
Profile Image for Precy Larkins.
Author 4 books30 followers
February 8, 2014
I sat down to read SOUL TAKEN (while waiting for the baby to fall asleep) and didn't get up until I finished the book two hours later. It was interesting, and the world definitely intrigued me. I have to say I truly enjoyed this quick read. :)
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
June 5, 2013
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This was a unique story filled with great characters, an engaging plot, and sweet romance. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes fun clean paranormal books.

Opening Sentence: “Is it ready now?” Dylan asked for the tenth time in twenty minutes.

The Review:

Bridget’s Thoughts:

Maggie has been a Soul Collector for the last 100 years. There’s no denying that Maggie is the best and she is hoping that she will soon be promoted to The Guard. The Guard were an elite group of souls. Soldiers that protected humans and participated in top secret missions, earning collective respect from everyone in the After. To prove that she is a fully capable of being a guard she has to help them find a missing soul, but something goes terribly wrong and Maggie gets stuck inside a human body, a place she hasn’t been in a long time.

Maggie has taken over Ally’s body and she is a very important descendant of the Caelestium. The Caelestium are the original creatures of the after realm and many centuries ago they mated with humans to create the Prognatum. There are only a few Prognatum’s left and they are closely watched by the guard until they turn 18, at which time they go through a transformation and join the Guard as special operatives for the Caelestium. Ally’s birthday is only a few days away and if they aren’t able to reunite her body and her soul by that time, Ally’s soul may be lost forever. Maggie doesn’t have any memories of her past life so being human is a whole new thing to her. As she tries to save Ally’s soul, old memories start to surface and Maggie’s not sure if she is ready to remember her past. Old enemies are making an appearance as well and everyone Maggie cares about is in danger and time is running out for Ally.

I absolutely loved Maggie. She is a fun, courageous girl that is very independent. She definitely has a mind of her own and when she sets her sights on something she does everything she can to achieve it. She is a very caring person, and a very loyal friend. Throughout the book you get to see images of her past and not all of it is pretty. But the more you learn about her the more interesting she became as a character. I really enjoyed getting to know her and I connected with her so easily. I can’t wait to read more of her story.

Ally is your typical mean girl. Maggie see glimpses of her memories throughout the book and you get a pretty good image of what Ally was like as a person. She is a gorgeous popular girl and she isn’t really a very nice person. I have to be honest, I am not usually a fan of the whole popular mean girl image most of the time, but it really worked for me in Ally’s case. Maggie is really quite the opposite of Ally and it’s fun to see how Maggie deals with Ally’s life. You don’t get to know a lot about Ally, so I hope that we get to see more of her in the next book.

Cooper has been Ally’s guard her whole life. He was specially chosen to protect and watch over her until she turned 18. He is very distraught when her soul is stolen and he does everything in his power to try and get it back, but he also has to watch over her body and subsequently Maggie as well. As Maggie gets to know Cooper well she finds that she is pretty attracted to him. Cooper has always had a soft spot for Ally and over the years he came to really care for her, but with Maggie in her body he starts to develop feeling for Maggie as well. I totally fell head over heels for Cooper. I think he is so cute and I am totally cheering for him and Maggie.

Next we have the mysterious Jackson. Maggie first meets him when she is still just a Soul and she feels an immediate connection with him. She doesn’t know how she knows him but he seems very familiar to her. Jackson also happens to be a Shadowed — the enemy to the Souls. The Shadowed are clans made up of souls who were influenced by the Caeleste that crossed over many years ago. Since they are unable to return to the After, they gain their strength by feeding from the life force of human souls. Maggie knows that she should fear Jackson, but she can’t seem to be able to stay away from him. You don’t get to learn a lot about Jackson and his life in this book, but I am pretty sure he is going to be in the next one a lot more and I am really excited about that. I like Jackson, he is mysterious and a total hottie. He also really seems to care about Maggie and I can’t wait to get to know him better.

I really loved this book. From the first page I was totally hooked and couldn’t put it down until I was finished. I loved all the characters, they were really well developed and fun to get to know. The plot was very engaging and had some twists and surprises that I definitely wasn’t expecting. There isn’t a lot of romance in this book, but the little there was, was very cute and promising for future books. The idea for this story was unique and different from anything else I have ever read. I enjoyed Katlyn’s writing and I am really surprised that this is her debut novel. While there isn’t a cliffhanger at the end of this book, which I appreciated, I still can’t wait to see what happens next. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys clean fun YA Paranormal books, it will not disappoint.

Angela’s Thoughts:

Full Disclosure – Katlyn is my friend. I’m thrilled to include her debut book on Dark Faerie Tales. I sent a copy of her book to Bridget because I wanted our readers to have another opinion. I didn’t want anyone to think that my impressions about Soul Taken were biased.

Soul Taken was a complete surprise for me to read. In fact, I knew nothing about it until Katlyn told me that she had landed a book deal with Harlequin/Carina. I was captivated from the first few pages. The first thing that really stood out to me was the writing. Duncan delivered on show vs. tell, which isn’t an easy thing to do. It was so easy for me to picture the events as they unfolded. The reader is instantly thrown into Maggie’s engaging world as a Soul Collector and her latest mission to find a missing soul. I don’t want to give too much away since Bridget goes into a fair bit of character and story plot-points, but I will say that you are in for a bit of originality with this story.

I really enjoyed Maggie as a character. She is relatable in so many ways. Her progression and character development throughout the story is believable and I found myself sympathizing with her situation. If I had to pick a boy that I like the most for Maggie, I’m going with Jackson hands down. He’s a guy that I would want to get to know. I’m hoping that the readers will be treated to a sort of slow burn intensity that unfolds between him and Maggie. Intensity that reveals more and more about him, The Shadowed and if he’s the “right” amount of bad for Maggie. I really enjoy swoony boys and breathless romance in my YA reads, so I hope Duncan delivers more on that front.

Overall, I’m pleased to say that Duncan successfully pens a captivating debut with Soul Taken. The story manages to entertain the reader with a unique concept and strong characters. I loved the feeling that I got when an element of surprise or a twist was thrown from one corner and I was looking around the next corner for the answer. All of the important elements that I needed to enjoy the story are present. The characters are entertaining and fun, the plot intrigued me with some twists and turns, and the pacing of the story was spot on.

Looking forward to more of Duncan’s work.

Notable Scene:

I knelt down again next to Ally and reached out to touch her skin. Even though the sensation was unpleasant, I could feel her pulse as it rapidly declined.

“No,” I moaned. I looked up again to see if any of the Guard could help, but no one was around.

I looked back down at Ally. Her face was paling by the second. My soul started to tingle. I leaned closer to her body, reaching my hand out to touch her face again, when her arm moved toward mine.

I jumped back.

Heather pushed through the crowd. “Did she just move? Did I see her move?” Streaks of black mascara ran down her cheeks.

A ringing sensation tickled my ear and I tuned in to the True Soul’s presence. I looked at each human. The True Soul was close, but who had it? They all seemed equally shocked at the tragedy.

An uncomfortable pressure in my chest drew me closer to her body. My soul slanted toward hers until I was practically on top of her. I helplessly watched my hand morph and stretch toward her body.

“What the—?” I tried to pull back but the strength of whatever was happening had other ideas.

My hand disappeared first, then my arm, then my torso.

But before I could call for help, my world went dark.

FTC Advisory: Carina UK provided me with a copy of Soul Taken. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Maghon Thomas.
1,304 reviews1 follower
September 6, 2013
I love when I find something good!!! So, the other day, I was browsing NetGalley, because I do that sometimes when I have time- not like I don't have 55,000 to be read books LOL but I saw this one and requested it. And then on the day I got accepted for a copy, I also got the invite for the blog tour. I took it as a sign. And I LOVED IT! It's such an interesting take on the "angels" except also, it's not. This is the author's debut novel, and she definitely did not disappoint. Also, it's about reapers... except not. LOL I know I'm getting complicated right. Let me see if I can make it simple without spoilers. There are Soul Collecters- this is like your reaper- but in a little twist, they don't just show up right before the death moment, these can actually watch a little of their "subject", which makes it interesting. Then there's the Guard- like guardian angels, minus the angel part, except a little. And then there's special cases... LOL Isn't there always.

So, Maggie is your main character. She is like the Ace of Soul Collectors. She is so good she now trains the new comers and the "hard cases" as well as keeping her own collections. Oddly, Maggie doesn't remember her past, or human memories. I think the coolest part is when she delivers a person to the "Gate" she gets to experience their version ofheaven. Everyone has a different version of paradise. Maggie is a simple but complicated character. She died at 17, so she still looks 17, but she's been a collector for some hundred years, and therefore does not think or act like a 17 year old. I actually like this. Maggie's character was fascinating to me. As the story went on, I found myself liking her more and more, and cheering for her, and hoping things would just work out. Plus, she is learning things about her future and her past that will have your head spinning right along with hers.

Jackson and Cooper are the lovely HAWT male pieces. Jackson-who you think is the bad guy for most of the book, but I happened to like from the beginning, and Cooper-a Guard who is supposed to help and protect Maggie with her predicament, is your total sweetie, if the warrior type is for you. He really was sweet thought. I am not sure who's Team I am on right now. I would flip flop back and forth as the story went, because they plot would totally turn me around. LOL I, on one hand, would really like her to have a development with Cooper, because he is the present, and took the time to get to know Maggie when no one else would. On the other hand, would like Maggie to rekindle the past involvement with Jackson, as he sure did wait for her. It's going to get more complicated and I AM DYING for more!!! Also, I think in the Cooper section, it may come down to a little competition with Ally and Maggie. HEHEHE this makes me all a flutter and giggly like a school girl... UGH, and now I have to wait for the next book hahahaha!

*sigh* The plot is FANTASTIC!!! I did NOT see that bad guy coming. I mean really. The paranormal part will have everyone smiling because it's so unique, while the climax will have your jaw dropping, because it's pretty crazy! Like wow. Seriously, though, those are the stories that make the best for me. :) I like the shock appeal. Plus, I loved the mystery throughout the whole book. You are learning all about the characters and who they are, and then trying to figure out who the bad guy is, and also praying for something good to be able to come about when you find the bad guy. :) All I can say is VERY WELL DONE! I usually steer clear of the "Angel" stories, but I am officially BEGGING for this author to gimme more, really quick! 5 TRANSCENDING COURAGEOUS PAWS!!!
June 12, 2013
SOUL TAKEN, by Katlyn Duncan is her debut novel full of...pretty bad-ass angels with different kinds of jobs that create a more believable world of paranormal. Soul Taken takes a completely new approach to angels and life after death for all different kinds of people. A book filled with twists and turns and a plot that keeps you turning the digital pages faster than should be humanly possible! Katlyn’s debut novel is surely one that you will not easily forget.
When I got my hands on Soul Taken, I already had high expectations because full disclosure, Katlyn is my cousin, and she blew my expectations out of the water. I've read a quite a few angel themed novels and Katlyn’s plot approach was completely unique, with characters that were entirely likable and realistic. Having such amazing characters really made the story that much more incredible. It’s a rare thing to find books that have characters that are so realistic, well-developed with spot on personalities
Maggie is a soul collector, she helps human souls get to Gate Seven, which is where each human soul goes after death and based on what the soul calls for their Gate Seven is designed around them. I found this version of heaven so creative and special. I found myself imagining what my own Gate Seven would look like. Maggie’s personality was fantastic and Katlyn worked the fact that she is both a 17 year-old and a 100 year-old so wonderfully. Maggie’s 100 years of soul collecting gives her a personality that a more mature audience can relate to while still appealing to the teen audience. I can’t wait to hopefully get Maggie’s memories back with her!
Jackson and Cooper were fantastic. We didn't get to know Jackson very well like we did the other characters, but I am greatly looking forward to seeing more of him, and his ties to Maggie. Cooper was a nice character, sometimes I got the feeling that he was almost like a helicopter mom at times, and I understand he was in a position where it was necessary so I am excited to see him maybe not in helicopter mom role and hopefully learning some more about his past. I am also hoping for some developments with both of these characters in the love department with Ally and Maggie, I'm sensing some possible drama, maybe? :)
I like the difference between the angels, the soul collectors, the guard and the Caeleste. It makes the story much more appealing that it’s not just angels. Everyone has a role and it’s very exciting! The book wasted no time in getting into the world that Katlyn has created flawlessly and very early on she has the readers wondering, “Hmm, what is going to happen?” There was such little predictability which was such a great relief when so many books these days you can guess the ending from the beginning. The plot has it all, action, mystery and a bit of love that doesn't completely dominate the story. I am looking forward to what is going to happen with Maggie and the gang, and I am really looking forward getting to know Ally herself better and learning more about Jackson and his past, and his future as a “good guy”.
I would say Katlyn’s debut was a raging success and I am eagerly awaiting the next as I am sure it will not disappoint! Rock on Katlyn, you’re in the big leagues now and I think you are going to fit in very well! A little side note, the cover is absolutely beautiful and I thought it depicts the story excellently! Read this book, it WILL NOT disappoint!
Profile Image for Heather.
482 reviews45 followers
July 11, 2013
This is a paranormal romance thankfully in the YA genre. I've seen some reviews refer to the beings in the afterlife in this book as angels, but the author is fairly careful of not calling them angels. I liked that about this book as I'm not a huge fan of angels. (Except Patch). So I really had no idea what this book was about when I started reading except from what the synopsis says which is a bit vague.

The characters- Maggie is the one we see the story through and she's a bit cold at first. She's been a soul collector for at least 100 years so most of her humanity is gone. It's only natural that she seems detached as she goes about her job. But in a somewhat contradictory move, she is training the youngest of the soul collectors, children, despite her lack of humanity. Of course, that's what makes her the best soul collector. Still it doesn't seem that she'd be exactly nurturing with kids that have to collect souls and match them with their True Souls, a frightening task I would think for a child. But when Maggie is sucked into Ally's body she has to pretend to be her and has a crash course in being human again. She has feelings and memories that she's lacked for 100 years. And she has a complicated relationship with one of the guards, Cooper, who had been watching over Ally since she was born.

There are other characters but even naming them will give too much away.

The world- This is my one problem with the novel. I felt lost in the After Life world. There is very little world building and while I don't like to waste a lot of time with that, I do need some of it for some understanding. I did not get the concept of the True Soul. (It's explained in my interview with the author). I didn't understand what Maggie and Cooper's world looked like. How were they chosen? Did they do anything for fun? If they did have relationships, what did they do? Is there marriage in the after life? Some things though were explained really well. I knew they didn't have to eat and how the guards could transport anywhere anytime while Soul Collectors were more limited in their travel. So it just wasn't completely fleshed out for me. I felt like there were a lot of holes or just skimmed over.

The plot- I think the plot was really interesting and though not really deep, it had some great surprises and some really dark twists to it at the end. I figured who the villain was pretty early on but the other surprises were not expected at all. Maggie's past was a huge shock and something that will definitely compel me to read the next novel in the series. Plus, there were some really interesting characters that I want to follow and see where the story goes.

What I thought- I guess I kind of said it all in the plot up there. I think it was a little lacking in the world building but the plot was good with twists and a darkness I didn't expect. The characters ran the gamut from being well developed to just well enough fleshed out to make you want to know more. There was a good mix of humans and after life people that it didn't feel too supernatural. The romance was light and I'd actually say this would be a great beach read. It's fast and light enough you can read it in an afternoon. And that cover kind of screams BEACH READ!

I received a copy of this novel from the author for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Laura.
365 reviews278 followers
July 26, 2013
The cover of this book really caught my eye when I was browsing on Netgalley. I think Carina UK have fabulous covers!

This was a completely new and unique story for me. I have not read many afterlife stories before, but this one has peaked my interest again. This story had my attention the whole way through. The writing style was nice and easy to follow and it was particularly nice to read after reading some quite heavy novels recently.

Maggie is a soul collector. When a person is about to pass away, she matches them with their True Soul so that she will be able to take them to Gate 7. Here they either become a Soul Collector like Maggie or they opt to be recycled- start a new life as someone else. As an expert soul collector, Maggie is regularly put in charge of training inexperienced soul collectors. She is hoping to be promoted to The Guard; those that can cross over into different realms and guide humans. But Maggie is horrified to discover that the position is given to Aaron despite him never matching a person with their true soul and one nearly disastrous moment when the True Soul is nearly not matched.

On one of Maggie's days off, she sees at dark figure at the cemetery she is at before Cooper, one of The Guard comes rushing to find her. She is then put on an extremely important Soul Collecting mission, one that could have serious implications if the True Soul is not found. This where she meets Ally. Ally is a prognatum soul; she is descended from the Caeleste, who mated with humans centuries ago and are the originals of the after life. At 18 Ally will transform into Caeleste and join The Guard. But Ally's True Soul has been taken and if it gets into the hands of The Shadowed, Ally will be strongly influenced by them and will be one of them with catastrophic consequences.

It is whilst at Ally's school that Maggie comes across the mysterious man that she saw at the cemetery. Maggie feels like she recognises him and he confuses her by saying "They lied to us Maggie". This really peaked my interest. Who was this mysterious man and how did he know Maggie.

I really liked Maggie as a main character, she was extremely likeable despite seeming to keep to herself. Maggie had been a soul collector for 100 years and has no memory of her previous life. I warmed to her because she was independent and got the job done. Despite keeping to herself, she was a very caring person and wanted to help others out as best as she could. Thinking about it I liked all of the characters, apart from maybe Ally at the beginning as she was mean to some of her classmates.

I really think my love for paranormal stories has grown particularly after reading this. It was a whole new concept, but not at all confusing. There was so much action in this story which was brilliant. It propels the story on and you just want to read more and more.

This was a fantastic debut novel by Katlyn and I am so thrilled that there are two more books to come!! I am now eagerly awaiting the second in The Life After trilogy as although there is not cliffhanger at the end, the ending is left slightly open by the author, so we know there is more to come.
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,474 reviews170 followers
June 29, 2013
Soul Taken is a BRILLIANT read! I loved everything about it and I needed more when the ending came. I mean I have read a lot of books about reapers and soul collectors but this one takes the reading world by storm. I mean the descriptions and the places and oh lord the characters that I fell in love with make everything about reading Soul Taken special and unique. This is one of those books to look out for. I am so glad Paranormal Cravings hosted a tour and posted all over the place other wise I would not have found out about this book. I am still in school taking summer classes which I hate by the way but when I saw the cover to this book I needed to be on the tour and read this book and THANK YOU PARANORMAL CRAVING for hosting this tour and allowing me to have one day of pure reading bliss!

Maggie is a soul collector. She comes from a long line of strong collectors. Her family is well established and well know in their world. So when Maggie decides she wants to be a Guard of Souls she will have to prove herself like her family members did. As she goes out on a mission to find a stolen soul something goes wrong and Maggie ends up in a teenage girls body. Maggie is stunned at first because for over a 100 years she has collected souls and she does not know what a human girl wants or does. Maggie has to figure out what is going on and she seems to be clueless until the girls body she is in Ally. Ally is just not your normal human girl either she is popular and mean. Ally at least has one thing going for her she has a guard Cooper and he has watched her her whole life and he is their for Maggie to help her find out what happened to Ally's soul and where it is.

Cooper has been Ally's guard all her life and he has protected her and kept her safe and sound from all danger and he has started to have feelings for her. But that changes when he and Maggie start working together Cooper starts to have feelings for Maggie. If life could not get so complicated by being in a body Maggie comes across a guy that is dark and brooding but she feels an instant connection to this bad boy Jackson. Jackson is everything she should stay away from because he is a Shadow and Shadows are enemies of the Souls. But Maggie can't help but be attracted to Jackson like she feels there is something there that she is missing so she talks to him.

Can Maggie and Cooper figure out what happened to Ally's soul in time? Or will Maggie be stuck in Ally's body? What will happen between Maggie and Jackson? Will she find out the truth or will it stay buried? This is the next up and coming series to watch out for.
Profile Image for Kaleena Melotti.
44 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2014
Soul Taken is the debut novel by Katlyn Duncan. I started it with no expectations, but was definitely blown away by her attention to detail, the smoothness of the story line, and her creative view of Heaven.

Maggie is a soul collector and she trains other soul collectors. She goes to people near the time of their death and then escorts them to Gate Seven, where each soul will perceive something different as they cross over. I thought this was a wonderful difference from the old tried and true bright light, clouds, sun, and endless green meadows. In particular, I found myself wondering what I would perceive at Gate Seven.

Maggie has been dead for a century, but she died at 17, so she still has some of the traits of a teen girl, but many experiences and the maturity of someone older as well. It's a unique personality that Duncan has written and it blends so well in the story and the roller coaster of a ride that Maggie finds herself on. Maggie has no memories of her life, which she has been told is the norm for soul collectors. She is disconnected from humans and is very much a loner, but really wants to be a member of the Guard.

Jackson and Cooper are the alpha males that butt heads for much of the story. Cooper is a member of the Guard, which is just like it sounds. They guard humans that are descended from when the Caeleste mated with humans, called Prognatum. There are very few Prognatum left. Cooper is the Guard of Ally. At the age of 18, the Prognatum transform and become special Guards that perform missions for the Caeleste. Jackson is a mysterious man who wants Maggie to remember him. But why? Who is he and what does he have to do with her past? Is he really a part of the Shadowed? The Shadowed I could best describe as dark angels.

Here's where we run into trouble. Ally's soul gets taken and her body pulls Maggie into it. Ally's birthday is only a few days away. The rest of the story is an impeccably written page-turner to the end. Will they find Ally's soul in time? What happens if Maggie is still in Ally's body when the transformation begins? Why is Jackson so eager for Maggie to remember her past, and more importantly, him?

I truly enjoyed this book from beginning to end as a completely new take on the afterlife. Duncan's writing was smooth and clear, with engaging settings and dialogue. I was hooked after the first chapter or two and couldn't put it down. There are more questions than answers for most of the story and at the end, it's a fast-paced race to the truth. I could not wait to read the second installment in The Life After trilogy.
Profile Image for preppea.
264 reviews92 followers
June 21, 2013
What an amazingly pleasant surprise SOUL TAKEN was! Lately I’ve gone into reading paranormal books from new authors with a certain amount of trepidation; perhaps because past authors have set the bar so high, or maybe because there’s such a wide range between the epically great paranormal books and the disastrously awful attempts. I can say with absolute certainty that SOUL TAKEN was a phenomenal example of the former. Wow! Talk about a completely unique concept with tons of new ideas, roles, and characters that took me on an exhilarating adventure.

Katlyn Duncan created a world of the After – souls with jobs ranging from soul collecting to guarding/guiding certain members of the living. Besides learning about all of the different jobs one might hold in the After, there were also a ton of characters to meet and get to know. But you know what? Even though SOUL TAKEN had to set an entire stage of new people and concepts, I never once felt like I was getting a history lesson, never felt lost, and I was completely enthralled every step of the way!

I LOVED the characters in SOUL TAKEN – from Maggie who I rooted for even when I found out things that made her motives questionable, Jackson who I wanted even when I worried he might be one of the bad guys, and Cooper who I didn’t know whether to love or hope he’d get out of the way so I could keep my eyes on Jackson… I loved them all. And then there was the action and the story – I am a paranormal romance fan all the way – and though this first book in the series only hinted at romance – I never felt like I was missing out – the action and storyline were just THAT GOOD!

SOUL TAKEN was a solid 4.5 star read and though the book wrapped up nicely without a cliffhanger – it also left plenty of promise for the remainder of the series and me scrambling to find out how long I’d have to wait to get my hands on SOUL POSSESSED! I can guarantee I will be stalking Goodreads and Ms. Duncan’s website for word of when the second book will be out!

**Copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.

**Reviewed by preppea on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews.
Profile Image for Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews.
963 reviews69 followers
January 5, 2014
Soul Taken and Soul Possessed were super good! The main character was spunky and fun, and utterly different from other main characters. The plot was original and I did not see some things coming. The writing was spectacular, and read both books in a matter of days. There was the perfect amount of angst, tension, and passion all blended together.

The main character is named Maggie. As of the beginning of the books, she has been dead for over 100 years. She works as a Soul Collector. Much like a grim reaper, she takes the souls of the living and passes them on to the afterlife. Because she's a Soul Collector, she has no memory of her life before dying nor her death itself. Within humanity, there are the Prognatum. A race descended from angel-like creatures which are revered in the afterlife. When the soul a teen Prognatum, Allie, who has not yet come into powers goes missing, Maggie is called in to find. The best part, if she succeeds, she might just get the upgrade to Guard that she has been dying for. Maggie takes the pros and cons of the job in stride, until she accidentally gets sucked into Allie's body, things get weird. Although doing her best, Maggie starts to see visions from her past. Things she really hopes aren't true. Yet as scared as she is, Maggie faces the dangers head on. She doesn't give up until her job is achieved and she has gotten what she wanted. By the end of the book, fear still rules her, but by the end of book two, Maggie is ready to face these fears and accept her destiny.

Maggie's sudden change of heart is partly inspired by a betrayal that utterly destroys her. Just as she was starting to figure things out, nothing turns out to be as it seems. There are more plot twists than I know how to deal with and the characters deep and complex. No string is left open-ended, and the said betrayal will leave readers hungering for more. The books get better and better, the more you read. Book one gets five stars and book two gets four stars, coming to an average of 4.5 stars for the two books! Definitely worth the read and be sure to pick it up now!
Profile Image for EndlessReading.
519 reviews35 followers
November 4, 2013
A HUGE thank you to Katlyn for providing me with an ARC copy of this book to review <3

I can honestly say this this book/series if the first I have read by this author, and am I glad to of signed up to this!

I love all things whimsicle, and fantasy based! I love this series, I loved Maggie, I Loved Cooper *Sigh* oh and we can't forget about Jackson.....Mmmm mmm mmmmmm, Jackson! I need to read more of this guy.

My mind is currently doing war at the worlds over Jackson & Cooper!

Maggie's life has been about collecting souls since she can remember.

That one charge, though can change someone's life, and that my friend is where the story begins!

Maggie souls has somehow entwined with another, and must embark on a journey to free not only herself but to find the soul that has been so unlawfully taken.

Maggie is thrust into a world full of lies and deceit from the ones she call family, friends.

She had been betrayed in the largest way possible, but this had been done to protect her, protect her from her past.

We see Good vs Bad

We learn as usual there are two verses to every story but which one will Maggie follow.

Can she learnt to trust the supposed enemy?

Can she go back down memory lane?
24 reviews
January 1, 2014
In this wonderfully imaginative book, you follow the story of Maggie; A 17year old soul collector who has been dead for over one hundred human years. Her job, would you believe is to collect souls, and she also trains the new soul collectors that have recently shifted off the mortal coil. She becomes trapped in a teenager’s body during a mission to find a stolen soul; this is where the story really begins. This really is an original book about the afterlife and I have to say; impressed isn’t even the word! Katlyn Duncan welcomes you to her amazing ‘After’ where things are not as you thought they should be. Her incredible imagination really creates something new and fresh about the afterlife and I have to say that I am genuinely excited to read the rest in ‘the life after’ trilogy. I think you will be too. This is a great book which anyone can read, regardless of age. *****
Profile Image for Bodicia.
209 reviews20 followers
February 23, 2014
This is another of those YA novels which can be happily read by older readers. Full of life lessons, morals and integrity this paranormal story has well rounded characters whose emotions I could relate to. Maggie, the main character, died at 17 but many years have passed since then so although she maintains her youthful outlook she is also tempered by wisdom and experience.

Maggie is after a promotion from soul collector to guard but after being passed up for somebody she trained she is offered a case which she is told will help prove her worth to her superiors. During the mission she is pulled into the body of Ally, the young girl she has been sent to help, kickstarting a story to find out who she was and whom she can really trust.

This is the first book in The Life After trilogy but it can be read as a stand alone. An enjoyable, easy read.
2 reviews
November 20, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I am very impressed by it! The author did a great job keeping the book organized, descriptive, easy to follow, and most importantly, interesting! I had a hard time putting this book down—it was definitely a page-turner! The descriptions of all the characters, scenes, etc. were so vivid that I felt like I was right there with the characters— which is something I always look for in a book on the paranormal. If you’re into books about paranormal/ after-life/ etc., this is definitely the book for you! I recommend it, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the trilogy!
Profile Image for Samantha Tonge.
Author 21 books260 followers
February 17, 2014
The book Soul Taken does not belong to my usual genre - I do read paranormal romance but normally it has to involve werewolves or vampires to attract my attention! However, it was good to read a book that stretched me in terms of following the afterlife plot and different characters. The story is very original, pacy and well-written. The dialogue is snappy and realistic. Right from the start I loved Maggie, the main character, and rooted for her. It is a young adult novel but a degree of maturity comes across which makes it a great read for full-fledged adults too. And what an intriguing cover!
Profile Image for Samantha Clysdale.
258 reviews14 followers
May 20, 2014
I received this book in exchange for an honest review Lovers of Paranormal.

I love that is puts a different spin on what we think heaven is like. Maggie who is the top true soul taker finds her self in a pickle or should I say a body. Has to learn how to respect the guards even though she envy them. She slowly remembers who she is as the story goes along. This book is great for people who want to laugh and be surprise. It kind of remind me of the game I once played Kingdom Hearts.
Profile Image for Amy Bird.
Author 8 books27 followers
June 15, 2013
4 stars because I want to read the next one in the trilogy - wouldn't do to be sated by the first one! Really imaginative world, compelling story-line and interesting central characters. YA isn't my usual genre but a good introduction from my fellow UK Carina author!
Profile Image for Jennifer Murgia.
Author 16 books436 followers
June 11, 2013
Katlyn Duncan's YA debut, SOUL TAKEN, is a thrilling ride that will leave you breathless for the next page, and curious to find the true soul we nurture within.
Profile Image for Julie Witt.
494 reviews10 followers
December 17, 2022
I really enjoyed this book because even though the premise of a soul collector or soul taker has been done before, this one put a fresh spin on it. Mercy is a Soul Collector, and one of the best, but she doesn't exactly play well with others. She just prefers to do things her way. But when things go wrong (she gets pulled into a girl's body while trying to locate her stolen soul), she has to play along at being said girl until they can get her soul back in her body. The only problem is that the good guys aren't the only ones looking to claim this girl's soul when she dies.

Mercy was a lot of fun to read about. She's definitely a strong female protagonist, but she had to learn to soften up a bit if she and the others on her side were going to prevail. The plot moved quick so this was a fast read, but a satisfying one, with a fulfilling ending.

5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Amy Shannon.
Author 102 books120 followers
February 22, 2017
A Soul Collector!

Maggie is a soul collector. She is a great character, who is multi-dimensional. She has this way about her, with a cocky attitude and grand independence. Now, she's trapped in the body of a teenage girl, Ally. This story definitely pulled me in, though it started a little slow, but that's the best way for this story to be handled. I look forward to the books that come after this one.
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