The Weight of Souls
Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.
But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?
And what happens if she starts to fall for him?
THE WEIGHT OF SOULS read like Gossip Girls with a paranormal twist- a high brow school in London, a mysterious club with secrets, and a girl with the ability to get vengeance for murder victims. What originally drew me in to THE WEIGHT OF SOULS was the striking cover, and what kept me hooked was action that started from page one, the mystery that Taylor has to solve and the sweet romance that develops throughout.
With Egyptian mythology and a heroine of Asian descent, THE WEIGHT OF SOULS manages to cover ground that you don’t see frequently in young adult paranormal, or really in urban fantasy at all. But the book doesn’t feel like fantasy. It could be any two friends trying to solve a murder- it just so happens in this book one of them is a ghost. The murder has nothing to do with the paranormal aspect at all, and the juxtaposition of the very real aspects of hazing and high school cliques with ghosts and the darkness that follows Taylor is an interesting one. I liked that this book didn’t necessarily follow the typical “girl gets powers, is super special, everybody falls in love with her” cliched plot that seems to have become relatively common. If anything, Taylor’s abilities keep her apart from others, and she is constantly dealing with her father, who is trying to “cure” her with a single minded focus that to me, made him a very sad character.
The world building in THE WEIGHT OF SOULS was done very well. Through journal entries of Taylor’s ancestor, we find out why her family is “cursed,” and we learn about the logistics of the curse in the first scene, where we see Taylor passing on a mark to a murderous gang member. Right away, we’re introduced to the life she lives, complete with danger and constant vigilance, since she’s always trying to avoid ghosts who could pass on another mark.
Usually, ghost and human romances kind of drive me nuts. I can never tell where they’re going, and they seem impossible to me (I guess everybody has their urban fantasy deal breakers). And that would probably be my one complaint about THE WEIGHT OF SOULS- I think it would have made a good story without the romantic connection between Justin and Taylor. Their relationship evolved from antagonistic to friendly, and I thought that change was believable, but the step to her liking him was a bit harder to swallow, and while a lot of it had to do with the fact that he’s a ghost, it also has to do with the fast transition from hating to liking- it seemed unrealistic.
THE WEIGHT OF SOULS was a very worthwhile read. This one kept me up way past my bedtime, but I didn’t regret finishing it as quickly as possible. It was different and I would definitely recommend you try it out if you’re looking for something a bit out of the norm. And while I couldn't find anything about it being the start of a series, I know I would pick up a second book about Taylor, if there is one.
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