Author: Amanda Leigh Cowley
Released: Monday 18th July 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance (Fiction)
My Rating: ★★★★ (4 out of 5)
Gracie doesn't know she's a Soul Protector.
After being dragged on a night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday, she discovers she can switch into other people’s bodies. Within minutes she manages to switch back, but doubting her sanity, decides to keep it to herself until she can work out why it happened.
On a second switch, unaware she has a visible aura, she gets abducted by a monitor, Dan. It’s his job to hunt down corrupt Soul Protectors who steal bodies for their own benefit. Once he establishes Gracie is innocent, he helps her switch back and looks after her during recovery.
Dan explains to Gracie how Soul Protectors are bound by a code to only switch for the benefit of vulnerable people. Gracie falls in love with Dan, but finds he has hang-ups of his own.
Finally understanding the rules, Gracie switches for a third time to help someone in need. During this switch her past catches up with her, and a chain of events unfold which shock her to the core.
At the beginning of the book the reader is thrown into the first major plot point; a soul switch. Immediately the reader can identify the subject of the book, which is a good thing, even if they already have an idea from the title. There is a sufficient amount of detail and the natural human reactions to the situation are imitated successfully. Although the second switch follows swiftly behind the first chapter, it fits well into the story.
After reading about the curious event twice, some light is shed on the mechanics of the event; in the form of a handsome kidnapper. We are given facts, although not all, which sets the reader up perfectly for the second major plot point. We witness a familiar, yet barely touched upon, side effect to the switch. Already, there is a solid set of consequences to Gracie’s action.
In the second major plot point, we uncover the horrible truth about something that was subtly withheld from us beforehand. Naturally, bonding takes place between the characters and we are cleverly prepared for the big turn of events. Some background history has been placed in thoughtfully for future reference. We do read about a problem Gracie’s friend, Lydia, is going through mid-way through the novel, however, we don’t gain any new information on this until the very last page; where the problem seems miraculously solved.
Of course, the big twist is uncovered. Our protag takes a big knock and we see a painful response- similar repercussions have already been hinted at during character background- which is executed efficiently and in a believable manor. Consequently, there is a big life decision made that changes things; hopefully for the better. After some shock revelations we see life pick up again and all seems well.
But, then, the final conflict comes and tears every back down. Old wounds- very old wounds- are re-opened and we are shown new facts that are not even sneakily hinted to previously. Just when it all seems to come tumbling down, the story takes a graceful leap back onto the happy wagon. Yes, a happy ending.
All in all, the story is structured superbly and Amanda has meticulously sewn together a great novel.
The character development is well done in Soul Protector. We see new traits develop or come out in multiple characters such as Gracie Reynolds and Emily. The relationship between Gracie and Dan blossoms in a way that oozes reality. Like any relationship the highs are high and the rough patchs are rough.
However, some less developed characters such as Mike seem stereo-typical. For example, Mike is the rowdy, obnoxious ex-boyfriend we always hear about but hardly ever see.
There is no doubt in my mind that Amanda has a knack for story-telling. She is able to draw a reader in and hook them until the last page is turned. Even after that, a smile is left on your face and a very gratified feeling swells within you.
This isn’t exactly jam-packed with the paranormal, however, it definitely is a paranormal fiction novel. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good story, the unexplainable, and a mouth-wateringly delicious guy. Soul Protector puts a paranormal twist on the rollercoaster that is life and love.