Author: Jake C Wallace
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Nineteen-year-old college student Levi Reed has spent his life with hollow emotions and a darkness so deep that he’s convinced he’s losing his mind. He’d give anything to feel something, anything, real.
When a mysterious stranger appears, Levi is convinced the man is trying to kill him. When he’s near, Levi experiences head-crushing pain and something surprising—real emotions for the first time. Jeb Monroe is arrogant, self-assured, closed-off, and handsome, but he isn’t the harbinger of doom Levi assumed. Jeb’s mission: help Levi find his missing soul.
Levi is pulled into the secret world of Seers and Keepers, those born with the innate ability to manipulate souls and tasked with balancing the negative energy they can produce. Levi learns he possesses a rare gift, and he’s in danger. As Jeb and Levi grow closer, they discover a group of zealots who want to harness Levi’s power to cleanse the world of damaged souls. Everyone Levi cares for is threatened unless he agrees to become their tool of death. But agreeing could spell the destruction of humankind. With no one to trust and nothing as it appears, it’s up to Levi to save them all.
Review: Soul Seekers is quite the ambitious paranormal/action story. I wish I meant this in an entirely positive light – but the intriguing plot got bogged down with what I felt were an overabundance of twists and turns.
Levi Reed is a young man who has been plagued by anxiety attacks for as long as he can remember. He’s been on medication, which leaves him feeling void of all emotion. At nineteen, it seems as if his absent feelings have caused him to miss out on most of what life has to offer. When his panic attacks ramp up into overdrive, he attributes it to voluntarily going off of his meds, but in fact it is due to circumstances beyond his wildest imaginings.
This book starts off with Levi in full panic mode. Problematic for me was, for page after page, I had no clue what was going on. And not in a page turning “I need to know!” kind of way. This perplexing opening episode was closely followed by Levi launching into full flight from another “anxiety attack”, an incident that was detailed by so many adjectives and adverbs my head was spinning. I’m sure this dramatic opening was meant to hook the reader, but it had the opposite effect on me. The first three to four chapters held so much repetitive information, delivered in an extremely wordy fashion. Instead of making it clear to me what Levi was experiencing, it had me thinking “what the heck..?” I would have become more invested in his plight had I know more concisely what was going on at an early point. As it was, I struggled to continue. Levi’s brother Logan was introduced in the opening chapters. Through his caring and concerned nature, Logan became a bright spot, only to disappear from the actual action before long.
Eventually the story smoothed out and the writing became less dependent on superlatives. The meat of the plot was interesting. Levi apparently was not only absent his soul – the real cause of his emotional instability — but there were warring factions vying for control of it. Seems Levi’s soul was some kind of special one indeed. There were Seekers and Keepers on the good side. The Righteous were the bad guys. Levi learned that almost nobody in his life was who he thought they were. He also learned the reasons his soul had been taken from him at an early age, and why a Keeper had been guarding it. Or so he thought. As the story progressed and the cast of characters’ true identities and motives became clear, the truth became jumbled and was in fact all over the map. I felt as if I needed a scorecard to keep track of what was going on.
When the dark and mysterious Jeb appears on the scene as a guardian of sorts, his presence evokes powerful emotions in Levi. Angry, lustful emotions. Jeb also finds he is taking in energy from Levi. Jeb has discovered he can block these responses between them by wearing a crystal. As the two work together to find their way to the truth of what has become of Levi’s soul, a burning attraction ignites. The sexy interplay Levi and Jeb have going on is definitely believable and hot. The pair find their relationship to be both a balm and a curse amid the search for the truth about Soul Seekers. But is their attraction genuine, or fueled only by the strange power that has flared up between them? This question had Levi doubting Jeb so much that the point got quite stale. When Jeb was rocked with the news he had more skin in the game than he had thought possible, his actions became inexplicably cool toward Levi. I found this frustrating after some of the tender and endearing moments the two had shared. Not to mention the dangerous heart pounding scenarios they had encountered at every turn trying to determine who were the good guys, and who were the bad guys.
I love unforeseen twists and turns in plot, but this story had so many my head was spinning. There were also points that felt contrived or too convenient, added to instill one of the twists, or magically explain some element. I also want to mention the blurb. Why give away so much about the plot in the blurb? There is so much depth to this plot — it seems presenting it in a more veiled fashion would serve better to entice readers.
The basic premise of the book is quite intriguing, as are the main characters. The busy nature of the execution lost me. The romance between Levi and Jeb ends on a high note, which had me smiling. I struggled with this one, but if you enjoy a large cast of characters, countless plot twists and lots of action with your romance — this may be up your alley.