Welcome to York, England: the most haunted city in the world.
Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint shops, hoping she won’t run into the many ghosts who supposedly roam the cobblestone streets. Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?
Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.
Heather: Dark Souls is lovely a blend of a creepy ghost story and a mystery. Miranda and Rob Tennant are in a car accident that claims the life of her best friend. Several months later, their parents think that they need to take a working vacation as a family to get away from the tragedy that looms over their lives in Iowa. But Miranda hasn’t shared that she has can see ghosts, and has been able to since the accident when she saw her best friend walk away from her broken body and fade away in a field. The Tennants travel to York, England, where their mother will be a guest conductor and their father will be a guest lecturer.
Rob sees this vacation as a new start: a place where he isn’t seen as the guy who killed his sister’s best friend. And Miranda hopes to get a break from seeing ghosts. While Rob gets his wish, Miranda is thrust full force into ghostly encounters because York is one of England’s most haunted places. She meets Nick, who has a past just as tragic as her own, and they form an instant friendship over their shared ability to see ghosts. While Nick introduces Miranda to York’s more infamous past and she starts to not feel so alone, he’s still haunted by his own past and won’t allow her in. While a little romance does blossom between Nick and Miranda, it certainly is not a main part of this book.
A large part of the book and what I think is the shining star in this work is the setting. Paula Morris’ descriptions of York and the histories she gives are vivid, including the sights, sounds, and smells of the city, both past and present. This really made the book for me. And the parents are present throughout the entire book and they are great parents, which is unusual in most YA books these days. The novel is written in third person POV and the parents are referred to by their first names regularly, which was a bit jarring and I often had to think about who they were talking about.
I recommend Dark Souls to anyone who loves ghost stories with a little bit of mystery and romance mixed in. I give this one a four because it was a bit slow to start, but once the book picked up about a third of the way through it was hard to put down!
cutie: While I did enjoy reading this tale, I was a tad bit disappointed in it. I completely agree with Heather about the setting of this novel. It’s rich and enthralling. Learning about the history of York was delightful, plus all the creepy ghost stories were a blast to read.
I had a hard time relating to Miranda and didn’t understand her character. I know we are told she is shy, a bookworm who loves the standards (Austen, butofcourse), doesn’t have a lot of friends, and, in general, is your classic outsider, but at times this felt a little to cliche and without substance. The banter between her and her brother seemed forced at times, along with some dialogue threads.
The cast of characters was rich, offering up corky and lovable characters that were slightly one-dimensional, but overall, heartwarming. Nick, international man of mystery, was exactly what he needed to be- an enigma. Dark and brooding? Check. Long black jacket? Check. Mysterious past that has turned him into a man-boy emo mess in desperate need of a little therapy and belly rubs? Checkity check check! But the romance between Miranda (of the many weird nicknames) and Nick (of the ever changing last name) was somewhat empty. In all honesty, I feel that the author should have tightened up the love angle on this novel or delorted it completely.
And what of the mystery? I had a blast figuring it out. The story’s plot line is creepy, unique, and interesting.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel, but felt (in my ever so humble opinion) it fell just a smidge flat and that the ending was a little rushed and jumbled. What saved this novel for me was enthralling mystery story and the awesome setting. However, the ending was awkward, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters, and I felt no closure to this story.
About the Author
|Photo Credit: Robert Trathan|
Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, and has published several novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She has lived in a number of cities around the world, including York, England. She now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and teaches creative writing at the University of Stirling. Visit her online at www.paula-morris.com.
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Keep your space peaceful with this Dark Souls prize pack. One winner from Bewitched Bookworms will receive a sage candle and a copy of Dark Souls!! Here’s how: