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The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete is book #1 in her Angel of Death series of YA Paranormal Fantasy novels. I was granted access to a review copy in exchange for an honest review by the publisher via NetGalley. (Sorry fellow NGers, this one is now archived.)
Published 2014 with a Goodreads average rating of 3.78 from 74 ratings.
My Rating: 5 Stars!
The Soul Thief is a captivating YA Fantasy about a teenage girl who survives a car accident and discovers that she’s actually half-angel. An angel of death, to be precise. But just as Riley begins adjusting to her new life and responsibilities as an angel, with the help of her charming new guardian Leander, she and her high school friends realize that not all is well in Fairhaven. Girls their age are dying under mysterious circumstances all around town, and they all have a connection to Riley.
I couldn’t put this one down! It starts right in the middle of the action, no meandering introduction, and it doesn’t slow down. The main character Riley is written very convincingly, too. Teenage girl angst and desires have been mixed perfectly with the very real mental trauma of her accident and the danger she’s in now.
The supporting cast of Riley’s teenage friends is excellent. Mich stands out the most to me as a strong young woman and an unshakable loyal friend. Craig is a stereotypical gay friend in the girl group. Katie started out shallow but redeemed herself in my eyes by the end. Stacey is one of those rare pure hearts who lives to help others and has set her sights on making sure Riley is okay.
Riley’s guardian and teacher, Leander, has baggage. Lots of baggage. We’re teased with the possibility of a budding romance between Riley and Leander throughout, but neither is ready at the same time, for different reasons. If this were a more adult level novel, I would criticize this aspect because a) we’ve got an older man entertaining the affections of a teenage girl, and b) this centuries-old man is no better at women and relationships than an actual teenager. That said, this is firmly a YA novel, and as such the fast-paced, awkward almost-romance is forgivable. There’s also the fact that Riley isn’t a mortal soul, so maybe that makes the age thing less important? Something to keep in mind, potential readers, if that’s not your cup of tea.
Pretty much every “bad guy reveal” moment was predictable to me, but that didn’t spoil the fun, and a less seasoned young reader might not catch it all. It made me feel like I was reading a mystery novel, and I was doing a good job picking up all the author’s little breadcrumbs.
The ending was quick, but not too abrupt, and left it open for the next book quite beautifully. We got enough answers in this book to be satisfied with the ending, but a much bigger plotline has been set up. There are so many things we don’t know yet! I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for the next book, and I highly recommend this book to YA Fantasy fans everywhere!
For those who are curious: This book contains violence and PDA, but no graphic gore or sex.