When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother's car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can't find his mother's body. Made a ward of his uncle and thousands of miles from home, a beautiful and mysterious neighbor, Dr. Abigail Silva, offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. In exchange, she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, a biologically gifted warrior charged with protecting human souls. He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother's disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions Dr. Silva's motives for helping him.
Prepare for MAJOR gushing!
To say that I found The Soulkeepers anything short of astounding would be an understatement and total lie. The book grabbed me from the very first line: "Death lived up to Jacob's expectations." and never let go. The concept of the storyline was genius. Every line, every word felt well-thought out and meaningful.
The main character of The Soulkeepers, Jacob, is an endearing, heartbreaking hero. The desperation he feels after the loss of his mother and subsequent upheaval is visceral. The author, GP Ching, does a remarkable job in her narrative describing Jacob's pain and rage. "He turned away from John and shoved the anger down deep, where it coiled like a snake in his gut. Once Jacob does form a connection to classmate and fellow outcast, Malini, that connection feels beautiful and poignant.
GP Ching also has a way with what I'll call "The Spooky Factor". What I think I mean is, The Soulkeepers never felt like an outright horror book to me, no slashing or blood-letting, but I was completely creeped out (in a good way). The character of Dr. Abigail Silva is frightening, or is she? And without being spoiler-ish, I'll just say when Jacob finds "Oswald", I almost felt as if I were watching an episode of "The Twilight Zone".
When I finished The Soulkeepers I was so stunned that I thought I should wait a few days to write a review because I needed time to digest the story. I quickly realized that waiting made no difference. I was just as stunned when "later" came. GP Ching has a style of writing that feels deliberate. There were details to the writing that seemed insignificant, but each made the story all the much better: " her foot came out in a powerful shot that slammed the door in his face. A road sign that read 'Private Property' swung forward on it's hook toward the tip of his nose". A true example of the expression "It's all in the details".
I don't want anyone who reads this to think that I am, for lack of a better term, blowing smoke. I mean each and every word in this review. My only regret is that I feel I am lacking in giving GP Ching and The Soulkeepers their due. There was not one thing that I didn't like about the book. So here is one last, whole-hearted endorsement. If you want to read a thought-provoking, moving book, get The Soulkeepers. Now.