Dark Souls is a YA contemporary ghost story by Paula Morris.
Her brother was driving and Miranda was in the back-seat when one night they were involved in a deadly car accident in which Miranda's best friend died in the passenger seat. Her brother is scarred by the incident - not physically, but emotionally. He hasn't driven a car since and hates enclosed spaces. For sixteen-year-old Miranda it's a different problem all together. A secret she is keeping hidden...
Their parents are eager to help jolt the family out of the sadness that has overcome them since the accident six months ago. They decide to take a little vacation to historical York, England where her father will be giving a lecture and her Mom was invited to be involved in a production. Miranda is ready to be swept away by the larger than life pasts of the landmark buildings and culture - and hopes to avoid the ghosts that apparently roam the city.
But then she meets a dark, brooding guy named Nick that knows the area all too well - as well as her secret. The combination makes him interesting, though the handsome, mysterious boy she keeps seeing in the building across from her still holds more romantic appeal.
Miranda begins to wonder if there is more going on in York than she initially realizes - suspicious motives, sinister pasts, and doomed futures... And she's afraid she may need to face her secret head on to get to the bottom of it all - but she's not sure if this will, in the end, help or hurt her family's healing...
Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, which I definitely liked. You can check out my review of that novel here. In fact, as time went on, I found myself appreciating Ruined even more than my initial review indicated. Morris has a great atmospheric tone, which is fantastic for ghost stories - which Ruined and Dark Souls most definitely are!
Dark Souls has a haunting start (pun not intended) that caught my attention and promised to hold it. Happily, she kept her unspoken promise and continued to do so from start to finish. I could feel the wet, foggy, chilly setting of York, England as though I were there with Miranda - an environment ripe for ghosts and mysteries.
Miranda was a great main character. She's smart and interested in history - plus very sympathetic in a non-pitying way. You easily put yourself in her shoes. What she's going through is given a depth that comes from, mainly, the first scene in Dark Souls (the accident and immediate event afterwards) and Paula Morris' excellent writing.
I loved the moody, contemplative tone and the increasing creepiness. It drew me in and kept me continually in its grips. Dark Souls is not necessarily original in the bare bones of the plot, but it's done so well with it's gothic, sensitive, quiet, but nerve-wracking prose that it kind of doesn't matter!
Enigmatic mysteries involving the magnetic Nick and the very attractive guy residing in the building across from hers shimmer with secrets. And if I am being vague - it's on purpose. I'd rather you read Dark Souls with a lot of surprises ready to, well, surprise you - rather than tell you some of the juicier bits to get your attention. Trust me, if you like ghost stories or YA paranormal books - you should read Dark Souls!
Dark Souls is exactly what it needed to be and more: suspenseful, chilling, shocking, frightening, twisty, unexpected, fast-paced, gloomy, alluring and even redemptive. Most definitely gives me hope that Paula Morris will continue to pen more novels!
Here we are in the last week of August (goodbye, summer! hello autumn!) and I just want to give all of you awesome readers a head's up: the Bibliophile Support Group will be back to only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday reviews starting on September 6th. This will continue for the forseeable future. Still a ton of books to read and talk about - but let's give ourselves a bit more time to talk about each one! I encourage you all to comment and read as often as you can - this blog is here for us all to support each other in what is, in the end, quite an addictive lifestyle after all! ;)