2 out of 4 stars
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Soul Keeper by Cathryn Marr follows in the pattern of a current supernatural romance trend, where an angel falls for a human woman. In this instance, that woman is Aurora, and she has extremely powerful magical abilities that only begin manifesting when the fallen angel Luceire appears in her life. Soon, she is caught up in a plot involving an insane vampire who wants to harvest the souls of certain children with psychic abilities, then use them to bring back the Watchers, monsters who want to feed upon humanity.
Other than the main romantic pairing, the characters are somewhat flat. They generally serve only a single role in the narrative, and they aren't put into enough unique situations to show how they react to anything other than being a part of the main conflict. A great example of this is Aurora's friend, Solaya. She is a reincarnated witch who, ultimately, does very little of importance other than try to stop Aurora from doing anything dangerous. Incidentally, Aurora trying to do something dangerous is a recurring theme that accounts for probably about 80% of the plot.
Unfortunately, the overall plot itself is also lackluster. It involves a wide variety of different worldbuilding elements, none of which are particularly cohesive. There are angels and fallen angels, indigo and crystal children, sanguine and psychic vampires, witches, and even fairies. Many of these elements just aren't given enough development. I later found out that indigo and crystal children are part of a certain school of New Age thinking, so the author probably relied so much on these themes that they weren't clear to readers who didn't already know about them.
There are some worthwhile elements to this book, though. It pulls off a dark, gritty style very well, and many of the individual scenes with the supernatural characters are sufficiently dramatic and exciting. The initial feelings between Aurora and Luceire are far more about lust and possession than love, but their relationship develops fairly well despite this rocky start. It's easy to look at the cover and synopsis and believe that this will focus on romance to the detriment of the narrative itself, but the plot takes center stage most of the time, which I found refreshing.
Ultimately, I rate Soul Keeper 2 out of 4 stars. While it has promise, that really doesn't make up for lackluster character development and plot execution. I can't recommend it to anyone but the most staunch fans of vampire and angel romance, though you may also enjoy this book if you are familiar with the New Age school of thinking regarding indigo and crystal children. There are some heavy sexual themes, so this book certainly isn't appropriate for younger audiences.
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