Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review: Soulprint by Megan Miranda

Title: Soulprint
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Publication date: February 1st, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

With the science of soul fingerprinting a reality, Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned for the crimes her past self committed. In an attempt to clear her name, Alina unintentionally trades one prison for another when she escapes, aided by a group of teens whose intentions and motivations are a mystery to her. As she gets to know one of the boys, sparks fly, and Alina believes she may finally be able to trust someone. But when she uncovers clues left behind from her past life that only she can decipher, secrets begin to unravel. Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat the past.

It's not very often that I come across epic and adventurous standalone novels, but I hit the jackpot recently, ladies and gents. I got my hands on a copy of Soulprint.

In Alina Chase's world, bodies die but souls find new homes in other bodies. Unfortunately for her, her soul last belonged to a fugitive, June Calahan, and she is being punished through confinement on an island for crimes she did not commit. June was considered the most dangerous girl in the world, and now the world thinks Alina dangerous, that she is capable of one day carrying on June's indiscretions, but in reality she is clueless.

First of all, let me say that the concept of soul fingerprinting is GENIUS. It's just something that I had never considered. There's always question about what happens to souls after the body dies, but to think that a soul is reborn over and over and possibly carries with it personality traits, and perhaps bad intentions. So here Alina is, condemned for the crimes the former owner of her soul committed. The concept is simultaneously creepy and brilliant. I was intrigued after reading the synopsis, and from the first chapter I was unexpectedly engaged.

Straight after starting the novel I could already tell things would be tricky, the thing about having the soul of a former fugitive inside your own body is that you start to doubt yourself - and question your own capacity to commit dangerous crimes. I also knew that if done well, I would love Alina. Which I did. It's very similar to a case wherein you have an unreliable narrator, only you don't really? You have a narrator who is reliable, but who also shares the soul of a most-wanted criminal? You know what I mean? The entire situation is a mess, and it causes some very genuine struggle and inner conflict for Alina.

The only qualm I had was with June's character, though. After reading the synopsis I had figured that June's fugitive status had been for some incredibly horrific crime. You know, mass murder, large-scale political espionage, you know, the fun stuff. But June's criminal act had been hacking the national database for souls. That's it? That was the crime that warranted a young girl, Alina, to be confined on a bloody ISLAND, for her entire life? Really? I'm not saying that I didn't think June's story wasn't interesting, I was just a little bit underwhelmed with June's so-called criminal status. Maybe it's just me being morbid, but I had envisioned something much darker and terrible in nature.

Once I let my tiny issues with June's activity slide, I was enthralled by the story. The story of Alina attempting to free herself from her soul's reputation, and to focus on her future, as opposed to the wretched past.

I loved Alina as the main character. As mentioned before her vulnerability and reliability keep things pretty tense. She was in a constant battle with herself over the possible influence of June on her soul, but the novel was pretty firmly focused on displaying Alina's free will. While Alina may have had June's soul, her decisions were her own - she did whatever the heck she wanted to do. She wasn't confined to June's character or condemned to commit the same crimes.

The secondary characters were pretty solid, none of them one-dimensional. Brother and sister duo, Casey and Cameron, appear and though they have no connection to Alina, they risk their lives to help free her, to find their missing sister of course. I found the two to be very genuine in intentions, and I especially admired Cameron. He and Alina are very wary of each other, which is appropriate for the situation, but the two form a tentative relationship. While yes, it all happened in the small span of this book, it didn't feel like too much of an insta-love for me. I found it sweet that Cameron didn't see Alina as just 'the girl with June Calahan's soul inside her body', but rather for her own soul and personality. And yes, while this might be a little bit of a YA trope, I think it was well executed and it didn't completely take over the storyline.

The rest of the story was for the most part really action-packed and engaging, and kept me on my toes the entire time. Because this was uncharted territory for not only readers, but also for Alina (who's never really been outside of the island), the suspense hangs heavy in the air. Also, the fact that the group is always on the move keeps things very fast paced.

Overall Soulprint was a very suspenseful and engaging novel that explored a concept unlike any I'd ever seen before. It possessed scientific elements that would appeal to a wide audience, and was very thought-provoking, raising questions such as what shapes who a person is, and just how much influence a person's past may influence their future. In addition to the unique premise, there's also the strong lead. A recipe for success, if you ask me!

A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

4.5/5 keys to my heart!

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