Get Lost in the YA Magic: Review of "The Book of Lost Souls" by Michelle Muto
Melinda T. Falgoust
Seventeen-year old Ivy tangles with the same issues most teenaged girls are faced with: finding a date for the school Halloween dance, falling for the hottest guy in school, and, oh, yeah…trying to lose a reputation as an up-and-coming dark witch.
Ivy MacTavish is a regular girl with a whole cauldron full of irregular issues. Just ask some of her best friends – a pair of teenaged vamps, a werewolf or two, and a lizard who looks like he just walked out of the Hollister catalog (Hey, what’s a little magic if you can’t turn a reptile into a Romeo?). But, Ivy’s trouble truly starts when something wicked this way comes in the form of a mysterious book unearthed in an ancient cemetery and a rash of mysterious murders erupts.
Ivy’s always had a knack for mastering magic. It’s a trait she’s apparently inherited from her absentee father, a wizard of formidable, if less-than-reputable, gifts. When Ivy dares open the pages of The Rise of the Dark Curse, will its dark magic start to rise within her? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it now, would I?
From the pen of paranormal YA/NA author, Michelle Muto (The Haunting Season, 2012 and Don’t Fear the Reaper, 2011) comes another page-turning tale that invites the reader into a whole other world. Fans of the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series will enjoy the town of Northwick with its integrated population of Kindred and Regulars. Gossiping busybodies and housewives live side-by-side with a few trolls (who, apparently, whip up a mean Lo Mein), a family of fanged vampires who run the town mortuary, and an adorable breed of demon dog called a Beezlepup who will lick you to death if he doesn’t belch vanilla-flavored flames at you first. Some familiar story themes will be recognized by the reader, particularly by those familiar with the Star Wars movie saga. Ivy, like Luke Skywalker, is presented with a chance at unspeakable power, but it is a dangerously delicious proposition that will lead her down a path from which she may not return. Will she take the moral high ground?
Ms. Muto deftly weaves elements of suspense throughout Ivy’s story, which provides some wonderful edge-of-your-seat moments. The nail-biting scenes are tempered with a sprinkling of light-hearted banter between realistic characters which makes this a lighter, less intense read than The Haunting Season. She also crafts the story to contain a story arc which could carry into future books. The clever use of imagery paints vivid pictures for the reader, as evidenced in the following passage: “Only the pin oaks kept their leaves, wearing them like a tattered winter coat…”. In the end,The Book of Lost Souls casts a spell that even the most reluctant YA reader can’t escape.
And when you're a Kindred, it may be easy to whip up a spell to smooth out life's problems, or conjure a pig's snout for a nasty nemesis, but what do you do when you're a Regular? Fraught not and try your hand at toil and trouble in this fun game. Race the clock to collect all the ingredients necessary for your "witches' brew". Have fun, but be certain to read the instructions, because trickery can sometimes be tricky! (Adobe Flash required)
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