New author Candace Beck Moesta has always considered herself a bit different from her peers: she is, in her own words, a “complete nerd.” She is an avid anime fan, played Dungeons & Dragons while growing up and adores sci-fi, which led to her decision to give the fantasy genre something fresh and different in the form of her new book inspired by anime, “Soul Shift.” Given the huge anime crossover happening with games these days, Gameindustry.com decided to take a look at Soul Shift to what the appeal of a novel based on anime might be for readers.
Plot Synopsis: There are many things that humans cannot witness that only those who are born of a magical nature can see. Claire, a young girl, finds herself thrust into this world of magical intrigue.
The plot for this book is quite interesting at first, although after the first third of the story I kind of wish it had just ended there, as the rest of it becomes somewhat cliché and to be honest a bit tiresome. I liked the first third because it was simple. Girl (Claire) wanders into magical forest and finds this nice Pan (a Greek God, although in this series he is just the son of Hermes and a Nymph) who becomes her guardian. He proceeds to watch over her for the first third of the series, and while it’s interesting to see him fall in love with Claire, I was surprised at the brutality of Agreus, the Pan, towards her parents even if it eventually contributes to the novel’s ending.
That said, the plot gets a touch dull afterwards, because what follows is their inevitable marriage, which was kind of like most YA romance type books these days. But beyond that, there is a series of confusing sub-plots and new characters introduced, and it all feels a bit hollow following what I considered to be the conclusion of the main story after the first third of the book.
Moesta also introduces plot threads that go nowhere except to introduce characters to help the latter-half of the book’s plot move towards a conclusion that is equally confusing. A pair of siblings is introduced in such a way, and while I thought they were interesting characters at first, they just seemed to be there as a convenient plot device. In fact, those characters bring further confusion to the story because one of them has an anti-magic bracelet that is apparently so common as to make the reader wonder why Claire doesn’t have one.
The magic in Soul Shift doesn’t make a lot of sense either, and seems to serve as a sort of Deus Ex Machina tool to resolve a plot that was engaging at first, but made me wonder why the main characters, who were so brilliant at the beginning of the book, allowed themselves to get into a predicament that required magic as a savior. Even a modicum of intelligence along the way would have prevented them from getting backed into a corner where magic becomes necessary.
The book is 194 pages in length, which is about the right size for the target audience. If you want an inexpensive and easy read, and enjoy fantasy and drama, then Soul Shift might appeal to you. It gets off to a rather brilliant start, but just doesn’t hold to that same level throughout the entire text. As a novel from a first time author, especially one trying to take the concepts in anime and bring them into the world of novels without a picture or a pixel in sight, it’s not a bad effort. Perhaps anime simply can’t be expressed using mere words, or perhaps the author has not yet gotten the formula quite right.