My rating is 3 out of 5 stars.
Game of Souls comes out swinging.
The tale starts off with an assassin contemplating his latest job. This assassin is not concerned with plans or worries of how he is going to accomplish his mission however. No, he hopes his latest target will actually give him a challenge!
But the surprises do not stop there because immediately the assassin’s target does something totally unexpected. (Can’t tell you what because it would ruin the surprise.) This event sets up a classic confrontation, teasing one with a whole set of mysteries that require answering.
Unfortunately, as the tension is building for a big showdown, these two dynamic characters disappear. The story then jumps forward in time by a decade and a half at least; our assassin and his target lost in the hazy past.
This will no doubt disappointed a lot of readers, but you should not lose heart: just keep turning the pages. For after time shift, a whole new set of characters are introduced quickly, and a different plot is put into place. Mr. Simpson also uses these introductory chapters to world build, laying out simply and quickly the history of an empire, the ruling elites games of power, and the downtrodden people and their position as shunned citizens. He also weaves an interesting – though complex – magic system of Melders, who are individuals who can call upon the power of their “soul” to do marvelous feats of magic.
After this foundation is laid, the world of Game of Souls comes alive as Keedar, Melder from the slums, and Winslow, son of a powerful noble, are slowly drawn together. Their individual stories gradually intertwine and become a driven pursuit for truth of their lives and for the ability to master the eight cycles of the “soul.” Thrown in a good dose of political intrigue and mysterious legends, and you have a good, old-fashioned page turner.
Take a chance on this one, but be careful Mr. Simpson’s writing jsut might “steal” your soul.