Arnaka Skytree grew up believing she was chosen to bring new magic to the world. As the heir to the cult of druids responsible for keeping their floating palace habitable for the wealthy aristocracy, she’s expected to wield her power as those before her did: by culling the souls of peasant women.
But when Arnaka learns more about the source of her magic, and that her best friend’s soul will be harvested, she embarks on a journey to end the barbarous practice and to restore a long-forgotten harmonious system of magic practiced by the original druids. Along the way, she discovers she’s not the only girl chosen to restore balance to their world—many others have powerful magic inside, and with them, she will tear the floating palace from the sky so everyone can live in the sun—out of the shadow of the eclipse.
The Soulstealers by Jacqueline Rohrbach was such a great book, I loved every bit of the story and Arnaka is such a phenomenal character. The world building was well done and not overdone, which is a pet peeve of mine in fantasy novels, Only tell me about the relevant things, don’t write 3 pages on some mystical tree that never is part of the plot. I loved the story and our bisexual black main character and asexual representation. The female/female enemies to lovers storyline was perfect.
I loved that despite “druids” being strong female only mages they still lived in a deeply misogynistic society ruled by men. This was a touch that added a bit of reality to the whole scenario, seemed like a future we could have.
This book had my attention constantly and each of the characters so dimensional and well created. I started out deeply disliking Arnaka, as she does herself, and as she grew to be stronger and love herself, so did I. I loved the close relationship she develops with Nara. Furthermore, the male sidekick never at once gets all huffy that the girls are picking each other over him! This all in a solid world with interesting magic.
There were a few negatives to the book, mostly pacing and flashbacks, I found this book rushed and yet oddly slow at times. I really think each of the three parts of the book could have been expanded into a full novel making this an excellent trilogy. In the beginning, we have few flashbacks to when the main character was a child, which I found mostly unneeded.
I gave this 4.5 stars rounded down to 4.
Overall I highly recommend this to anyone seeking a good queer fantasy with nice representation.
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A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.