A soulwalker opens a forbidden door and lets in a world of danger.
When 17-year-old Kamai’s mother is killed and her life upended, Kamai gives in to the temptation to open the black door that always appears whenever she walks through others’ souls. She unleashes Vehyn, a darkly fascinating being who appears as a boy, her age and pale-skinned like herself, who resides in a grand, foreboding fortress that Kamai accesses when she sleeps. Despite warning signs, Kamai ill-advisedly finds herself romantically attracted to Vehyn, who proves himself to be manipulative and threatening. Sometimes in the physical world and sometimes in the sleeping realm of souls, Kamai strives to uncover her mother’s killer and discover Vehyn’s (likely menacing) intentions. The drama, which is at times unnecessarily sprawling, involves a plot to kill the king, two secret societies, and plenty of intrigue as the stakes soar. Strickland (co-author, as AdriAnne Strickland: Shadow Call, 2018, etc.) excels at rich descriptions, painting vivid settings and a patriarchal culture shaped by belief in three gods. The cast, which includes a transgender character, is also diverse in race and sexuality. Crucially, Kamai’s asexuality authentically affects how she moves through the world; her journey to understanding her identity includes a detailed explanation that cleverly ties in modern views of asexuality with in-world terminology.
Lovers of dark fantasy and edgy romance will enjoy this tale, which gives the stage to an asexual protagonist. (Fantasy. 13-18)