“It’s so easy to take the path of least resistance,” he says. “To be exactly who people think you are. To not fight it.”
—Soulprint, Megan Miranda
In the world of Soulprint, souls are trackable, and there’s a direct correlation between crime in one life and crime in the next. The crimes of June Calahan so terrified the world that the next young woman to carry her soul, Alina Chase, has been seen as guilty since birth. Though she’s never done so much as jaywalk, she’s been a prisoner for almost her entire life.
Today, on her 17th birthday, a small group offers to break her out. She takes that leap of faith, leaves everything she’s ever known, runs out into the big world…and almost immediately discovers that she doesn’t have any more freedom than she did in captivity. She has a chance at it, though—if she can follow the clues that June left her, solve the mystery behind June’s actions and ultimate death, she might be able to clear both their names, essentially change history, and finally live her OWN life.
Soulprint is a solid romantic adventure-mystery, made all the more enjoyable by Miranda’s avoidance of instalove; the strong threads about trust and friendship; and the thoughtfulness about the moral, philosophical, religious, and political implications of tracking the movements of reincarnated souls. Alina’s romance is more about developing trust and sharing experiences than it is about animal attraction; her relationship with Casey and Cameron morphs from a means to an end to an unbreakable bond, and Miranda does an especially nice job of portraying the slow build of trust, in the trio’s eventual willingness to show each other their own personal pain, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Throughout it all, there’s an ongoing discussion about self-fulfilled prophecy versus unavoidable fate, and this story is just as much about Alina adjusting to the outside world as it is about the chases and escapes and the brushes with death.
It’s true that the villain is two-dimensional and Bond-y—complete with lengthy monologue, even—but that’s such a small part of the book that it’s not a dealbreaker.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Chasing Power, by Sarah Beth Durst
Another solid romantic adventure-mystery, leaning more fantasy than science fiction, heavier on humor than philosophy. As in Soulprint, the heroine deals with issues of individuality versus inheritance, with bringing past injustices to light in order to gain her own freedom.
A Cold Legacy, by Megan Shepherd
This pick is more of a stretch, but bear with me. Yes, it’s got a completely different tone, and yes, it’s even an entirely different genre. But. The parallels are so strong that I’ve got the title scrawled all over my notes—both books deal in depth with the idea of BEING YOUR PAST. With wanting to establish your own identity, to make your own choices, but always swimming against the current, being drawn backwards, and dealing with a hefty dollop of self-doubt. So, they aren’t exactly read-alikes, but they’re certainly thematically similar.
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or running the show at her local library, Leila Roy might be making stuff for her Etsy shop while rewatching Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Black Books or Twin Peaks. Well, that or she’s hanging out on Twitter. Or both.