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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Review: Soul Storm by Kate Harrison

Cracking conclusion to a YA suspense trilogy 

If you haven't read the first two books in this series, I'd suggest you stop here (and perhaps instead visit my review for book one, Soul Beach). I will not have spoilers in this review for this book, but cannot guarantee to be spoiler-free for the earlier parts of the story.

OK, so the stakes are raised, the suspects narrowed (thanks mainly to the killer having struck again and turning other suspects into victims), and Alice's determination to catch the guilty party heightened. Of course, at the same time, Alice's behaviour is looking more and more bizarre (particularly with a little help from the killer) and her parents' concern leads to tighter controls on her movements and her online time.

Where it all began...
I rate this book highly for its management of the suspense and the thriller angle of the plot. We know that Alice is in danger - reminded helpfully by the occasional creepy bit of narration from the killer's perspective - and, if you're anything like me, you'll have suspected practically everyone of killing Meggie before the final reveal. I'm pretty sure Alice is the only character I never suspected, and I was certainly wrong for most of this last book (not to mention certain of my choice - Kate Harrison certainly knows how to seed a red herring).

Book 2
I also enjoyed - through the whole series - the innovative concept of Soul Beach, where only the young and beautiful and 'before their time' dead hang out. I would have liked to see more exploration or explanation of exactly how that worked, but maybe it is best to leave some mystery and it is certainly true that this plot strand was moved on and developed in this instalment.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the series as a contemporary YA thriller with a hint of the paranormal. It kept me reading and I was rooting for Alice throughout. I envy those with the luxury of being able to read the whole series straight through, now that all three are available.

The publishers have been celebrating the publication of this book, along with James Dawson's Cruel Summer, under the hashtag #murderonthebeach. It's well worth checking out the blog tour posts and the twitter beach party if you want more info on this series and on Kate Harrison.

Cover blurb:

Someone is stalking Alice Forster. She's sure it's her sister's murderer, but her parents think she's cracking under the stress of Meggie's death. Only in the virtual world of Soul Beach - an online paradise for the young, the beautiful and the dead - can Alice feel truly free. But there's trouble in paradise . . .

Clouds are gathering.

A storm is brewing.

The killer is about to strike.

****************
Published 1 August 2013 by Indigo
More info at Goodreads
My grateful thanks to the publisher for sending a copy for review

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