Demonsouled by Jonathan Moeller

(2005-06-14)

I struggled to get into this book initially due to the fragmented writing style and short sentence structure however I am glad that I persisted because the second half of the story was definitely enjoyable to read. The author continues to write in a slightly annoying stop-start manner but I felt willing to overlook this point due to the developing plot and intriguing characters. At times the flow improved and I found myself getting caught up in the excitement of what was going on - these highly original and beautifully worded passages created wonderful imagery in my head. I only wish there was more writing of this quality rather than a simple list of actions which make up the majority of the book. In addition I felt that there were too many foreign names and places introduced at the start and struggled to follow what was going on. It was better later on when the focus shifted to just a few main characters and the major relationships/events surrounding them.

The ideas behind the race of serpent people, who they are and why they behave the way they do, were outstanding. I have never read anything like it before and while there have been many tales told of the 'living dead' and 'zombies' I felt that Jonathan Moeller had reinvented them in such a way that they could be seen as entirely new creatures.

I liked the believable relationship between Mazael and Romaria and felt that it was different to most love interests portrayed in fantasy novels. The author actually showed the reader admirable qualities in each character to help us understand exactly why they appeal to their lover. Romaria is a realistic female character - not just your simpering damsel in distress or a harsh bitch at the opposite of the spectrum. The author has created gut-wrenching conflict through the inner turmoil faced by Mazael in the need to decide between following his heart or head. There was a deep running conflict between the members of his family which I felt was well done. The main character is forced to choose between blood-loyalties and his own beliefs/morals which was highlighted by a well-placed dream sequence. Moeller managed to really tug at the reader's emotions as you could see what the character wanted to do yet his upbringing had shaped him in such a way that he could not bring himself to act.

The chapters which led into the ending were exciting as events which had been prepared for during the course of the book finally begun to occur and I found it easy to become immersed in the world. The author managed to bring many different threads together in a skilfull manner while retaining an element of mystery and providing the reader with surprise revelations.

Overall I enjoyed this book and the emotions it provoked in me, but feel as though the abrupt writing style spoils what would otherwise be a great fantasy novel. 'Demonsouled' is a gripping account of one man's battle against both inner and external demons, and I would recommend it to anyone who desires an action-packed story riddled with twists as long as you can cope with the disjointed manner of writing.

Reviewed by Helen Kerslake

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