Publisher: Crista McHugh
Series: The Soulbearer Trilogy #1
Edition: eBook, 343 Pages
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
When you’re a witch named Trouble, chaos follows.
Arden Lesstymine (known to everyone as Trouble) likes attention as much as the next girl, but this is getting ridiculous. When an insane stranger is murdered at the inn where she works, Trouble becomes the next Soulbearer for the disembodied god of chaos, Loku. Yes, it comes with the ability to channel the god’s limitless power, but at the cost of her sanity — literally. Now she has a sexy but cynical knight claiming to be her protector, a prince trying to seduce her to his cause (and his bed), and a snarky chaos god who offers a play-by-play commentary on it all, whether she wants to hear it or not. To make matters worse, a necromancer wants to capture the soul of Loku for his own dark purposes, and the only way he can get it is by killing her first.
A Soul for Trouble is a book I originally thought of as a Young Adult fantasy novel which seemingly touts a love triangle and a unqiue magical angle of a trapped god. I was definitely wrong on one account, this is not a Young Adult novel but instead one that could be classified as New Adult. Age difference aside A Soul for Trouble is a promising start to a highly interesting and unique fantasy series.
Arden, as we first meet her, is a rather tired and irritated barmaid in a small village where no one seems to respect her. She’s different from those around her with her fair hair and blue eyes, but she’s also hiding a magical secret which could get her killed. However that changes when she meets a rather insane man and his protector and she finds herself running away from the fiery ruins of her home with the god of chaos trapped in her mind. Arden had a sharp wit and a strong backbone to begin with but both become even more predominant as the story unfurls. In fact one of my favorite things about her is her willingness to set aside her fear and do what she feels is right, her own safety be damned. Of course when your nickname is Trouble you can sort of guess how often her safety is on the line. Dev is our elven fierce protector, duty bound to protect those who hold the soul of the god Loku. However his rather detached and stiff nature of the situation changes when he finds himself having to protect the beautiful and highly stubborn (if a little frustrating Arden. I love seeing him become flustered when Arden dug in her heels or rushed head first into danger, and even though I wanted to smack him I loved his trouble with finding a balance between duty and personal feelings. To be honest he’s absolutely terrible at finding that balance and I can’t say I blame him too much, he’s a bit out of practice and Arden does have a chaotic god bouncing around inside her mind. Loku is definitely my favorite though, and it should be no surprise. He’s a god of chaos and he’s name is suspiciously close to Loki…so of course I’m going to like him. He’s funny, highly inappropriate and surprisingly helpful. His silent conversations with Arden were definitely one of my favorite parts of the book as he dispensed both wisdom and lewd suggestions. Then of course there is Cinder, a fire wolf, and Prince Kell who, I’ll be completely honest, is a bit of a spoiled brat even though he’s intelligent and seems to have his heart in the right place.
The world in which Arden and Dev live is pretty interesting though this is mostly a character-driven narrative so we don’t get the lush detail I normally desire. However I was very interested in the social system of Ranello. They have strict laws against magic users and their customs regarding woman are a bit…stone age. I liked seeing how Arden and Dev had to navigate both restrictions and just how much strain it put on them. I am looking forward to seeing more of the world in the next book since it seems we might get to see where Dev and Cinder come from. The love triangle was so-so. We have the sturdy and trustworthy Dev against the well-bred and smooth talking Kell…and Arden sways between the both for different reasons. I wasn’t overly thrilled by it but I am more than a little curious as to who she will ultimately choose because I’m more than a little invested in Dev. Of course there is also the matter of the necromancer who leaves a bit a of a bad taste in my mouth. He’s driven by revenge and power, and his incredibly disgusting. We see him face off with our heroes a few times but I somehow don’t think we’ve seen the end of him.
So while a few things could have been a bit better I really enjoyed the character driven story and the unique touch of having a immature chaos god stuck in a woman’s mind. I look forward to seeing if the necromancer causes more issues and what happens as Arden grows more comfortable with her power and Loku’s ‘helpful’ residence of her mind.