Verdict: SOUL CENSUS is an action-filled adventure story with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader hooked and in anticipation of the next book in the series.
SOUL CENSUS, the first book of a trilogy, is an imaginative tale filled with action and intrigue. Willem Maddock is a down-on-his luck veteran of the World War I. Unable to find a job at the height of the Great Depression, his fortunes suddenly change when he is recruited to be a Census agent and learns that his current incarnation is just one of many. A skilled warrior who has lived many reincarnated lives dating back centuries, his talents are needed in order to round up rogue souls which are living on Earth as demons. He soon finds that his destiny is far greater than he ever imagined and that he is a pivotal figure in the battle of good against evil. Intertwined with Maddock’s story is the story of Zarad, an ethereal being who must protect the Soul Sphere and the cycle of reincarnation.
SOUL CENSUS is not your typical fantasy story. While it does feature otherworldly creatures, it fuses together so many other elements that it is difficult to pinpoint its genre. The paranormal and fantasy elements are the most obvious, but SOUL CENSUS also becomes a war story when Maddock finds himself facing off against not just rogue souls but also Nazis.
Maddock is not the most endearing of heroes, but grows more likeable as the story progresses. His speech is chock-full of 1930s slang phrases, sometimes making him seem like a character lifted from a gangster movie, but his speech helps to keep SOUL CENSUS firmly rooted in the time period. Mythological entities are also integrated into the storyline and brought into the 20th century.
This blend of genres is ambitious, but not always effective. With so many creatures and characters, not to mention alternating narratives, there is a lot to follow. There are minor spelling and grammar errors throughout the book, but SOUL CENSUS’ greatest pitfall is its sheer length. There is plenty of action to fill its pages, but these action sequences are sometimes spaced far apart which causes the story to plod along.
Though the story could have been condensed and the pacing could be better, SOUL CENSUS is never boring. The ending is left open, prepping for the next installment of the series, but tying up the storylines to keep the reader satisfied — no major cliffhangers here! SOUL CENSUS is an entertaining read for lovers of fantasy and the paranormal.
~Christine-Marie Liwag Dixon for IndieReader