The Soulkeepers: Teen Angst, Just Add Water!

This is my first review for anyone curious about the origins. I will try to keep the posts numbered to make it easier to find them.
Background/Cover art: This book is by G. P. Ching and is the first of a fairly extended series, since the back has at least two more sequels mentioned. I have not read those as they are not free, and there is a good chance that there could be some redemption for the series in the later books. The cover is of what I assume is the main character in a hooded cloak that is never mentioned in the book.
Plot: The premise of this novel is a teenage boy named Jacob Lau wakes up in a hospital to find out that his mother has gone missing. Since his father died before the start of the novel, his uncle, who he has never met before now, takes Jacob from Hawaii to a small town in Illinois. Once there, Jacob faces bullies, racism, and family drama, and then he meets his next door neighbor.
Spoilers from here on out: The neighbor tells Jacob that he is one of the magical descendents of Adam and Eve, he is a horseman, or warrior, whose job it is to protect the innocent from evil. He has the ability to move water with his mind, and uses it to defend himself. One day, Jacob is captured by one of the Watchers, a group of fallen angels who spread evil and chaos on Earth. His neighbor as well as his one-dimensional girlfriend travel to the Watcher’s haven and save him and his mom who was captured by the watchers as well.
Passage: “So, what is it with these people?” Jacob asked. But the voices interrupted again. “I heard from Rob that he’s actually related to the Laudners but his dad changed his last name to Lau,” the one called Phillip said. “Why wouldn’t he just use the name Laudner? I mean it’s like he wants people to know he’s a gook.” It was Dane’s voice this time. Malini’s eyes pleaded with Jacob to ignore the racial slur. His jaw tightened until he thought he might snap his own bones.
Opinion: Since this book is marketed as a fantasy/sci-fi novel, I was disappointed with how little action actually occurs; there were only three scenes where the water powers were used as an actual weapon, and two of them were just accidents with a bully. This reminds me, if I ever met the protagonist, I would want to punch him in the face because he is so whiny. Yeah, I totally understand that your mom is missing, your dad is dead, and a random family member is moving across the country where people are typecast as being backward racist folk, but for Pete’s sake he mentions the fact his life sucks in his new home at least once a page.
The other characters are almost as annoying. Jacob’s girlfriend seems to only serve the purpose of being a love interest; all of her thoughts that are mentioned revolve around him and what he did or said or whatever. In the end it is somewhat revealed that she also has some sort of super power, but it’s never determined exactly what she can do except pine for her angsty man. As mentioned before, all of the people of the small hometown seem to have values from the 1860’s, and they act distastefully backward. I find this a bit offensive, as I have lived in a small town before and this gives small towns a terrible stereotype. The neighbor provides the only real interest to the story as she is the only one who actually knows what is going on, and she actually refuses to serve Jacob when he becomes even more of a punk. If she was the main character of the novel, I would probably enjoy this story ten times more since she actually gets work done without complaining about her own hardships.
The writing isn’t bad. There are no blatant grammar or writing errors, and the book is very easy to follow. The plot points on paper sound interesting: boy leaves home under mysterious circumstances, meets someone who teaches him about his secret powers, learns how to utilize said powers, and kicks fallen angel ass, but the characters and setting really bog down the story.
Ratings: This is a fantasy/sci-fi novel so the ratings for this book are
Powers: 6/10
Explanation for Powers: 5/10
Creativity: 8/10
Plot: 7/10
Characters: 2/10
Overall I give this free read 4/10. It’s not poorly written, just has bad character development and a mediocre storyline.
Citation: Ching, G. P. (2011-03-21). The Soulkeepers (The Soulkeepers Series) (Kindle Locations 470-474). Carpe Luna Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

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