Title: Starchild: The City of Souls (Book 2) | Author: Vacen Taylor | Publication Date: October 14, 2013 | Publisher: Odyssey Books | Pages: 137 | Recommended Ages: 10+ | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: In The City of Souls, the pilgrimage to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts continues. Having already triumphed against dangerous adversaries in The Age of Akra, the four children — Mai, Long, Akra and Sahib — now face the evil melkarie and must escape to the City of Souls. When they reach the safety of the land of Naroan, in a city hidden under a blanket of living green, the children are confronted with the challenge of locating the Singing Soul. But the underworld is searching for it too, and will do anything to stop the young pilgrims from finding it. The prophesy is at risk of being extinguished unless the children succeed in their quest.
My Thoughts: I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Starchild: The Age of Akra which is the first book in the Starchild book series by Vacen Taylor. Here is what I had to say about Book 1: “a riveting, well-written, and imaginative story featuring an intricate plot and stellar cast of characters that is sure to be thoroughly enjoyed by tweens, teens, and even adults who love a great science fiction tale.” Well, the second book in the series, The City of Souls picks up where Book 1 left off.
The second book starts with the four children (Mai, Long, Sahib, and Akra) continuing their quest to reach the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts but things go awry when they find themselves captured by the sand slavers from which there is no escape. Little do they know that an even greater danger will come in the form of the mighty melkarie, who will destroy every living creature in sight. The foursome manage to escape on the back of a trodan (which under normal circumstances belong only to the soundwavers) which takes them to the land of the soulbankers, the City of Souls.
The prophecy continues to manifest itself as a dark force begins to stir and a battle is waged across the land. A lone voice, the oldest soul in the city (Silvershade), calls out to the Starchild beckoning him to find and rescue her from the Chamber of Souls. But Akra and his friends are not the only ones who want to capture Silvershade and use its powers to foretell the future. A much more sinister being will stand in their way – one much closer to them then they possibly could have imagined.
Starchild: The City of Souls is a journey into a highly imaginative world filled with fantastical creatures and beings who have special abilities, an intricate plot containing many elements of surprise, heroes you’ll find yourself rooting for, and heinous, creepy villains originating from the underworld who will stop at nothing to wreak havoc and destruction. Underlying the series as a whole is the prophecy which is set into motion when Akra the Starchild arrives on planet Sage. The prophecy is the element tying the books together, but each book also has its own standalone plot. In The City of Souls, the children’s quest is to find and secure Silvershade before their enemies do. The book also ends with a clear mission for the kids in Book 3: to save Long by finding a way to extract the black pebble (you’ll have to read the book to figure out what I’m talking about!)
As with the previous book, I found myself thinking about Star Wars while reading The City of Souls. The sand slavers reminded me of the Tusken Raider Sandmen from Star Wars and Viridi, the green healer reminded me of Yoda: “Collar, collar, collar. Mystical things they are. Hard to unlock.” I also sometimes felt like the author was influenced by Tolkien’s Lord of Rings with descriptions of a dark force stirring and armies assembling. The story even had elements à la Indiana Jones as the children have to navigate through a booby-trap laden chamber. So, in short you can expect a real mix of genres with this science fiction and fantasy adventure. As my daughter would say: I loved, loved, loved it!
My Bottom Line: Starchild: The City of Souls is the second book in a science fiction fantasy featuring an intricate and engaging plot, well-developed characters who are faced with new challenges, a well-described setting reminiscent of Star Wars with a hint of Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones-style action and suspense. I’m in this series for the whole haul as I feel completely invested in what happens next as the prophecy continues to roll forward. I highly recommend this book as well as the series to science fiction aficionados ages 10 years and older looking for something a little different.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is also participating in Book Promotion Services provided by MDBR.*
More Buzz About the Book
“The author graciously sent a signed copy of this 2nd book in her series to my daughter Emily. Emily read Vacen Taylor’s first book in the Starchild series: The Age of Akra. She very much enjoyed the adventure and getting to know the characters. Emily eagerly anticipated the next book! Emily was thrilled when her copy of The City of Souls arrived and did what she could do to avoid her homework so that she could sneak and read The City of Souls. She read the book with much interest and said that she loved every bit of it. As a parent, it’s a big comfort and joy to me when my kids find stories written for their enjoyment! The Starchild series captured the heart and imagination of my daughter. And she very much looks forward to book three.” ~ 5 Star Review, Vonda N., Goodreads
“Ms Taylor provides masterful descriptions that don’t bore the reader. Thank you. I think the writing is at its best in the action, but the character building, backstory and forewarning is all there and relevant to the overall building of good storytelling. I’m assuming the introductions to some of the other multifaceted characters will have relevance in future books. I do hope so. Overall, a great read for children who are looking for something refreshingly new and unique.” ~ 5 Star Review, Kirt T., Amazon
“I like Starchild because the lizard is cool and Mai goes on adventures. The book is exciting. I can’t wait to read the next book.” ~ 5 Star Review, Krystalin (8), Amazon
About the Author: Vacen Taylor
Vacen Taylor is an Australian author, writer, occasional artist and amateur photographer. She loves creating stories for children and reading to her young readers. She is a happy person with a zest for life and exploring the world at large. Vacen collects comics and loves superheroes. Her favourite superhero is Spider-Man. Vacen also believes in expressing the uniqueness of self. She has had several short stories published for adults online. Starchild is her first novel for children and is the first book in a series of seven.
* Giveaway *
Prize: There will be one winner who will receive a print copy of Starchild: The City of Souls (Book 2) by Vacen Taylor + a $10 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.
Contest runs: February 18 to March 7, 11:59 pm, 2014
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Vacen Taylor and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.