REVIEW: Soul Eater – Ofelia Gränd

Soul Eater - Ofelia Gränd

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Magic

LGBTQ+ Category: MM, Cisgender

Reviewer: Dan

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About The Book

Detective Thaddeus Ezax is in over his head. He’s the only wizard in Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department, and it was his name that got him the job. The Ezaxs are known as some of the most powerful wizards in the world, but Thaddeus isn’t your average Ezaxs. Is it any wonder his family shuns him?

When a kidnapping case is dropped into his lap, Thaddeus must act fast. While most five-year-olds can cast a location spell, Thaddeus can’t and is forced to get creative. When he finds himself in possession of a black market werewolf skull with a ghost trapped inside, accidentally releases the spirit, and somehow forms a connection with it, things get even crazier.

Sandulf Hunter doesn’t remember dying, but he remembers the last thing he saw before everything went black – a wizard. All wizards must die! The only problem is, the wizard standing next to him smells too damned good, so good Sandy thinks he might have to keep him.

And since wherever Thaddeus goes, Sandulf finds himself yanked along, he might not have a choice in the matter anyway.

The Review

As I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t usually make forays into werewolf books or romances that deal with fated mates, but I’ve been trying to expand and I have to say, Soul Eater doesn’t disappoint.

Though the plot of the novel gets a little harried at times and there’s a complex system of magic that is explained through a lot of exposition, I still enjoyed the book. I think I would have adored it if the author had drawn it out a little more and spent more time making the worldbuilding reveal itself more naturally. There were some stylistic and grammar issues, but the author’s blurb says she’s Swedish, so I think that comes more with writing in a second language than any real defects with the writing itself.

I liked the dynamic between Thaddeus and Sandy because even though they do fall into some tropes, Thaddeus didn’t fall into line with the werewolf mentality, and Sandy didn’t expect him to, either. They become softer and gentler with each other with little reason to do so other than being ‘mates’ but it’s nice to see a large, aggressive, masculine male character (Sandy) be not just soft with his partner, but totally at ease with his sexual identity.

Sandy gets angry, but he never behaves aggressively toward Thad. He gets unreasonably possessive and jealous, but he recognizes it and does his best to adjust his behavior and expectations. It’s also nice that Thaddeus, a smaller man, isn’t shunted into the stereotypes that crop up a lot for slimmer characters. He’s a little older than your average m/m protagonist, too, in my experience.

Some of the background characters fall a little flat and the ones that genuinely interested me didn’t get as much time on page as I wanted. There’s a trio of huge, burly shifters that accompany Thad on his journey and they’re fine, but not fascinating.

I wanted to know more about Thad’s partner, Elora, another non-shift detective at the department. She had an interesting set of powers and some unexplained hang-ups about using them. I would have liked to know more about her and seen her character fleshed out. She was also, other than a brief appearance by Thad’s mom and the victims of the crimes, the only woman. She was the only one with extended dialogue, so I would have liked more from her.

The plot moved a little too quickly for my tastes and relied on a lot of dialogue to get the point across about what was happening, so as I said, I’d like to see this book drawn out. I want the author to take her time with the story because it’s a genuinely interesting one.

The book feels like a set up to a series, too, which I think would be a lot of fun. The book has an interesting twist at the end that doesn’t get played out too much, and I’d like to know more about how that’s going to impact Thaddeus and his family going forward. Like I said, this feels like the start to the series and I hope it is. I’d recommend this to urban fantasy fans and people interested in a quick detective story.

The Reviewer

Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with a variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.  

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