From Goodreads: There are no accidents. When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother’s car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can’t find his mother’s body. Made a ward of his uncle and thousands of miles from home, a beautiful and mysterious neighbor, Dr. Abigail Silva, offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. In exchange, she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, a biologically gifted warrior charged with protecting human souls. He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother’s disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions Dr. Silva’s motives for helping him.
I liked this novel a lot. It’s a completely different take on good and evil, God and the devil, but it isn’t a highly religious, preachy novel, for which I am thankful. It was really interesting and insightful, and I am in awe of authors that have such creative imaginations and bring forth completely different views on topics like this. The idea of Soulkeepers protecting humans and the controlling of the elements was really interesting and I loved getting to know Jacob, especially as he came of age, learning to control his anger and take charge of his circumstances. The mystery in the novel had me captivated, and I really enjoyed the novel—especially as Jacob begins to remember and realize that his nightmares are actually a reality.
I loved the bigotry in the novel—and by that I mean Ching does a phenomenal job showing how difficult and dangerous bigotry can be, and how easy it is for people, especially those in close knit, small towns, to become close minded and prejudice. The abuse that Jacob and Malini endure is overpowering—even stemming from Jacob’s own family—yet they survive it all and come out on top. Though the name calling and reactions of Jacob’s peers had me seething on more than one occasion, I loved the in-depth analysis Ching presents as she hashes out the evils of prejudice and small minded people. Although this is really a small portion of the whole, this is the portion that really stood out to me the most—the underlying message is a wonderful lesson for all, especially teens. Three and a half stars.