Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Soul Crossed. You can read my review of this novel [here].
Soul Corrupted was written by Lisa Gail Green and first published in 2015. It follows the continuing trials of Grace and Josh as they try to protect the world by preventing the coming of the Antichrist. The book forms the second part of the Of Demons and Angels series and follows directly on from where Soul Crossed (2014) left off, so you really need to read the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them.
For Grace, Heaven is far from being paradise. Now that she’s been given permission to watch over her family, she can see how her death has destroyed them. Her parents busy themselves in their work and her brother, Noah, has started down a destructive path. Grace knows that if he doesn’t see the light he will soon earn his place in Hell but Mr Griffiths forbids her from interfering. A soul can’t be saved unless they ask for it and so it’s not an angel’s job to interfere with human free will.
Her family issues also put a strain on her relationship with Josh. She’s still unable to put the past behind her. Even though Josh saved her life, she still remembers how he caused her to fall in the first place. Desperate to make things up to Grace, Josh tries to think of a way that he can save Noah. Even if it means doing the unthinkable and dealing with Lucifer once again to ensure his safety.
Lucifer’s deal is devastating, agreeing to Josh’s terms only if he breaks up with Grace. This final betrayal is enough to push Grace over the edge into a full breakdown. To make it worse, it happens at a time when two potential Antichrists suddenly appear. Now that Grace and Josh are separated, it seems harder than ever to save the world while sticking to Heaven’s rigid rules. But to break them invites severe consequences…
If you’ve read my review of Soul Crossed, you may remember that I was actually quite taken by it. It had its issues but it presented an interesting premise and I did actually care about the two protagonists. However, Soul Corrupted unfortunately succumbed to second novel syndrome. As the middle instalment of a trilogy, it felt more like an extended build-up to the third book and so just didn’t grip me in the way that the first book did.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate it. Green’s writing is still excellent and did a really good job of capturing the different voices of her protagonists. While Soul Crossed was told alternatively from Grace and Josh’s perspectives, Soul Corrupted also added Keira and Noah as narrators. It’s not easy to write in multiple different voices but Green carried this off really well and I was never in any doubt as to which character was speaking.
One of my primary issues with the novel was its pacing. While Soul Crossed managed to keep up a pretty snappy pace, Soul Corrupted often felt as though it was starting to drag. I think part of the issue was the loss of Cam. For me, it was Cam that largely carried the first book. He generated most of the tension – a kind of a “will he, won’t he” balance of whether he’d repent or finally snap and murder someone. There’s nothing that really compares to this in Soul Corrupted. The two potential Antichrists – Lucy and Kobe – were fairly minor characters in the story and didn’t carry the weight of Cam.
Without this central point, it felt as though the novel didn’t have much focus. It just kind of meandered between different events. Keira’s growing affection for Noah, Noah’s downward spiral, Josh trying to save Lucy’s soul, everyone kicking Grace repeatedly when she’s down. While these threads did start to come together at the end, it took the story a long time to feel as though it was moving. While there were plot twists again this time, they just seemed a little more predictable this time around. The reveal about what Ms Alverez’s plan was last time around was excellent but this novel offered nothing that similarly kept me guessing.
I also had a lot of issues with the characters. In my last review, I said that the characters were really Green’s strongest point but this time, I was disappointed. It’s not so much that there is a lack of development but rather a backwards turn. The romance between Grace and Josh was pretty solid last time. With all of the allusions to Romeo and Juliet, it seemed as though they were destined to be together. This time, there’s little romance to be seen. Grace pushes him away at the start of the story (due to perfectly reasonable trust issues) and then Josh rips out her heart and steps on in.
Yes, I know he rationalises that he’s doing this to protect her but seriously. Seriously. He’s breaking up with her as painfully as possible. Grace has lost everything and is watching her brother self-destruct. How on Earth can Josh think that sticking the knife in her and twisting it could be construed as protection? Anyone with half a brain could see that he’s making things worse.
This was the biggest issue with the story. The fact that most of the crises could be averted if the characters just spoke to one another. Acting in a person’s best interest is all well and good if it actually is in their own interest. If everyone had just been honest with each other from the word go, every little issue in this book could have been either easily resolved or stopped before it even became an issue.
Yet, gripes aside, I still do like the female cast. While Grace does occasionally lean towards being a Mary Sue, I liked how Noah’s opinion of her deflected this a bit. From his perspective, we can see the negative side of her holy-than-thou attitude and how it started him off along his dark path. This was kind of nice as, in the previous book, this had always been perceived as being a good thing. Viewing it from the flip side, we can see just how naïve and preachy Grace can be.
Keira’s development was also excellent. In Soul Crossed she was just really portrayed as being a succubus – there to corrupt and seduce. This time around, Green gives her a lot of growth and it starts to become all the more obvious how she came to be the way she is. I won’t spoil too much of this for you as you should read it for yourself but Keira is the main reason I want to read the next book. I really do want to see how her story pans out.
Anyhow, I guess that’s a good place to stop. All in all, Soul Corrupted is nowhere near as strong a novel as its prequel. However, it does set up the third instalment and end on a rather exciting note. I will certainly be reviewing the final novel at some point in the future. I just hope that it’s more like the first book than this one.
Soul Corrupted can be purchased as an eBook on Amazon.co.uk