Oblivio salvationem Angelis opperitur Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation
Beautiful, dark, and horrific. You’ll need your A-game for concentration and thinking for this one.
Where to start with this one?! I was offered to read this via Rachel’s Random Reads (if you don’t already know of her or her social media, then as an avid reader and blogger or budding novelist you need to look her up! Total game changer!) and hadn’t long finished a spooky book challenge and felt in a bit of a slump-with my ever expanding TBR list I was feeling a little overwhelmed and my reading mojo was taking a nose dive. I almost handed the book back and put my hands up in epic failure BUT how glad I am that I didn’t! I’ve never been so curious or enthralled before!
The centre of the book focuses around the Boy-we never learn his name and that may seem frustrating (and it is at first) but you soon just accept this lad has no name. You learn that he sees things that other do not-souls-and can look into a person to see if they are good (colourful souls) or bad (tar black souls) and can also see if a persons soul is passed the point of return (when considering if they can become “good”).
The Boy is an orphan, born in an asylum and raised within the care system, and knows nothing of a typical family. He’s wanting so desperately to find his mother’s soul that he leaves the care home and goes on to live in the abandoned asylum carrying out his soul-catching ritual night after night until he finds her. Only when he does and makes an attempt to place her in a host body, it just isn’t right-his mother isn’t at home in her host, and so he ends the hosts life and is subsequently caught and taken to young offenders detention.
As the Boy is highly intelligent and other worldly, he sticks out like a sore thumb and is soon targeted. However an unlikely alliance forms with Makka (who we slowly learn actually has a heart of gold despite rough around the edges and quite handsy!) who takes on the role of lead protector and opens up a whole new world to the Boy and introduces him to the world of double decker buses, the London Underground and patterned carpets in vans. They two boys also come crashing in to the world of Vee-a girl who has been abused at the hands of a father who should be protecting her but instead passed her around like an object in order to make his own gains.
The three form a real bond and while Makka and Vee have their own journeys in to revenge for their hurts, and they work through them together as a whole. And eventually the Boy places he most precious and beloved jar in to the hands of Dr Eve Rhodes (the jar being his mother’s soul).
Dr Eve Rhodes is a fantastic character with a unique sight of her own which she grew to reason with abs cover over by becoming a psychiatrist. She is the main voice of reason in the entire book and soon finds herself reaccepting what she would see as a child and becoming the keeper of the Boy’s mother’s soul.
The plot is strong, the scenarios are graphic and frankly bloody, racist and of a sexual nature, but the story is damned good! Most of the adventure is from the Boy’s narrative with other chapters looking in on key characters from time to time , which allows the reader to see what’s going on in other places and times, leading to more depth to the story itself and other characters. There are parts where your heart breaks and aches (when you see one of the characters discover tears for the first time) and there are also parts where you can’t help but laugh (looking at the carpet pattern in vans and wondering if patterns on seat coverings are the same in other parts of the Tube), parts where you recoil (burnings and bodies) and parts where you feel anger (abuse and racism).
This is an exceptional read that just seems to have it all in one book! Really worth the time and effort and I really hope there’s a follow on where we see how Dr Eve Rhodes and the Boy’s mother live and go about their life while waiting for the Boy to be ready and his mother to be released.