Tweet #FridayFlash phenomenon on Twitter, and I've always found her to be an absolutely lovely person, not to mention incredibly supportive of other writers. When I discovered she was releasing a book, I was naturally excited to read it since I already knew I enjoyed her writing.
The Soulkeepers is the first book in a planned series (book two, Weaving Destiny, is slated for September 2011). The blurb reads thus; The night sexy and mysterious Abigail Silva comes to Jacob Lau's bedroom window, he doesn't believe she's real let alone a supernatural force who lives just across the street. Abigail says she's his Helper sent to train him as a Soulkeeper, a gifted warrior responsible for protecting human souls. But Abigail has secrets, and as Jacob is pulled into her strange world, he learns those secrets could cost him his family, his girlfriend, and even his soul.
It's a really interesting concept, and like nothing I've read before. Jacob seems to be your usual teenager struggling to fit into a new school in a new town after his mother disappears. He has trouble with the "popular crowd" and can't wait to get out of this dull new town that he hates so much. That might seem fairly run of the mill, but not many teenagers begin their books by coming back from the dead. Nor do they see their mothers fighting monsters. Most of all, they're not usually Soulkeepers - Jacob has a mystical bond with, and power over, the element of water. He encounters the local botanist, Dr Silva, who turns out to be a lot more than she appears, and she starts training him up to be able to fulfil his destiny. Along the way, he gets himself a girlfriend in the shape of Malini, a fellow social outcast.
If the word 'soul' gets you thinking that this is probably a bit deeper than your usual "teen with a superpower" fiction, then you'd be right. It's not just about teenagers throwing tantrums and pouting all over the place (are you listening, Bella?) In The Soulkeepers, Jacob encounters questions of faith, both in humanity and in a higher power, and the book really kicks things up a gear when we meet the villains of the piece - the fallen angels. They're a truly nasty bunch, which leads to an amazing setpiece between our hapless heroes and the demons in disguise, but I won't say much more because I don't want to spoil it.
Now, I've always been a sucker for angels (Michael is my favourite, in case you were wondering) but having had a fairly secular upbringing, I'm not overtly keen on religious fiction. However, GP has such a knack for storytelling that The Soulkeepers is a less a story about religion and more a story about finding faith - it doesn't necessarily have to be in a particular deity, even just faith in the universe itself will suffice. Jacob's quest for peace with the Almighty could be substituted for anything - hell, if Dr Silva was two feet tall and green, then Jacob could easily be the young Skywalker.
As far as characters go, GP has created a cool bunch here. Jacob is moody but with good cause, and Malini strikes me as being that quiet, shy kid at school who would actually be a really awesome friend if you bothered to say hi. The relationship between them feels very genuine and unfolds at just the right pace. Dr Silva is completely badass, and I actually found myself warming to her more and more as the book went on. However, favourite character has got to be Gideon - you'll see why.
All in all, I really enjoyed The Soulkeepers, and got so engrossed that I think I read the last quarter of the book in one sitting. I highly recommend it, and I award it five blunt pencils!
You can check out more about the book at its website, www.TheSoulkeepersSeries.com. You can also buy the paperback from Amazon, as well as the Kindle version, and if you have a non-Kindle e-reader, The Soulkeepers is also available from Smashwords!