Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Soul Stealer

The Soul Stealer by Alex Archer
Published by Gold Eagle Books

Well, I have been reading this series for a couple of months, wondering which one I would review for Faith In Books. This is the one. And it is not a positive review. I really hate to end on a bad note with this series but this will be the last Rogue Angel book I will read. So, I am really reviewing books 1-12 in the Rogue Angel series.

My Impressions

The premise of the story in the entire series had several flaws but over all seemed promising. Little did I know the powers of the publishing world that were against this from the beginning. But I digress.

The main character, Annja Creed, becomes the next Joan of Arc. You must suspend your factual judgment at this point and use your imagination. Yes, Joan did die. But she had two soldiers who were her guides and friends. They witnessed Joan's sword being torn to shreds by the British and many people in the crowd then grabbed pieces until nothing was left (in the meantime Joan is dying at the stake). The older soldier then spends his life - incredibly preserved - looking for all those pieces of the sword. The younger soldier spends his time making money and trying to keep young and immortal. Enter Annja who finds the last piece of the sword in a totally supernatural and never clearly explained way, even in a fictional manner. In any event, when she puts the last piece on the sword, it vanishes. Only to reappear when she grabs it in the "other" dimension. So, Annja is now the only one who has access to the sword.

This is the part that was pretty exciting about the series as a whole. What will Annja do with this sword? She now tends to get into trouble quite frequently, as though the sword itself is trying to right the wrongs of the world. She must make moral decisions of when to wield the sword and when to simply use her other boxing/karate/fighting techniques to defend herself against the "bad guys." And then there is the two soldiers - the older one is somewhat of a coach and father figure to the orphaned woman. The other tries to kill her one day and seduce her the next. There is very little trust among the three of them, yet they are joined together through Joan's sword.

Annja travels the world as an archaeologist and the reader gets a glimpse of some of the evils and atrocities to be found in all parts of the globe. Sometimes she is doing the right thing. At other times she is misguided and finds herself on the wrong team. There is humor, danger, incredible fight scenes, unbelievable escapes and a bit of romance. You get to know Annja throughout the series as her character is developed. It does get a bit predictable in some respects, but the tension between Annja and the two soldiers is enough to keep the reader engaged.

Then about book nine or ten, something changed in the type of adventure and Annja's whole moral outlook. I went online to get more information about Alex Archer. I was disappointed to find that Alex Archer is actually a team of writers and the book is published by a branch of Harlequin.

Soul Stealer was simply a piece of trash. There was only a bare mention of former characters and normal plot lines. Things happened to Annja that were never explained. She suffered two concussions and made a remarkable recovery, even for a fictional storyline. The book began with one plot line and became another by the end of the book. Basic understandings about the sword were changed, Annja ceased being a strong, take-charge young woman and began to be rather helpless. And one character died then came back to life (this was never explained). Truly, this was two books made into one and I would suspect there were actually more than on writer and perhaps too many cooks in the kitchen. Plus a lack of overall editing.

My Faith Impressions

I loved the moral quandaries that Annja found herself in during the early books. She eventually decides to trust her instincts and only kill those whom she feels are out to get her. People around her quite often died during the action and she was often saddened by their demise. She spent time contemplating her choices and the outcome of her decisions, especially if there was a loss of life.

There was obviously some higher power at work in her life. The whole idea of the sword that only she could wield and two guides who were forever living for some as yet unrevealed purpose. A master plan or will of God was never fleshed out. This would have made the series even stronger.

Although I recommend the first eight books especially, I would not recommend any books beyond book eleven. And so far there are 26 with one more on the way! I am ending this post with a listing of the series in order.

Happy Reading!

  1. - Destiny
  2. - Solomon's Jar
  3. - The Spider Stone
  4. - The Chosen
  5. - Forbidden City
  6. - The Lost Scrolls
  7. - God of Thunder
  8. - Secret of the Slaves
  9. - Warrior Spirit
  10. - Serpent's Kiss
  11. - Provenance
  12. - Soul Stealer
  13. - Gabriel's Horn
  14. - The Golden Elephant
  15. - Swordsman's Legacy
  16. - Polar Quest
  17. - Eternal Journey
  18. - Sacrifice
  19. - Seeker's Curse
  20. - Footprints
  21. - Paradox
  22. - Spirit Banner
  23. - Sacred Ground
  24. - The Bone Conjurer
  25. - Tribal Ways
  26. - The Dragon's Mark

No comments:

Post a Comment