Soul Breaker by Clara Coulson, a.k.a. Therin Knite, is not only an Urban Fantasy, but also a fast-paced police procedural, only the police are a special division of paranormal detectives called DSI (Department of Supernatural Investigation). The expression “page-turner” comes to mind. Clara Coulson has a style and pacing which make for a quick read.
In the magic users’ underworld of Aurora, DSI agents are referred to as Crows; hence the name of the series, City of Crows. Within the pages of this somewhat campy-supernatural-Urban Fantasy-whodunit, we meet Cal Kinsey, an entry-level investigator with the DSI. The man is rather cocky but not too sure of himself at the same time. He wears a confident face for the sake of other DSI agents. However, self-doubt, botched moments during an investigation and a haunting prologue experience make for a well-rounded character.
All in all, the main character’s inner thoughts, personality, et al are positives. The only “con” would be a bombshell about Cal Kinsey dropped into chapter 24. There was no previous reference or hints about a peculiar aspect of his personality. This information has no bearing on the rest of the book, either. Don’t fret, though, this little surprise quirk doesn’t take anything away from the overall entertaining aspects of Soul Breaker or its main character.
Although written in the first person, Soul Breaker doesn’t suffer from overusing “I.” In fact, Ms. Coulson seems quite adept at using beats and other body language to prevent large blocks of talking-head or speaker-tag-laden dialog. Except for two lesser characters, Riker and Delarosa, most of the DSI agents tend to speak in millennial voices. I would’ve preferred more professionalism in their speech. Perhaps it is my middle-aged eyes. Of course, the mannerisms of the agents do lend to the campy quality.
The complicated plot is properly paced and I didn’t spot any holes. Clara Coulson has created and delivered a story which could’ve gotten out of hand and drifted quite easily. There could’ve been a lot of info dumping concerning magic and the Eververse. However, the world-building information is properly presented in dribs and drabs, and woven into the text quite well.
Soul Breaker is the first in a trilogy. The good news is you won’t have to wait for the rest. The second book, Wraith Hunter, the third, Shade Chaser, and a novella, Dream Snatcher, are ready for purchase. I’m looking forward to another adventure with Cal Kinsey, the DSI, and interesting Eververse creatures invading our realm.
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