A Soul to Take by Emily Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary from GoodReads
The world has changed: demons of legend now live among humans, integrated into society through Government programs, wishing for peace.
Elixia Albelin, however, isn’t sold. As an Agent-in-training, she knows firsthand the blood-thirst of demons and isn’t jumping to befriend the monsters plaguing her dreams.
But when a mission sours, Elixia’s sister is caught in the crossfire: taken. Abandoned by those meant to protect her family, Elixia is left with only one option if she wants to retrieve her sister—a taboo option that goes against everything she believes in.
She must sell her soul.
Now, bound to a beast and living on borrowed time, Elixia has to navigate the demonic world to find her sister within a cesspool of human traffickers and serial killers. Enemies control her fate, the simplest truths are questioned, and misperceptions must be shattered. Only one thing remains consistent—Elixia must find her sister before time runs out. Or become the very thing she fears most: a soulless monster.
Gritty, powerful, and exciting, A Soul to Take is a gripping debut that explores prejudice, justice, and the consequences one family faces when those two collide.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
It's rare to see a book, which began as something quite different, becoming something new, something more. I've known Emily Taylor since 2012, when I had made my first steps in Wattpad and she was (and still is) one of the top authors of the site. She made many covers for my books and I adored her writing style.
"A Soul to take" was just a good draft then with many hints of favorite anime characters and a dark, almost noir atmosphere. Now, as an ARC reviewer, I can admit that I never expected so many thing to be cut or added to the finished plot.
Needless to say that this book surpassed my expectations.
If "Black Butler" met with Jessica Jones and had a baby along with "Beauty and the Beast", that would be "A Soul to Take". Too much?
Let's take it from the beginning.
Elixia is the heiress to a media company. After the death of her parents, she and her sister Shellie live an almost quiet life, save for the fact that their world is roamed by almost civilized demons and Elixia works as an Agent. Agents are kind of the demon police for this world.
When a tragic incident leads to Shellie be taken and Elixia "almost" dying, she will do anything to save her sister even sell her soul to the enigmatic Master and work side by side with his Right Hand, Sebastian.
There's a good mix of steampunk, an idea of Victorian era, matched with the advance technology you'd expect in the 21st century. There's action, mystery and some very sweet moments. The romance is slow-burning and counting also the many male characters, I had a hard time, at first, figuring for whom Elixia would fall.
And Sebastian; you can't miss the reference (since both Emily and I are huge fans of the anime character) and the mannerisms of his. There's quite a strong world-building, which may be confusing at the first pages but as the stroy moves on, it becomes clear.
I was glad to have the chance to read Emily's work. And I'll still cheer her as she continues her writing journey. Well played my friend, VERY well played! ;)
About the author:
A Soul to Take and a remake of Blood of Angels, which will enter the 2013 Watty Award Competition.
Besides writing, Taylor currently studies Music Technology at her state’s Conservatorium and recently helped on Respect Cat Production’s feature film, In a Corner, as a Script Advisor. She looks forward to taking up screenwriting electives in the future. A Soul to Take is her first formally published work and Book One of The Soul Stealer’s Trilogy, a New Adult paranormal romance with elements of dark fantasy.