"Soul Drinker" by Matthew Yard (ARC Review)

"Devin Bradley has been plagued with nightmares of his best friend's murder. When he wakes at an unknown house, he begins to fear that the cult which sacrificed his friend are now after him. With visions of the past and future, Devin realizes there is a war going on between Heaven and Hell, demons and angels. Readers won't be able to imagine what can happen when the Destroyer of worlds finds a way to break through the boundaries that separate realms and universes!"

(This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

One of the classic horror tropes is Heaven versus Hell, angels versus demons, good versus evil (like a boogeyman versus an innocent child, or a killer versus a group of teenagers, or even an evil spirit versus an exorcist) and we always know how it's going to end: good triumphs evil, every time. Some of the most well known films with this trope are Constantine (2005), the Exorcist (1973) and more recently, Stephen King's IT : Chapter 2 (2019).

That, along with a little romance, mystery, and historical elements make up this novel that features three main characters who are stuck in a struggle between good and evil while having to face mistakes from the past.

Welcome to the hellish world of Soul Drinker by newcomer, Matthew Yard.

Deep description is what makes up Yard's storytelling, so much so that the book is extremely hard to read. Only 132 pages long, Yard spends most paragraphs describing one single thing in many different ways, such as a young woman's hair, which only needs one sentence to tell such a detail, but instead, took an entire paragraph.

During an ancient civilization, a deity appeared named Destroyer, it found a way to break through the boundaries that separates realms and universes - - - finding our realm, Destroyer leaves his son Luther to build powerful followings through cults run by Pagans.

The novel's villain, Luther, isn't present enough to feel like a real threat for the reader. And the three main characters, other than their physical descriptions, are lifeless because of the extreme lack of character development.

Our main character, Devin, is a college student who constantly has nightmares of his best friend's murder. He also lives at house in the woods which he has no idea how he attained it and this is never explained. After Devin and a classmate named Vic have an encounter with a supernatural cloud, they end up at this house, where readers find out that Devin isn't the only one who has been having nightmares.

Vic is a beautiful, young woman, who Devin seems to be enamoured with, but she is still busy getting over her first love. A few chapters in, readers get flashbacks of Vic's father and mother before she was born. Vic's father was also haunted by this supernatural cloud, which seems to have had a tighter grip on him than Vic - - - her father's flashbacks are the most interesting part of this story.

Vic's father, Jacob, is fast asleep next to his wife when a giant face wakes him up, telling him that there is work to do. Jacob follows the face out into the hallway, when it begins to sway, as if through the eyes of a drunk. Jacob fights the urge to continue to the stairs, wanting to turn back and protect his sleeping wife.

A little while later, we find out that Jacob is psychic: he can see the dead and/or the past. But for anymore development on that interesting piece of information, readers get one glimpse of what Jacob sees - - - and that's it. Jacob's wife, Nina, is an even flatter character, which we only get to see in bed either asleep or waking up. Even Jacob's mental and spiritual fight with the 'face' is disappointingly short with no real tension, no climax, or feelings of betrayal when something finally happens in the end of that scene.

Love, the supernatural, and Pagan cults are what make up the plot of this book. The story jumps between Devin, Vic and Jacob, but the story gets caught up in moments that shouldn't be more than a paragraph, which caused me to become bored with the story. And Yard's writing made this book read like a fan fiction: a lot of inconsistencies throughout, tons of misspellings, and a major overuse of the same words, sometimes even in the same sentence.

Unfortunately, this book was almost unreadable, and the heavy descriptions were extremely off-putting, as was the end of the story- - - the book ended suddenly, and with no sequel in sight. I can't recommend this book to anyone.

My rating:

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