by Megan Miranda
To be published
by Bloomsbury Kids
on February 3, 2015
Source: Thanks to Bloomsbury for approving me for an e-ARC for review
Synopsis adapted from Goodreads: Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul-fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.My take: I'd decided to take a pass on Soulprint, or at least wait for reviews to come out. The title sounded New-Agey and the plot like sci-fi. Then I read a rave review on Goodreads from Ashley of Nose Graze and decided to give this book a try for review.
I'm so glad I did. Soulprint is an excellent thriller with a super-cool premise, but it's also a story with philosophical themes, well-developed characters, and a touching romance. There are sci-fi aspects, but if you're not a fan of that, the science isn't a huge part of the story.
What I loved most was the way the book ingeniously blends something age-old -- the idea that souls can be reincarnated -- with something speculative and high-tech -- the idea that souls can be analyzed like DNA and then tracked when they are reborn in a new body. Alina, the main character, knows she is the reincarnated soul of June, a notorious murderer. As such, she's spent her life in a high security prison. The book begins in action, with Alina being broken out of prison by people whose motives aren't immediately apparent, and I was gripped right away.
Once Alina is broken out, the story slows down. She learns more about the people who've helped her and what their motivations are -- or are they being completely honest with her? She also begins to feel June's presence within her -- or is she imagining it? This slowdown in pace was an interesting narrative choice for a thriller-y story, but it also offers some breathing room for character development and the exploration of some of Soulprint's themes, questions like: Are we a product of our pasts? Do we have free will? What is the nature of the soul, and could those qualities that make us individual and unique carry on after our physical bodies are gone?
I think that Soulprint has a little something for every reader: an intriguing scientific premise, a daring prison break, some interesting philosophical questions, and a sweet romance. Ashley's right -- give it a try!