Dark Souls, by Paula Morris

Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls isn't the best YA paranormal romance I have ever read, but it boasts likeable characters, an intriguing premise, and literally dozens of ghosts, running the gamut from benign to horrifying. Fans of the genre are in for a creepy, history-infused treat.

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Tennant walked away from the car accident that killed her best friend, but the experience left her with an unwanted gift: the ability to see ghosts. Thankfully, evidence of the supernatural seems to be thin on the ground in rural Iowa, but when her parents take the family on a working vacation to York, England (“the most haunted place on Earth”), Miranda finds herself surrounded by the spirits of everyone from Elizabethan martyrs to Roman legionnaires. She also discovers Nick, an odd, troubled boy who can see ghosts as well. Nick offers to teach Miranda what he knows, but he might not be the safest (or sanest) guide for a ghost-spotting newbie...

Most of the horror in Dark Souls comes from real incidents in York history, which is more disturbing than any fantasy could be. Miranda, sadly, is the story's least interesting character, but there's nothing seriously wrong with her—she just fails to make much of an impression. On the other hand, Nick is a memorably twisted love interest, and the story's background characters are uniformly excellent. (Miranda's parents are even well-developed, and trust me: healthy, loving parents are ridiculously rare in books like this.) YA supernatural romances frequently feel like they should cost a dime a dozen, but Dark Souls is a thoroughly researched, solidly entertaining addition to the genre.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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