Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close. They must keep Eden a secret if they are to survive.
Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained and dedicated Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother discovers a cure to the plague, her world is turned upside down. The discovery is a miracle, yet miracles are dangerous in Eden.
The corrupt, all-powerful High Priest brands Aaliss and her brother Wilky as traitors, forcing them to run. They seek refuge in the last place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden, and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders who are only a few years older than her.
Aaliss yearns to return home to Eden, but she must protect Wilky at all costs. And when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the Soulless, she questions everything she once believed, everything the Priests had taught her about those who live outside Eden—they are forever cursed, savage, soulless.
Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens to tear apart the Soulless world? Or... might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?
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My first thought when I read the blurb for this book is that it is either going to be really good or a complete washout. I am happy to say that it is really good. The characters just seem to come to life off of the pages.
I found myself rooting for Aaliss and her brother Wilky almost from the very beginning. She is so grounded in reality while Wilky is a bit different. He is brilliant but not too good on communicating. He reminds me of some autistic kids I have met.
We also get a chance to meet the people from two different 'Soulless' villages and I am really impressed by how far their culture has grown considering that people tend to die really early from the Red Death.
I did run across some editing errors but they weren't enough to pull me from the story. I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy reading dystopian storylines.
*** I received this book at no charge from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed within are my own.