Kay’s Hidden Shelf’s Review of The Soul’s Aspect by Mark Halloway
Publication Date: 16 August 2021
Series: Book 1 in The Aspect Series
Rating: 4 Stars
A healer forced to become a killer for an empire that would grind his country to dust.
Kehlem, the sickly son of a widowed physician, has devoted his life to learning his father’s craft. Wanting to finally step out of his father’s shadow, he embarks on a project of his own, seeking out the help of Themia, the town’s newly arrived Alchemist and a rare wielder of magic.
But Themia has secrets of her own, secrets carried from the heart of the empire itself, secrets that would steal Kehlem away from his home and into the empire’s Academy for magic users.
The Isale Academy beckons, but can Kehlem survive the academy and its brutal regime? And if so, what would he have to become?
Review of The Soul’s Aspect
A compelling start to The Aspect Series that will pull at your heart. The story of a young boy who discovers there is more to his life and the countries history than he realizes.
The tagline “A Healer turned killer” is what caught my attention. I personally love physicians in fantasy settings. There are a variety of ways they can be portrayed alongside possible magic systems that create intriguing characters, and this was no exception.
As Kehlem is in his early teen years, this is a coming-of-age story that gives readers an insight into how the healer became a killer. Ultimately creating a captivating character arc within the first book of the series.
Speaking of characters, I found the side cast was built quickly but effectively. What does that mean? Well, the characters we meet and the relationships they build felt fast paced. However, it was done in a way that still gives the characters depth and meaningful relationships. This made it easy to connect with them, leaving me with both loveable and detestable characters.
The worldbuilding and magic system were interesting and are explored with the character’s own learning. Including aspects that were reminiscent of Dragon Mage by ML Spencer and yet vastly different in others. Such as the “magic school” trope. Though it felt like we only scratched the surface of the worldbuilding, it seems like there lots of opportunity for more exploration in the next books within the series.
We also see LGBTQ representation, young love, found family, grim dark elements, tension between countries and religious differences. There are also wholesome moments and others that will break your heart. Not to mention the twists and turns that pull you into this emotional story.
This is a coming-of-age story that will only get bloodier from here and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.
An accessible self-published fantasy and a great read for fans of Dragon Mage by ML Spencer.