Score: 86/100 (8.6 out of 10)
Payback's a b&*ch!
That's profoundly evident in Death to the Soul by R.I. Polsgrove.
Death to the Soul is a dark, chilling, violent, disturbing, and gory revenge tale. It is also a cautionary tale, as we'll get to later. It's a book that's filled to the brim with trigger warnings, so keep that in mind as well.
But if your stomach can take it, and if you remind yourself (as the author does) that this is fiction, you may be able to appreciate aspects of this book.
The sobering thought is that incidents of rape, abuse, and domestic violence are surprisingly prevalent, much more common than most would think. Sadly, victims often stay silent, and they suffer in silence for the rest of their lives. The same is true for many victims of other types of abuse and violence.
Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that the victims are very often the most vulnerable people in our society: young people. And young people often feel defenseless, hopeless, and like this kind of behavior is “normal” or “deserved” somehow.
Let's get this out of the way: rapists and pedophiles are MONSTERS. This book poses the question: what happens when those monsters meet a different kind of monster—a sadistic, bloodthirsty (literally), and absolutely ruthless Vayer (vampire-werewolf) named Quinn.
Quinn is absolutely savage and terrifying. He is essentially a serial-killer—a kill-crazy, torturing maniac. In a lot of ways, despite the somewhat noble turn that his arc takes, he remains one of the principal villains of the book.
Quinn's life takes an unexpectedly noble turn when he meets a girl named Ryane who is on the way to her mother's funeral. Learning this fact, he first considers making her death faster than his other victims, then decides not to kill her at all. Gee, thanks. How sweet...
Learning that Ryane is a victim of childhood abuse and rape at the hands of a man named Henry Anderson, Quinn makes it his mission to find Anderson and make his last hours on earth a living hell.
Now, the Quinn-Ryane relationship is a powerful allegorical and cautionary tale. It's cautionary in the sense that Quinn begins to negatively turn and influence Ryane, turning her into a brutal, crazed, and sadistic person like himself as she seeks the “power trips” that brutal acts give her. Quinn (and Lucas's) manipulative abilities are encapsulated by their “Judas kiss”--a kiss that charms the victim or recipient of the kiss.
This is very reminiscent of crime couples/duos throughout history who have raped, murdered, and tortured together, usually ending with the male taking most of the blame and the female later claiming they were “scared” or manipulated to get a lighter sentence. We're not going to give those real-life monsters the time of day by mentioning their names here, but you know the ones.
These aren't people who deserve reverence, they're despicable. Quinn and Lucas in particular are terrible people, especially considering that not all of their victims are deserving or “bad.”
This book actually reminded us a lot of Dagger & Scythe by Emilie Knight, a book which prominently features a couple that tortures and kills for pleasure.
This book is still nowhere near as disturbing as Viila and the Doomsday Affair, but it's up there.
If you love disturbing, dark books, you can check this out on Amazon!