Thursday, April 19, 2018

[Book Review] Soul Render by T.L. Branson

Book cover of Soul Render by T.L. Branson

If you're a fan of brilliant fantasy novels with wonderful characters, a dash of humor, and a splash of brutal violence, you need to snag a copy of Soul Render by T.L. Branson today!

I had such high expectations for this book. After all, I was incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to read and review the short stories leading up to this book. I absolutely loved each story, but they all made me increasingly antsy to get my hands on Soul Render!

I'm so happy to say that the wait was well worth it. This book was incredible!

One thing I will say right off is that I would definitely recommend checking out the short stories before reading Soul Render. It isn't necessary, but I thought that it was so fun to understand some of the things in this book on a deeper level thanks to the shorts. If you missed my reviews for the short stories, feel free to click below and then come back here!
Without further delay, let's dive in to my review of Soul Render!

Soul Render by T.L. Branson

It takes a god to kill one.

Self-proclaimed resistance fighter Will Sumner wants little more than to avenge his father who died at the hands of the ruthless king. When the opportunity arises to steal the king’s most valuable possession, Will and his brothers launch an assault to retrieve it.

Obtaining the unimaginable power of a legendary soul stone, Will learns that the gods of old aren’t dead after all. But even his newfound ability is no match for the tyrant that sits on the throne.

Now, the power he thought would be his salvation may very well claim his life – or his soul. To help tame this uncontrollable magic, Will seeks assistance from an unlikely source and aligns himself with a rebel group that may not have his best interests at heart.

Will’s brothers have forsaken him, his friends may deceive him, and his enemies will stop at nothing to end his life and seize his power for themselves.

My thoughts:
Oh my goodness. I've been sitting at my computer for an hour trying to put my thoughts into words... I keep looking away from my screen as my mind drifts back into the story thinking about one thing or another. My goodness, I'm so in love with this world that the author has created!

To avoid spoiling any of the magic, I will keep this pretty high-level.

Like I said above, I knew this book was going to be great based on how amazing the short stories were. T.L. Branson is such a talented writer. Everything about this book was perfect; the storyline, the organization of the transitions, the character development, the dialogue, the action sequences, the humor, the history of the stones, the heartbreak... It was all just so wonderfully written.

The transitions were so smooth! For example, one scene ended with, "The throne room disappeared as his mind went back to that day." And then the next section picks up with, "Will was a little boy again" and then we dove into a memory that added another layer of emotion onto the current situation that the character found himself in. Transitions like this can be very tricky. Most of the time I feel like they are a bit too choppy or too cliched. But this one, as well a numerous others in the novel, were seamless.

The whole storyline was organized so wonderfully. Even though there were various characters, the story flowed between them flawlessly. AND THE CHARACTERS. I was so excited to see a few people from the short stories make their appearances. I loved this crew so much.  Even the "bad" characters. They were all just so interesting. I loved each of their personalities and quirks. I especially loved how clumsy Will was. The dialogue both between the various characters as well as their inner dialogues when available was all so realistic.

The training process that Will and Evindal completed was very refreshing. Far too often in fantasy stories, the training is rushed and the characters jump into their powers much too quickly with easy perfection. This training sequence showed the struggles that Will had as well as the little details of the process.

I was so happy to totally immerse myself in the Soul Stone world for the length of this novel, but I didn't want it to end! This is definitely a book that I will be re-reading again soon, and then probably again before book two launches!

My favorite passages:
Will gaped up at the high spires of the castle reaching to the stars.

Will's fear grew tenfold. It had already jammed a foot in the door, through which despair flooded in, but as the king ran a finger down John's face and grabbed him by the chin, it kicked down the door and terror stalked in.

Will was in the throne room, but also hundreds of miles away and a lifetime ago. His mind retreated deep within himself and dissociated from his body.

Shaw blinked in wonder. How was this possible? How was any of it possible?
"I know what you're thinking," the king said.
By the gods, can he read minds, too?
"And no, I can't read minds," the king said.
He could have fooled Shaw. 

After ten more minutes, he found the bookshelf containing history titles. There was A History of Aralith, Drygo: Rise to Power - Unabridged, and War of the Gods, but nothing like Soul Stones: Everything You Need to Know or So You Found a Soul Stone, Now What?

"And this here's Jade," Talon said, holding his hand toward the blonde. "She's our resident thief."
"I prefer 'acquisitions manager,'" she said, crossing her arms.

Any drunkard he ever knew had any inclination toward anything spiritual, unless the spirits were in the drink.

"Pinky-swear it?"
Red narrowed her eyes and said, "What are you, ten?"
"Just do it."
"Fine," she said throwing her hands in the air.
Red placed her pinky in Will's and they shook.

"I think it wants us to follow it," Red said.
"That's ridiculous," Will said. "Who would follow a bird?"
"Over here," Shaw shouted. "I can hear someone."
Will looked at Red, eyes wide. "All right, we follow the bird."

The man tried to stand, but as he got up on one knee Ocken separated his head from his shoulders.

The gap between the stairs was widening as a rent in the ground opened up like the jaws of a soulfiend waiting to devour them.

My final thoughts:
This is a book that I cannot recommend enough. This is definitely an author that you'll want to keep an eye on! I cannot wait to see what T.L. Branson writes next. I'll certainly be here for it!

Thanks for reading!
To learn more about this author or to snag one ALL of his books (trust me, you'll love them!), check out his T.L. Branson's website page.


  1. Replies
    1. This world is SO cool! I definitely recommend them all!!

  2. Oh wow, I'm so glad to hear you loved this one. And I'm DOWN for excellent characters, good or bad. :)


    1. For sure!! This was such a great book! And the short stories are just as amazing!!

  3. I love well developed and realistic characters. I just might have to read this one.

  4. Ooooh definitely adding this to my TBR! Thanks for the review E!

  5. This does sound great, especially the characters! And I love the cover!