Title: Fractured Soul
Author: Rachel McClellan
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing
Genre: Paranormal fantasy
In this, the second in a series about Auras and their nemesis Vykens (basically vampires who need the blood of Auras to keep themselves looking human), the main character Llona has moved to a school for Auras (a dying race who have the power to wield Light). Her parents are dead and her aunt is one of the heads of the school. She is told that she must stay away from the boy she loves because he is a Guardian, (one who protects an Aura) and if their relationship continues, he will most probably die. (I didn’t get exactly why.) The school teaches that the Auras are not capable of fighting to protect themselves, but Llona, who grew up outside the school (her mother was a rebel) knows this is untrue. She killed a Vyken at the end of the first book, Fractured Light. Now, going against the rules, she seeks them out in order to kill them and finds herself lusting after a fight in a way she never did before. Could it have something to do with the fact that the Vyken she killed managed to bite her first and his poison is spreading inside her, turning her into one of them? The Vyken’s poison is like evil inside her and she must battle against it by using her light for good or she will become a Vyken herself. Hence the title fractured soul. It doesn’t take her long to discover that something is not right at the school. Why are there so many Vykens just outside the walls? And why is the Aura’s blood bank being replaced with Vyken blood. The main thrust of the story is uncovering this mystery, and it’s a good mystery. The stakes get higher as the story progresses and it builds to an exciting and unexpected conclusion. The plot is well structured and well paced and increases in complexity as the book draws to its conclusion. We are left well set up for the next in the series, one I look forward to reading. I love the way the Auras use Light to calm others and, in Llona’s case, to protect oneself. The descriptions of the use of the light are highly evocative and the fight sequences exciting. However, I didn’t find this book as powerful as the first. I have a sense that the depth I felt in the first book is missing somehow, perhaps because the good and evil is so black and white. Such over simplification can give a story a slightly two dimensional character. This is a purely personal perspective, of course, and not a reflection on the actual writing which is well crafted, and we must remember that the book is written for a young adult audience. Fractured Soul has all the elements we have come to expect in a YA paranormal fantasy – romance, battles to the death, strange creatures and people with amazing powers. The world is further developed here with the addition of new characters with different powers who are the last in their races, as well as another group of protectors with a wider responsibility than just protecting the Auras. I expect that these elements will come further into play in the next book. All up, it’s a good book for teen readers and the series is well worth following. 4 stars.