BOOK REVIEW: Soulprint by Megan Miranda
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
She looks out over the edge. “This is where you jump,” she says. I look down, but I shouldn’t have. The waves crash against the rock, and the sea swirls and foams.
This is the edge of my world, and it looks exactly like an edge of the world should look.
Soul-printing is now a reality. Every life a soul has ever lived is logged, recorded, watched – you can never be free from old evil.
And yet, somehow Alina Chase manages to escape from prison and uncover the vital clues to her past. With the help of her rescuers, whose motives are still unclear, can she get out from under the shadow of crimes committed by the last incarnation of her soul, or is she doomed to repeat her past mistakes forever?
The premise of Soulprint is, while not altogether unexplored, a fascinating one. It explores reincarnation, in a world where science has proven that it is, without a doubt, the way our souls work.
How much of who we are is based on the soul, and how much is based on how we’re raised? It’s the ever-present question of nature over nurture.
There were certain elements of this story which were really well done, with some aspects of the world-building appearing really well thought out.
But then there were the plot holes:
Soul-printing: This method of identifying a soul is without flaw. A soul-print is as unique to a person as their fingerprints, and a soul-print is found in the cerebrospinal fluid. Not everyone is tested, most people don’t test their babies, but when a person comes of age they will usually find out who they were. If your soul had a rich life last time around and didn’t have any family to leave their money to, they might have left it to you. You’d be crazy not to check, right?
When a particularly awful person dies, the government might test all the babies within the area (souls can only be reborn within a certain radius of where they died) to find out the new identity of the criminal so they can keep an eye on them, but it’s really not standard to test babies.
Plot hole: One of the main characters is looking for their sister, who went missing almost a year prior to the beginning of the novel. They want to get into the database to check and see if there is a listing of a new life for her soul, which will mean she died and has been reborn. But babies aren’t tested as standard, so there’s no way to be sure that the lack of record of a next life means she’s still alive. She might not show up on that database for another 18 years.
The Database: This is a highly secure system which holds the records of everyone’s identities and past identities, at least, the identities they’ve had since soul-printing was invented. June(Alina’s past life) hacked in, and was using that information to bribe people.
Plot Hole: Alina decides that destroying the way in will get rid of the information, and stop all the mess of people trying to blackmail other people by threatening to reveal their past lives and past crimes.
But it’s just the portal into the system, not the system itself that she wants to destroy.
Despite these issues, this was a quick, easy read, and the reader will find themselves invested in the plight of the main characters.
There was romance, but it was slow building rather than insta-love, good friendships were formed, and the writing style made it hard not to like Alina, as it was told from her point of view.
Alina’s character was well thought out. Having grown up in the shadow of her soul’s former life, she’s done everything possible to convince others, and maybe even herself, that she’s not June Calahan. She does this by training herself to be left-handed, even though the dominant hand is something that stays the same from incarnation to incarnation, focusing on excelling in subjects that June was never good at, and shunning those subjects that come naturally to her, and came naturally to June.
And the constant question of how much of a person is their soul, and how much is their physicality and how they were raised, is one that will likely stick with readers after finishing this book.
All in all, a fun, science-fictiony read that was light on the romance, but the romance provided was gooooood. It could have been a little clearer on the science, though.
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