YA Weekend Audio: Send Me Their Souls by Sara Wolf
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Book 3 of Bring Me Their Hearts
Publisher: Tantor Audio (January 26, 2020)
Length: 16 hrs and 35 mins
Narrator: Em Eldridge
Overall, this was a fantastic trilogy that I was sad to see end, but truth be told, Send Me Their Souls was probably the weakest of the three books. Zera’s duplicity and her dogged persistence in trying to get her heart back what I loved best, and while I’m happy she found more worthy causes to live for and all, over time this has resulted in the series losing some of its zing.
Send Me Their Souls picks up immediately where the last book ended and begins by quickly resolving the cliffhanger that it left us with (once more confirming to me that it really wasn’t needed, but I’ve already complained enough about that in my reviews of the previous volumes) by reuniting Zera with Lucien, Malachite, and Fione. Without spoiling things for those who haven’t caught up to this point, a war has begun and the enemy they are up against is one that they are very familiar with, which complicates things greatly. However, the fate of the world is on the line, and as the crown prince, Lucien knows his people are depending on him to do what needs to be done.
But just how far will he go to save the people he loves? With no one to keep the use of his powers in check, Zera fears that Lucien would burn himself out with his magic, and now that she is bound to him as his Heartless, his death would mean the end of her too. More importantly, Zera now cares for Lucien, more than she thought she could ever care for anyone. For the first time in her life, she has people she can call true friends, and what good would it be to get her heart back if it means everyone she loves will be gone?
The first half of this book follows a quest narrative, so I guess I was surprised and a bit disappointed to find much of it quite uneventful. These sections were mostly dominated by dialogue, but readers invested in the romance between Zera and Lucien would probably enjoy the back-and-forth a lot more than I did. The author spends plenty of time developing their relationship, but a lot of it involves retreading old ground, repeating again and again this cycle of Lucien beating himself up for not being able to do more, and Zera beating herself up for not being able to be more supportive. Needless to say, there’s also an obnoxious amount of fawning on both their parts, with cheerleaders Malachite and Fione in the background, chiming with a never-ending supply of sappy cornball remarks. As I said before, Zera’s new friendships have completely changed the dynamic of her interactions with everyone, and while I can’t think of no one more deserving of her newfound happiness, it has admittedly made the series less interesting to me as a whole.
It also made the characters’ behaviors and the overall storyline more predictable, and aside from the events in the conclusion, nothing really surprised me or kept me guessing the way the first two books did. The ending was quite different, I have to say, but though I appreciated that it went in a direction I did not foresee, the execution was a bit awkward and confusing. I felt like I might have missed something, and the epilogue also dragged on well past its expiration date, which is a shame because I think a more abrupt ending would have been more effective at delivering the poignant and emotional impact the author intended.
Still, I don’t want to make it sound like I didn’t enjoy this book, since I’m aware I’ve probably been doing a lot more complaining than praising. Many of the elements I loved from the previous volumes are also present in this one, and I guess I’ve been taking some of it for granted! The world-building continues to be awesome, though a lot of it I can’t talk about—including the stuff about valkeraxes and the Bone Tree—in case I inadvertently reveal too much. And even with the changes in Zera, I still adore her. She’s one of the most spirited and fun YA protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and she can still wisecrack with the best of them, returning verbal ripostes like a champ. I’m really going to miss her now that this series is over.
For all those reasons, I’m not too upset even though Send Me Their Souls was probably my least favorite of the Bring Me Their Hearts trilogy. Even with its flaws, though, I would still recommend these books, especially if you are a fan of YA fantasy romance, because then you’d likely not have the same gripes I did and enjoy this ending a lot more.
Audiobook Comments: Em Eldridge did a good job narrating the audio edition, though my only criticism would be that her voice for Zera sounded slightly flat and lacking in emotion, especially for such a feisty character. All her other voices were spot on though, and overall I’m happy I got to review the audiobook.