Review of Soul Render (Soul Stones #1) by T.L. Branson

It was clearly a magical stone…
…but what did it do?
Will’s father is dead.
And now he wants vengeance, but there is more standing in his way than he knows. Alone, he will surely fail, but who will fight by his side?
Will needs a plan. To kill the man who slaughtered his father he must face fifty battle-hardened soldiers and worse. Can a band of rebels be won over to his cause? Will they help him steal the stone he needs for victory?
Can he learn to wield its powerful magic in time?
And then there are the rumors…
Is it a demon, a god, or something unimaginable?

Soul Render by T.J. Branson begins knee deep in action. The classic hero is created pretty immediately when main protagonist, Will, quickly loses most of his family. By chapter four, the reader is introduced to a world of magic, gods, and peril with plenty to keep the reader guessing and turning pages. The point of view changes happen on an as needed basis to tell the entire story, and Branson’s transitions happen smoothly. He also makes artful use of imagery to describe the sheer essences of emotion and break down cognitive function, like Will puzzling himself out of his latest scandal, throughout the entire story. As Will’s personal perils unfold, so does a political background that adds another level of intensity. There are a few times between chapters four and twelve where the story seems to be losing cohesion, but the reader is certainly rewarded by chapter eighteen, when the various plots of the book begin to fall into place. The Soul Render does lose a star for this temporary lapse, an example of which is a prophecy that Will happens upon in his adventures that was supposed to reference ten gods and soul stones but only references eight, but the entire book is worth the read. Especially for the clever twist at about 60%. All in all, T.J. Branson’s Soul Render should be revered alongside some of the more modern classics like Percy Jackson and The Lightning Theif, though readers should be warned that it’s sometimes more gruesome, and Will Sumner’s story has a solid four stars.

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