Soulbinder (Spellslinger #4), Sebastien de Castell


Life ought to be more than just losing the things you love one after another until you have nothing left

Kellen and his murderous squirrel cat are on their own, searching for a mythical monastery known as the Ebony Abbey. It’s a place that outsiders can never find, where the monks know more about the shadowblack than anyone else.

* * * *
4 / 5

Read my reviews of Spellslinger (#1), Shadowblack (#2), and Charmcaster (#3)

I love these books. I’ve embraced the cheesiness of them, their episodic sort of nature and their charm. The wit of Ferius Parfax, the questions in Kellen’s head, and the hilarious viciousness of Rechis. Soulbinder keeps all of that and shakes it up a little, adding something a little more.

So many lies. Hers. Mine. How were any of us not crushed under the weight of them?

As per usual, Soulbinder starts with Kellen and Rechis in a bit of a fix – namely, some folks are trying to kill them. But this time, Ferius isn’t swooping in to save them. When they black out on the sands, feeling death swooping over them, I thought they were sure to be saved by Ferius – that it was just a matter of time. But instead Kellen is kidnapped by an order of creepy monks, taken back to their creepy black castle with its creepy blokes and its secrets. There’s something going on here. 

There, Kellen makes friends and allies and enemies and begins to find out a little more about his curse. As always, his obnoxious younger sister keeps cropping up with her little tricks and Kellen’s father is flapping about with his war coven. This book really feels like it’s Kellen vs the world and that gives Soulbinder a different feel to the previous books, where Kellen is part of a trio. Kellen has his tricks, his increasingly smooth ways of talking, and it feels like he really is becoming an argosi; but Kellen also has a darkness in his eye and the world is set against him and at the Abbey he finds he isn’t quite alone. It’s pretty heartwarming.

Like my father once said, everything is tricks with me. The problem with tricks, though, is that sometimes the most devastating trick is the one that’s been played on you

Soulbinder has got it all – wit, humour, moral dilemmas, themes of family and love and belonging. I can’t wait for the next one!

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of Soulbinder

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