Book Review: The Soul Snatchers

The Soul Snatchers

  • Title: The Soul Snatchers
  • Author: Richard Sanford
  • Series: No
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publishing Date: January 8th, 2019
  • Publishing Co.: Inverness Press
  • Length: 174 pages
  • Formats: Trade paperback,
    Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony Reader
  • Acquired: Gifted free ARC in exchange for a review
  • Amazon Link: The Soul Snatchers

Tzaro Janssen, a seismologist in a next-gen lab in the San Juan Islands, is toeing a fault line. His girlfriend Therica has become… not herself. Stories like hers are lighting up media around the globe—psychotic breaks, social isolation, explosive violence. And no known  cause.

A chilling discovery on Therica’s phablet fractures the world Tzaro knows and propels him into a strange, altered one. At the center is Therica’s obsession, the mega networking platform Wundrus.

With the fates of Therica, his son Derek, and billions of the socially interconnected in the
balance, Tzaro and the rag-tag team who join him—Calvin Carmody the professor of ancient languages, Svetla the Bulgarian Guber driver, Wes the old-school programmer, and hardheaded Morgan, rebel with a cause—plunge into a race against madness.

In a future world not so distant, in a cyber cell in the shadowy foothills, the soul snatchers are watching, and waiting.

Final Judgment: 4 Stars out of 5

Immediately, readers are thrown into a new-age version of our current world, perhaps a century or more forward from our known time of the 21st century. The characters still go about normal day events, but are now even more connected to each other via technology… and new social media sites such as Wundrus and Ping. But despite the ability to share and communicate with each other even more efficiently and quickly, the characters show signs of isolation and distrust, leading to horrible events playing on the news daily. An unlikely band of old friends and newfound acquaintances join up and embark on a journey to save the world from an internet virus that can alter people’s behavior and psychology. But what will they find along the way?

“We all know what’s been happening. People afraid to talk to each other, to look each other in the eye. Too paranoid to ride a bus or a train. Killing members of their own families. No motive. No cause or explanation. This is the cause–the game.” (Loc 2261)

This book may be a little hard to get into in the very beginning. For me, there were a lot of names of cities and other geographical locations as well as names of new technological advances that were not explicitly explained. However, I was able to discern most of what was occurring without too much difficulty, and I believe that this actually highlights the problem that Richard Sanford is attempting to get across: People in this advanced, technological world are too isolated from each other. They have forgotten how to communicate with each other on a personal and emotional level. The way the dialogue is written reflects this idea, as it tends to jump around without indicators as to who is talking… Similar to the flow of a group chat or other social media communication, where everything is happening very quickly and the topic can change in an instant.

Checking his reflection on the plane of glass, he wondered which lines traced that history and which mapped to his current coordinates on a fault line between women… (Loc 30)

Throughout the novel, the story remains fixed on the main character Tzaro, a seismologist (aka Earthquake analyzer). I love how he is depicted throughout the book; how everything he sees is tinted by his seismologist lens, and thus he is able to see how the beauty of his girlfriend–as well as the world–mirrors the beauty of seismographic wave lines. In this new-generation of overwhelming technology, he is one of the few that are still able to connect on a personal level… And it is because of this fact that he may be able–with the help of like-minded individuals he picks up along the way–to find the source of the problem and hopefully revert its effects. Without his and others disconnectedness from technology, all would be lost.

I really enjoyed this novel as it traveled both through the Sci-Fi and the thriller/mystery realms. Not only was I attracted to learning more about the technological advances such as Phablets, the use of drones, and holograms, but I was also on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out what would happen next. The similarity of this world to our own in this day and age is chilling… Such a problem could occur here as Cyberterrorism is becoming more and more frequent and people are losing themselves within social media. As I was reading, I felt as though the fate of my own world was at stake, and I had to continue until I knew what the ending would be… Good or bad, or both.

Tzaro admired the hologram, physically perfect but literally empty. (Loc 1575)

What will the effect of social media be on our society in a hundred years or more? Will it band us together or completely isolate us from making meaningful connections to those around us? This novel sheds some light upon the issue that is plaguing our society today.

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