Friday, January 10, 2014

EM's Review and Interview: Soul Stealer by Sam Richardson

About the Book

By crawling into a crack in the wall, Barney and his older sister Eve, unwittingly volunteer to save the Universe. According to Eve, Barney is like every other twelve year old boy, “Irritating by nature.” He’s impulsive, frequently gross and has the uncanny ability to wind her up with just one word. She isn't sure what’s worse; to be told they have to save the universe before it implodes, or the knowledge that Barney will be her constant companion. How many farts can one girl endure before she loses her sense of smell? 

Barney loves adventure, but he never imagined he’d get to be the hero, or that his fantasy would include his uptight sister. He soon learns that if they accept their mission, they could die. If they don’t, they’ll definitely die. To top if off, he discovers they volunteered for the job. 

In order to save the Universe, Barney and Eve must hunt and capture a magical band of thieves, before they steal the Souls of any more worlds. On their amazing adventure Barney nearly soils his underpants on a wild ride on a giant eel, and Eve narrowly avoids death by giant flying scorpions. Both must endure a feast of eyeballs and other gelatinous delicacies, escape the clutches of an undead child, and still stay on the trail of the evil thieves. 

Interview with Sam Richardson

EM: Tell us a little about yourself and why you wrote Soul Stealer!

Sam: Well, I'm a British mum currently living in Germany. Over the last few years we've also lived in Amsterdam and Toronto (and of course England!). I have to say, Germany has been the hardest move, the language is not easy and the people are pretty blunt. But they do make a good bratwurst! Soul Stealer popped into existence on a snowy morning in Amsterdam, when looking out my window one day, I saw a little crack in the garden wall and my imagination went crazy! Over the next couple of years I became totally immersed in creating this fun and wild adventure. It was a constant environment I could dip into where-ever I was in the world. 

EM: I just love how the most mundane of things can spark an idea. Tell us some about your main characters. I know you have inspiration for them from somewhere!

Sam: Originally I based the characters on exaggerated versions of what I imagined my own children might become. My two real life little monkeys are in fact called Eve and Barney! But gradually the fictional characters took on a life of their own and became totally separate from the originals - which is why I often forget where they originated! It was still important to me to have the siblings work together and always look out for each other throughout their adventure, despite their differences. 

EM: I was very pleased with how the relationship between Eve and Barney developed in the story. I liked how they protected each other. As a parent, I like to see the books my children read teach them something about the real world, even if it's science fiction or fantasy. What else can Soul Stealer teach readers? (I think only parents will be reading this, so you're safe!)

Sam: I would hope the book teaches that it's okay to be scared sometimes, crying is not a sign of weakness it's often just part of the healing process. Eve and Barney have to cope with some scary situations, each of which gradually make them stronger as individuals and as a team. I also think the ability to laugh at yourself and not take silly things too seriously is very important.  Hopefully I have shown this throughout the book. At the end of the day I wanted to create a good old fashioned adventure! 

EM:I think you did exactly what you set out to do! Now, the big question that will be on young readers' minds soon enough...Will Barney and Eve be headed on any more adventures in the near future?

Sam: I think they're getting itchy feel already! Although adventures of this magnitude take preparation, and I wouldn't want Eve and Barney to be unprepared! definitely in the pipeline though! I also welcome any thoughts as to where readers might want to see Eve and Barney go next. 

EM: I think readers will be excited to hear this!  Is there anything else you would have parents of middle grade readers, or the readers themselves know? 

Sam: I'd love to leave you with something thought provoking, but nope! Read and enjoy! 

EM: HAHA!  Thanks, Sam, for chatting with me, and good luck with Soul Stealer! It's an amazing book!

My Review

Soul Stealer is an AWESOME book!  I don't normally read middle grade know...I'm not a middle grader. But even adults will enjoy this action packed story. Many times Ms. Richardson will leave you on the edge of your seat. But even more than that, the author's imagination captured me. She has created a world...nay, worlds that are so fantastic and eloquently described you will be thinking about them long after the book is over.

My only complaint is that there isn't another adventure for Barney and Eve to go on yet! I think the length is perfect for MG though. I would caution parents of very sensitive children that there are some themes of death and loss in Soul Stealer as well as some pretty intense scenes with Zombie like creatures. I think it would be fine for most though. There is lots of potty humor and I think a "bloody hell" or two. You'll be happy to know it's innuendo free though!

Overall, I can't praise this book enough. You'll enjoy it!  Your kids will certainly enjoy it! It's just a fun, exciting, adventure. 

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