Cameron was born Soulless, as are all children in the Territory of Malm. Parents keep faith in the Office of Souls to make sure that their children will receive souls as soon as possible, but sometimes they have to wait months or years. And occasionally, they never get a soul at all.
This review is going to be a bit different, as I read the books in a boxed set, instead of standalone books, so the review will be of the series rather than individual sections.
Cege Smith weaves a tale of a post-apocalyptic world that has begun to knit itself back together into society. Due to a lack of souls, brought about by the mysterious "Before", all prospective parents must be chosen carefully, so that there are enough souls for each of the children. But one Soul Implantion Day, things go horribly awry.
Cameron strangely ages about 18 years in the 6 months that she, her father Malcom, Bishop, and the new Head Master of the Office of Souls Samuel, take shelter from the creatures that are created on that fateful day. As Samuel and Cameron begin to have prophetic dreams about going back out into "outside", the group prepares for the journey ahead of them.
It's a difficult escape, and an even more difficult journey across the territory to the last surviving outpost of Alanstown. There are several twists and turns during the journey, and a few defining moments to both Cameron and Samuel about what their roles will be in the coming showdown of good against evil.
While our protagonists are hiding, and then fleeing the abominations, Chim and Marius have been busy creating their monsters across the territory. Chim has been preparing for this showdown all his life, and knows exactly what needs to be done to defeat the Champion and destroy all of humanity.
The final showdown did not go at all like I thought it would. I had expected that there would be no happy ending, there never in in a situation like this, and I wasn't disapointed in that regard. But the way that it played out was quite novel and unexpected. I was very happy with this book, there were a few pacing problems in the middle, but when things started hurtling towards the conclusion, it more than made up for the boggyness.
I'd highly recommend this to people who like dystopian fiction, people who like bleak fantasy, and those who like light SciFy. I'd keep it to about 8th grade and above, I think younger children might be a little frightened by some of the scenes, and the tone is a little dark and adult. I gave it 3 and 1/2 stars because I greatly enjoyed it, but it did have the slowing in the middle. But all in all, certainly worth reading.