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October 8, 2020

Soulless Series by Kathryn Horsley ~ a Review

by MK French



What could be better for Halloween reading than a book about vampires? Binge-reading the first 3 books in a 5 book series. If you are looking for something to get you in the Halloween mood, then pick up the Soulless series.
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Windows of the Soulless by Kathryn Horsley

Windows of the Soulless
November 2012; Vendera Publishing;978-1936307289
ebook, print (202 pages); horror
Nicolas Rider struggles to balance his former life as a human with his current one as a vampire. He has a best friend to protect, a vampiric rival to bicker with, werewolves and nomadic vampires to battle, and the one vampire he shouldn’t fall in love with but does.

The vampires here gather together in “family” units to hide in plain sight in World War II Germany, though Nicolas was turned into a vampire in the fourteenth century. That certainly explains his flowery language or dramatic nature, which is evident from page 1. The story is told in first person, and we see how he tries to justify his actions. He isn’t cruel as the “mother” of the “family,” and he tries to avoid drawing the ire of werewolves that once hunted down vampires. His best friend is his “sister,” and his rival is the “brother” that he bickers with. It’s the kind of petty arguments that come with familiarity, picking on language and habits that they know too well. Claire was turned recently, and can’t handle the bloodlust; the fear that the entire family has is that a physical relationship with Nicolas would make her lose control and expose them to humans.

If you read a lot of vampire novels, you’re familiar with the tropes at work. They’re at work here, as well as the burning thirst that drives Claire to lose control and kill the humans she is supposed to slowly feed from, known as “sheep.” With as much stress as Marcella puts on having them around, we know something bad is going to happen. Likewise, the concern about Claire going into bloodlust and not being able to control herself also means we know something is going to happen with that as well; it’s fairly devastating when it does. Given it’s World War II, we do have scenes with war and Nazis, and there are torture scenes in the second half of the novel after the day to day routine of the first half are done. It’s a stark difference, and I was drawn into the drama and stress of the second half. Nicolas survives, and some of his worldview has changed.


Without Shadows by Kathryn Horsley

Without Shadows
May 2014; Vendera Publishing; 978-1936307333
ebook, print (272 pages); horror
By avoiding his feelings for another vampire, Nicolas delves deeper into the human world. Unfortunately, this attracts the interest of werewolves. To protect those he cares about, he will have to embrace his vampiric nature.

Nicolas and his family are in Alaska, where he works at a hospital. I enjoy the reactions he has with children, but he is still fairly self-absorbed and still hates dealing with Luther. They bicker all the time, and it’s annoying how often they still try to set each other off. Nick tries dating a human, which was a little endearing to read, and he actually cares about people more in this one. I liked seeing that side of him, and how his friendships from the 40’s with Tara the werewolf continued. An additional wrinkle is the reemergence of the vampire that made him and killed his fiancĂ©e, which likely is the main reason why he clings to humanity so much.

In the beginning, this seems to be another day in the life kind of novel, as the fighting is limited to werewolf and vampire bar fights and back alleys. There are some weird situations as it progresses, as Nicolas is affected by drugs and alcohol when vampires aren't supposed to be. When he finds out that the vampires he trusted most had lied to him, he takes off. There's a cliffhanger sense to the end of this novel, even though it isn't an actual hanging end. As the central character, it's obvious that he survives, but it ends with his decision to upend everything. 

Buy Without Shadows at Amazon

Silhouettes in the Moon by Kathryn Horsley

Silhouettes in the Moon
May 2020; Vendera Publishing; 978-1936307524
ebook, print (254 pages); horror
After being betrayed, Nicolas finds his way back to his former vampire family in the 1990s. Werewolves had been exposed, but they’re still a danger to him. There are also new dangers to contend with, and there will be a price to pay for his selfishness.

Nicolas is still caught up in his own pleasures and remains isolated from other vampires. Even though he had considered Yen to be selfish (which is saying something, given his own tendencies), she was with him in London. I was surprised to see her there. I was also surprised by how easily he caved in and called his former family. We met two rogue vampires in book one, but where are they now? Why wouldn't Nicolas have met any in London? That bothers me because a large city can support a few, and it would've been interesting to see how different groups interact and force Nicolas to change in the eighteen years since the last book.

The vampires we do meet now are interesting, though. New powers, new mythology, and a heavy dose of creepy thrown in for flavoring. We see enough to know that they're powerful and the nearly six-hundred-year-old Nicolas is no match for them. Most of his time is spent pretending to be human because he's in love with Krista, a werewolf in the local pack. Though the pack would kill him if they knew the truth about him, he still skirts danger by being a lovestruck man. That part is endearing, actually. Luther even knows that he isn't as mean or belittling as he used to be. That doesn't mean that he isn't able to slaughter humans, werewolves, or rogue vampires if he has to, which he can do with clinical efficiency. 

The novel ends with a lot of drama and tension between the werewolf pack and the vampires before it ends. Once again, it's something of a cliffhanger that is the hook for the next novel, which isn't out yet. It raises questions that hopefully will be answered but also has an unfinished feel to it.

Buy Silhouettes in the Moon at Amazon 

Of additional note is that there is a main character blog at https://www.thesoullessseries.com for interested readers. It’s a five book series, so there are still two more to look forward to in closing out Nicolas’ story.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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2 comments:

  1. what a great idea. vampires during world war II sounds fantastic
    sherry @ fundinmental

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing, this sounds an interesting series!

    ReplyDelete

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