Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: SOULPRINT by Megan Miranda

Title: Soulprint
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: February 3, 2015
Source: an ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review.
*Any quotes were taken from an ARC and may be changed.

Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul-fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. June had accomplished the impossible: hacking into the soul-database, ruining countless lives in the process.

Now, there are whispers that June has left something behind for her next life—something that would allow Alina to access the information in the soul-database again. A way to finish the crimes she started.

Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.

Alina doesn’t know who to trust, or what June intends for her to know, and the closer she gets to the answers, the more she wonders who June was, who she is, whether she’s destined to repeat the past, whether there are truths best kept hidden—and what one life is really worth.

I actually had a surprisingly easy time getting into this one until I was interrupted and had to wait a few days to resume. Connecting with the narrator's voice is high up on my "needs to happen" list while reading. Megan Miranda succeeded. 

I love me some sci-fi and dystopian-like worlds, but I wondered if I'd be able to actually understand it all. Souls are passed on when someone dies to a newborn baby so you don't just have your parents' DNA in you, but you have someone else's soul inside of you. Alina had a tougher time since she was stuck with a criminal's soul and locked up for it. But she fought to be different than June, her soul, and wanted everyone to see that they were different. Most importantly, she wanted to be free and be herself without any stigma of June attached. 

I want to stop chasing the last life and live this one instead.

While some parts seemed to drag a bit, I was fine with it. Personally, I focused more on how "real" it seemed, just like Mockingjay became slow in parts, it was realistic. I won't even get into how people bash on Mockingjay for really no reason if they think about it, but as for Soulprint, I thought it was nicely paced. The whole book is her being on the run. On the run from different people and in a search to be free from June, but also to solve the mystery surrounding June. So with her being on the run (with the cute Cameron and his sister Casey), you're going to get high action and then slow "let's think and wait" scenes. And I honestly didn't notice too much anyways (and there IS action, plenty of it, really).

I really liked the "surprise" that happened somewhat early on in the book, but still a bit disappointed that I guessed it from the absolute get-go. I want to say more, but I think it's classified as a spoiler, so you can message me if you want to talk! 

None of the characters truly shined for me so while I didn't have that connection with any of them (sadly that includes Alina), I was invested with the plot. More specifically, I was invested in the idea of the plot. Some serious ethical questions are raised in this and, yes, just like The Hunger Games, these things can happen. Not the souls being transferred exactly, but everything that affects Alina. She's locked up for crimes she didn't do, but that her soul did. The government (or whoever, really, I never did quite understand) appeased the public by showing her once a year and giving her access to normal things (side note: another thing I didn't understand was that she had a computer. They monitored her, we all knew, but come on, she couldn't get help or code things?). But the government still hid her away and essentially stripped her of every right. 

Speaking of the government, this quote really connected with our present day, yes? 

"Who controls the power? Not the president, or congress, or people even. They're all figureheads. Puppets. Chess pieces. It's the people who are in the shadows who determine what we see and how we see it...what gets reported, what gets covered up?"

Having been in several mass communications/mass media classes where they talk about this, it was a very HEY! THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR moment for me. In my class last semester, my professor taught about how the media and the people "behind the scenes" control the power. If you don't know something, it didn't happen, right? (Anyone else thinking of our man Denton from Newsies who explained that if it's not in the papers, it didn't happen?) 

It also makes you think about life and how you need to focus on the now. People will try to remind you of the past...

"So you see," he says, "it's not just the past life that can come back to haunt you. It's the past in this life, too."

But that robs you of many great now moments. I think that you should resolve what you can of the past, but sometimes, you have to take a page out of my friend Taylor's book.

And shake it off.
I could've let the lack of character connection go, but what robbed me of giving it five stars was the fact that I was so confused. I really tried to understand in the end with what their motivation was (yes, power and money and all that jazz) and the mystery was behind it all and who was behind it was just confusing. I think I somewhat understand it now, but it involved way too much thinking on my part. Of course, this might just be me. 

Verdict: I'll be having more of Megan Miranda's writing, thank you.


  1. My first reaction went something like "WHAT? They can transplant people's SOULS?" This seems like a fascinating idea, but I worry that I won't understand everything in the plot either. And understanding is of the utmost importance to me when I read science fiction or fantasy. But the fact that the story brings up ethics like The Hunger Games does makes me want to read it. You have me so conflicted!

  2. I think what confused me the most was the lack of worldbuilding - like how the soul corresponded with DNA, and how it actually worked (what about population growth?) But otherwise I really, really liked this one. I connected better to the characters than you did, so that helped. But the plot was fast paced and exciting (I guessed the early twist too), and I liked all the different "life questions" it asked.

    Lovely review, Summer!