Book Review: The Book of Lost Souls, Michelle Muto

What a fun, enjoyable read! I sat down to read a chapter or two and wound up finishing the whole thing in a couple hours. Michelle Muto does a fantastic job of writing us into a world that’s both believable and fantastical. Ivy and her friends live in Northwick, a magical area that serves for both Kindreds (magical beings) and Regulars (humans) who coexist peacefully within the community (well, for the most part). I loved the relationship between the two groups–Regulars put up with Kindreds because it keeps their community smoothly-run while Kindreds don’t gnaw on them and are discreet with their magic. While we don’t meet many Regulars, I appreciated that Muto wrote it out that way–we know how their world works without meeting too many characters (because there are already a bunch of great ones to remember anyways!)

We open to page 1 to immediately find magic–I love where Muto introduces us. It’s clear Ivy MacTavish, our 16 year old–well, almost 17 in the spring–protagonist, is used to a little adventure with her magic. We get to meet Shayde and Raven, Ivy’s two best friends (and a werewolf and vampire, respectively), who I really come to love as the story continues. Shayde is the level-headed, logical one, while Raven is impetuous and adventurous, making it very balanced on each side of Ivy’s shoulders. (Shayde’s also the one you want to smack you back into reality when you’re being a ridiculous teenage girl.) Anywho. We first meet Ivy, who is desperate for a date to make the popular, cute boy at school notice her. Her plan? Change a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, put him in tights, and make everyone jealous. Yeah, right! Naturally, it implodes in an epic way. The dance falls apart and Spike the lizard-turned-human, escapes dressed as Romeo.

No one is powerful enough to transform Spike the lizard back except Ivy, which sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy’s father, who left when she was seven, was involved in extremely dark magic. Ivy, who has spent her life avoiding comparisons to her father to no avail, is now faced with even bigger problems: someone is using an evil spell book to bring back history’s most dangerous killers–and Ivy’s got Book 1 of 2 from the set. A creepy, black magic tool, this book beckons to her, appealing to the dark magic within her. Ivy’s plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. The cherry on top of her supernatural sundae? Nick, the school’s hottest bad boy and resident demon, offers both help and a date for Ivy. She must figure out whom to trust and how to save herself and her town before the week’s up. Oh, and turn that damn Romeo back into a lizard plus figure out her boy situation. There’s a bit on her plate, but the best laid plans turned hijinks make for excellent giggles for the readers.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I think Muto really did a great job of saving the story from becoming too cute or where it felt too young for me. There were hilarious moments between the group chasing Spike the lizard-turned-man and the mischievous hijinks that ensue around Ivy, but Muto helped keep it grounded when Ivy is reminded of the pain over her father leaving her family. Having that bit of reality in Ivy’s life, I think, grounds her into a believable character. Ivy is also spunky and clever; she uses a few tricks on Tara, her nemesis, which I wish I could do in real life to some people I know 😉

Her group of friends is fantastic. She’s got vampires and werewolves for best friends (who truly look out for her and would never dream of betrayal) and her love interest (well, one of them anyways) is a demon. The scenes between Nick and Ivy were great–believable, frustrating, and to the point where I wanted to hop in the story and tell them both that they’re dummies and need to kiss and make up! I loved Nick’s cool demeanor, yet Muto does a great job of showing his vulnerabilities as well as his emotions toward Ivy.

I will note that Muto writes this book as “An Ivy MacTavish novel, Book 1” which means there is at least one (but hopefully several) more books to come for our young protaganist and her group of misfit friends. We have a pretty open ending that, if Muto chooses, should reveal more of Ivy’s father and his past, Ivy’s future, as well as any shenanigans that are bound to entertain. I can’t wait to get my copy!

You can buy your own copy of The Book of Lost Souls on Amazon here.

Michelle Muto fans, check back here on Wednesday and Friday of this week to check out Muto’s author interviews!

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