Book Review: A Summoning of Souls by Leanna Renee Hieber

A Summoning of Souls, the third installment in the Spectral City series, by award-winning author Leanna Renee Hieber will be released on July 21, 2020.

Continuing the story of Eve Whitby and her all-female Ghost Precinct colleagues, A Summoning of Souls finds readers once again immersed in the gas lamp version of late 19th century New York City where ghosts go about their business alongside the living, assisting Eve and her fellow mediums in solving crimes committed against both the living and the dead. Eve uses the supernatural gifts at her disposal to battle a formidable enemy with his own paranormal abilities bent on the destruction of all ghosts and willing to sacrifice the living in order to achieve his aim.

This latest book in the series followed the dark thread that began to unravel in deeper detail in the second book, A Santuary of Spirits, using the dead for the purpose of art. Despite being a little unnerving, it was utterly unique and compelling, as far dark deeds are concerned. The antagonist and his cohorts took the concept of Arte Uber Alles (“art above everything”) to disturbing depths.

I appreciated the creative premise of the story, along with Hieber’s diverse characters. Each character is uniquely strong and interesting in and of herself, to the point where I would gladly read spin-off series about each of their backstories. I particularly enjoyed the gothic Victorian-like world created by Hieber. Teens and young adult fans of paranormal romance will likely enjoy the romantic tension and evolving love story between Eve and Detective Horowitz.

My one criticism would be that some details of the writing was a bit repetitive. For example, the concept of the cost of paranormal gifts is reiterated and spelled out for the reader multiple times in each book of the series thus far. However, it was a small distraction to the otherwise fantastic world created, and the overall pace of the story still had me eagerly turning pages.

Eve had grown up quickly due to necessity. Her nineteen years of life were entirely haunted. But that didn’t mean she was inured to spectral chill or the threats brought on by certain paranormal experiences. There were things even seasoned minds and old souls should fear. The whispered phrase that distinctly emanated from the stone arch directly before her was one such thing; a recurring warning of late, from the spirit world to hers.

“Don’t let anything in!”

– From Chapter One of A Summoning of Souls by Leanna Renee Hieber

This third book in the series continues the storyline with its preexisting antagonist and leader of the group Arte Uber Alles, whose identity we discovered towards the end of the second book, A Santuary of Spirits. While it brings this story arc to a satisfying close, it leaves room for future Spectral City adventures.

Thank you to Kensington Publishing for sending me this advance reader copy (along with the entire Spectral City series) for the purpose of an impartial review.

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