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Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: August 4th, 2020

384 Pages

Synopsis: For readers of Nova Ren Suma, Maggie Steifvater, and Maureen Johnson comes a spellbinding tale of choosing your own path, the families we create for ourselves, and facing the ghosts of our pasts.

In the town of St. Hilaire, most make their living by talking to the dead. In the summer the town gates open to tourists seeking answers while all activity is controlled by The Guild, a sinister ruling body that sees everything.

Dec Hampton has lived there his entire life, but ever since his parents died, he’s been done with it. He knows he has to leave before anyone has a chance to stop him.

His best friend Russ won’t be surprised when Dec leaves—but he will be heartbroken. Russ is a good medium, maybe even a great one. He’s made sacrifices for his gift and will do whatever he can to gain entry to The Guild, even embracing dark forces and contacting the most elusive ghost in town.

But when the train of Annie Krylova, the piano prodigy whose music has been Dec’s main source of solace, breaks down outside of town, it sets of an unexpected chain of events. And in St. Hilaire there are no such thing as coincidences.

I was so excited when I saw the gorgeous cover and read the premise of Prelude For Lost Souls. And you know what? It wasn’t bad. However, I wasn’t blown away by it like I thought I would be.

This is a unique, and quite imaginative plot driven story, which I really appreciated. I swear it’s getting more and more difficult to find a book out there that doesn’t contain at least some elements that remind you of a previous one. Rest assured, that’s definitely not the case here. For those of you familiar with Lily Dale, the real hamlet made up of mediums and spiritualists in south western New York, it served as the author’s inspiration. St. Hilaire however is quite a bit darker and has some strong fascist overtones. There is definitely something underhanded going on in terms of The Guild, and there’s not a lot revealed in this first book, so I’m looking forward to what comes next.

The weakest part of the book lies in its characters. Anna and Dec both have what should have been fascinating backstories, but they and the dialogue between them come across as rather flat, which makes it difficult to connect with them. The saving grace though is Dec’s best friend Russ, who also gets his own chapters. I absolutely LOVED him! All the emotions and passion I was looking for in Dec and Anna poured out of Russ’s pages.

The middle of the book slows down a bit before picking up toward the end, which perfectly sets things up for the sequel. All in all, while not perfect, Prelude For Lost Souls, has me hooked, and I’m eagerly looking forward to revisiting St. Hilaire and its secrets.