Book Review: A Density of Souls.

Book 6: A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice.

Before I begin to outline the book, or pass judgement on its contents, I think it’s important to note that Christopher is not Anne Rice. He doesn’t write reams of descriptions like his mother, he limits the exposure to the supernatural (or at least he does in this book), and he is writing Gothic fiction about children.

That being said, he still explores the human psyche, the darkness within humanity, the monsters that lurk within society and how they can be well hidden amongst the innocent and unsuspecting.

A density of souls is Christopher’s first novel, exploring sexuality, the issues faced by teens, murder, separation, friendship, fear, religion, mental health and suicide. It really is an incredibly dark book hitting on smashing his way through very sensitive issues. However, the fact that everything is spoken of so candidly leaves plenty of time for reflection and debate. Each character faces several issues and you follow them from their early teens, into their twenties to see how they have developed.

This book isn’t for the faint of heart: there are many references to the above list, as well as descriptions of sex (mostly homosexual) and torture. If you choose to read it, you must do so with an open mind as, at times, these can become very frequent. Violence is certainly something that runs through the books core.

Upon reading the book, as well as a brief bio of the author, I can’t help but think much of what is discussed is based on his own experiences of exploring his sexuality, his feelings of isolation and victimisation, and friendships being tested. The writing style itself is very basic and makes me think that, despite the content, it is aimed more at the young adult in terms of casual speech and the life and times of a troubled teen.

There are several points where I found the narrative irritating: the constant jumping between characters became disorientating, unnecessary repetition of thoughts also being followed by similar ideas within the dialogue and, in some instances, quite juvenile-seeming descriptions of sex. These may have all been intentional but I found them quite jarring.

On the whole though, I actually found this a riviting book to read with its brave use of taboo topics, discussions and open meandering through the characters experiences and thoughts. I’m intrigued as to what his other books are about…

Book seven: The Poison Principle by Gail Bell.



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4 responses to “Book Review: A Density of Souls.

  1. Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People

    This is a great reading adventure you’ve challenged yourself with this year!


    • Thanks 😀 I love reading as it is so it makes sense to give myself a big challenge that I want to achieve even if it means taking a week off work in the last week of the year to hammer a bunch more books. lol. Have you joined any books challenges?

      • Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People

        I belong to one reading group that meets once a month, but they always tease me about the fact that no matter what is chosen ahead of time I’ve always read at least 75% of the choices already.

        {Laugh} my challenge is to not read so much that I that I can’t get my work done. When I still had my day job and started writing part-time, I jokingly said I started my freelance business to pay for my reading habit. Now that I write full-time and I’m my own boss, I find I just read that much more, with the justification that it helps me be a better writer. It does of course, but if I had to give up one of these wonderful addictions, reading would always win hands-down. Just please don’t mention the word books around my husband. He’s determined that one day he’s just going to put a used bookstore sign on the front lawn, and be immediately ready for business.

        Not a chance!

  2. Fabulous! My mum has always said I could open a library… I love that you’ve been able to read so much – I envy you! It certainly does help though. Unless you’re reading period but writing contemporary – that just gets confusing. lol

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