Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion of the book.
I’m not a fan of *most* fantasy books, so I headed into Terri Rochenski’s Eye of the Soul with some reservation and a slight hesitation. To begin, I kind of thought my reservations might be justified, but the more I read on, the more I changed my mind.
In this first book in Rochenski’s Pool of Souls trilogy, we are taken on Hyla’s journey. Hyla is part of a race of people, ones with abilities that set them apart to others, and as the only one of her village to escape capture by the more monetarily powerful people who take them, Hyla finds herself on a journey she hopes will save them. Luckily for her, she doesn’t end up having to do so alone. Because a chance meeting with the King’s fierce warrior, Jaden, lands her a companion, and possibly a protector, and meeting Jaden leads to her inadvertently meeting his best friend Conlin. And the reader automatically goes from hoping something romantic will happen between Hyla and Jadon, to watching with intrigue the subtle shift in her behaviour toward Conlin. This development has left me hoping they will finally get to meet in the next book (though, I guess the author might keep us waiting until the third), because the romance is so subtly and sweetly done, I can imagine it will be exactly that, intermingled with even more of their personalities, once we’re actually given the goods. These three are definitely the driving force of this story—or they were for me, at least—and they were a pleasure to spend time alongside.
Now, as for those reservations I mentioned in my opening, let me just try to explain, and then to nullify. You see, whilst the opening draws you in, and does a great job of ensuring you connect with Hyla enough to want to spend more time with her, there are moments within the book where you might feel it’s getting repetitive. All I can say is: hang in there, and open those eyes of yours a little wider, because there’s so much more going on beneath the surface; so much more that isn’t said; you’ve just got to be receptive enough to figure it out for yourself. Because Hyla does a LOT of travelling in order to reach the Pool of Souls. At first glance, it appears that not much is occurring during those travelling chapters. However, the development isn’t about kick-butt action scenes and epic battle after epic battle; it’s about the journey of Hyla’s growth as a character. And that is, I have to say, extremely well done.
And then, when Hyla reaches the Pool? Man, that was when it hit me—just how spiritual this book truly is. The depths to which the reader can connect within this scene is amazing, if they just allow themselves to. Me? I cried like a baby. And, oddly enough, felt refreshed for having sheds those tears. That is how deeply this book, in its entirety, affected me. So, really, give it a go. I can see myself wanting this trilogy in its entirety, just so I can sit down and read these back to back—because that, I imagine, will be an experience in and of itself. Even those of you who love the action and sexual tension, and convoluted characters with shadows on their souls—shove down those barriers and let this book into your heart. Because in the readers heart is where Eye of the Soul truly belongs.