September 1, 2014 by mmileti
It is not often that a novel has me completely hooked from the first page, but Eliza Crewe’s distinct writing style and wonderfully strange antihero narrator kept me turning the pages of Cracked until I had read most of it in one sitting. Cracked is the first novel in the Soul Eaters trilogy, and was originally picked up by the publisher Strange Chemistry. Unfortunately, after publishing Cracked, Strange Chemistry went out of business, and Crewe’s fans have been waiting patiently ever since to see if the rest of the series would get published. I am happy to announce that Crewe has decided to self publish Crushed, the next novel in the series, and it should be happening some time in the next few weeks. Avid Reviews will be participating in the blog tour for Crushed, so more information will be available about the book soon.
Cracked is the story of Meda, a teenage girl who must eat souls in order to survive. She also happens to have superhuman strength and reflexes, frequently hangs out with ghosts, and is virtually indestructible. Her entire life Meda has believed she is the only one of her kind, but her world is suddenly turned upside down when her mother dies and she ventures out on her own. She comes across three men who have the same powers as her, and instead of helping Meda finally figure out what she is, they try to kill her. Since her own kind will not answer her questions, she instead decides to infiltrate a newly discovered enemy: a secret society of people whose lives are dedicated to killing people like Meda. But the more Meda learns, the more things get worse, and her hunger for souls is growing stronger by the day.
I have always enjoyed stories that have a morally ambiguous protagonist, but I have never come across one that is quite as fun as Meda. She has an incredibly sarcastic sense of humor, and the entire novel is saturated with her caustic wit. Crewe balances the darkness of the subject of the plot with this humor, and I admit I laughed out loud several times while reading. Despite the presence of a “villain” protagonist, Cracked is an enjoyable and fast paced story that will engage the reader from start to finish. It is refreshing to come across a dark novel that is also incredibly fun.
Crewe gives Meda a certain depth of character that is not always present in a YA novel. Over time it becomes obvious to the reader that Meda’s sardonic humor is actually a shield against an internal struggle over her morality. She also blocks out the pieces of her past that are the most horrifying, and attempts to embrace a darkness in herself that is only a small portion of the person she has become. Meda is also a very perceptive character, and Crewe uses this element of her personality to give the reader insight into the novel’s secondary characters. I would have liked it if the novel’s plot also displayed this depth, but for the most part the rapid pacing made up for this lack. I also adored the imaginative details that Crewe slipped into the story, and even though the book was an easy read, Crewe’s attention to small details left a lasting impression on me.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys an antihero, dark humor, and an incredibly fun plot line. Cracked is an easy and exciting read, and I cannot wait to read the next novel in the Soul Eaters trilogy. It has been a long time since I laughed out loud so much when reading, and I still am surprised at how quickly the story had me hooked. Eliza Crewe is definitely on my list of authors to watch.
My rating: 8/10