Review: Broken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore

August 17, 2014 2 stars, Book Review 14 ★★

Review: Broken Souls by Stephen BlackmooreBroken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore
Series: Eric Carter #2
Published by DAW on August 5, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 264
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
My Reviews in this series: Dead Things & Broken Souls

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

When necromancer Eric Carter returned to Los Angeles after fifteen years on the run he knew things were bad, but he never imagined how bad they could get. Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte.

And things are just getting worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he’s not sure how far it will go. He’s starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he’s losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte’s hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone’s form, powers and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but the guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game, go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row Bruja and a ghost who’s either his dead friend Alex or Carter’s own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

If things go right, he just might survive a week where everything is trying to kill him and nothing is as it seems.


Broken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore was okay. It is second in series after Dead Things. I don’t really have much to say about them, because they ticked lots of boxes in a mediocre sort of way. It is urban fantasy, and our main character Eric Carter is a necromancer with a responsibility complex and not a lot of intelligence. He left his hometown of LA in order to protect his friends and family and when he went back after his sister was murdered anyway, we learned that he was just avoiding responsibility for taking care of them. He made it sound all dramatic, as if they would be killed if he stepped foot in town because of a mafia boss. He went back to town, and things did go poorly, but not because he was there… but because he had been gone and hadn’t bothered to check in at all the whole time. You would think that the mega skills he gained as a necromancer assassin would leave him well prepared to fight against the baddies, but he is pretty mediocre at that as well. The only reason he wins is because he is forced to tap into his abilities deeper than he thought possible. See? Stupid. It is a horrible way to move plot forward, always stretching to bigger magic and bigger fights. It gets boring.

His humor is more on the cynical/bitter side of the spectrum and this also affected my enjoyment of the story. He has a huge “everyone is out to get me” kinda vibe, all the time. It is very tiring. He is also angry and vengeful. His love interest has moved on after he left her in LA and never called, and he has the temerity to be surprised. He still loves her and wants to be with her. GAG. The interesting part is that the deities we encounter are Mexican. That is refreshing and fun. Even if I am unable to pronounce the names. Try saying Mictlantecuhtli three times fast.

I am passing Dead Things and Broken Soul off to my husband with a description of “Dresden files with a necromancer and no humor.”  We’ll see what he thinks.


When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

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14 Responses to “Review: Broken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore”

  1. Melliane

    Oh no that’s sad that this one wasn’t that good, I was intrigued and was curious after reading nice things about the first one…

  2. Molly Mortensen

    haha nice review! I hate it when they make the main character a wimp, especially when they set him up as someone who kicks butt! Thanks for warning me about this one. Good luck on your next read.
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Between By Megan WhitmerMy Profile

  3. Maggie's Husband

    Maggie must have been in a bad mood when she reviewed this book. Maybe it was “that time of the month.” Maybe she was just feeling extra cynical.

    These books, while feeling derivative of the dresden files series, are good. It’s a new twist on magic, some interesting characters and exactly what I’d want from a pulp novel. Two of the best things about this book are 1. It fits easily in your pocket. 2. It can be consumed in a weekend and provides a nice escape to delve into.

    Maggie forgets that Harry Dresden is also delving to new depths in magic as the series progresses. He was the Summer Knight for cryinoutloud. Blackmore just hits a little harder with the progression.

    I like that the author uses some of the same plot devices that we saw in “American Gods” I think it’ll give him a lot of options to develop other stories. It’s also interesting seeing the focus on the aztec pantheon with other systems (Djinn, Demons, ghosts) as supporting characters.

    TL;DR Don’t listen to Maggie, Pick this book up from a friend or a used book store and enjoy it for what it’s worth. (I wouldn’t pay more than about $5 for this book)