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BOOK REVIEW : SOUL RIDERS (#1) – JORVIK CALLING BY HELENA DAHLGREN, STAR STABLE ENTERTAINMENT AB

Soul riders- Jorvik calling by Helena Dahlgren

TITLE : Soul Riders – Jorvik Calling

AUTHOR : Helena Dahlgren

GENRE : Middle-grade, Fantasy

FR RATING : 4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Step into the universe of the massively popular online MMORPG game Star Stable, and follow four friends who discover their magic powers and learn that every girl can be a hero in this fantasy trilogy.

Soul Riders tells the heroic tale of four young girls who have been chosen by destiny to save the world from the ancient demon: Garnok and his band of dangerous Dark Riders. Lisa is a teenage girl who is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of her mother in a riding accident and has sworn never to go near a horse again until she met Starshine, a mysterious blue-maned steed who comes to her in dreams. New on the island of Jorvik, Lisa befriends Alex, Linda, and Anne. Under the guidance of mystical druids, they discover they each have a special bond to their horses that gives them magical powers. While trying to balance school, family, and friendships they have to figure out what it means to be a Soul Rider. They are attacked by the Dark Riders and the mysterious Mr. Sands discover that their horses are in danger. Instead of relying on their combined strength, they decide to split up on their quest to find answers and learn to fight back against their enemies. However, will it be too late before they realize their mistake?

Jorvik Calling is the first installment in the epic, fantasy trilogy, Soul Riders, about magic, friendship, and horses bound to thrill all young equestrian fans. 

FR RATING

DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Star Stable Entertainment AB for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Soul Riders – Jorvik Calling is based off on the massively popular online video game from the universe of MMORPG game Star Stable. The middle-grade epic fantasy is set in the magical island of Jorvik full of lush landscape and picturesque beauty. Jorvik is famous for its natural beauty and resources. The island is also known for its rare breed of horses with ancient roots. There are stories of magic and mythical creatures surrounding the history of the island.

The book is an engaging read with a beautiful ambiance and atmospheric setting gives the reader a magical vibe to the story. Jorvik Calling is the first installment to the epic fantasy trilogy focusing on friendships, and special bonds with horses. Horses and the girls are the main focus of the book. Their special bonds with their rare breeds of horses will appeal to the young readers. The girls are in their teens who are struggling with the various situations in their life. The only solace in their life and source of contentment in their lives is riding and the time they spent with their horses. The girls Lisa, Linda, Alex, and Anne are brought together by their love for their steeds and their time spent at Jorvik Stables.

The horses’ Meteor, Tin-Can, Starshine, and Concorde are all rare breed of horses whose ancestry can be traced back to ancient times. They are all bound together by magic and their bond with their riders will be the reason for the magic that will come into existence. The girls have magical abilities and their bond with their horses will help them channel their magic. The history of the island talks about the Goddess Aideen who was the first person on the island and how she brought light and life to the island and saved it from the dark evil demon Garnok.

Garnok and his followers are rounding up generals to keep the lightness of Aideen spread over the Island. The girls and their growing bonds of sisterhood and friendship will fulfill a prophecy. Garnok and his followers will stop at nothing to destroy the chance of fulfillment of the prophecy.

Lisa is a typical teen, having lost her mother she finds herself withdrawing from people. Her relationship with her father is fractured and forced. Both of them miss her mother and makes it impossible for them to move forward. Lisa and her dad move to Jorvik because of her dad’s new job.

Alex is fun, energetic, bubbly and impulsive. She has a playful side to her and her horse Tin-Can also has a similar personality. They are best friends.

Anne is the perfect girl and the picture-perfect teen. Her and Concorde like the other girls and their horses have a great relationship. She rides for competitions. She struggles with her outward identity and has difficulties making new friends.

Linda is the resident nerd and walking Wikipedia of the group. She is smart and quiet. Her parents left her in Jorvik under the care of her aunt. Her life is all about her cat Misty and her horse Meteor.

All the girls possess magical abilities which can be enhanced by the proximity to their horses. They figure out the history of Jorvik and realize that they are the Soul Riders divined to protect Jorvik from the grasps of Garnok. There are Evil people who attack them and puts obstacles in their journey.

The four teenagers are coming to terms with their magic, their special connection with their horses and find themselves forming friendships through their mutual love for their steeds. They have to face some unsavory characters and their plan to destroy their star breeds in order to prevent the Soul Riders from fulfilling the prophecy of protecting the island. Life takes them through some difficult circumstances while testing their strengths and powers. Will the girls be able to fulfill the prophecy or are they doomed to fail? Can they work together as a team? Will they be able to trust the fragile friendship?

The story was fascinating and engaging. I did not know there was a video game for the series. SO that was interesting to know. It is a great start to the series with interesting world-building.

I feel the magic system has yet to be fully formed and we get the basic idea of their powers in this book. I am hoping the world will be expanded on and we get to see some action and more magic in the next book. The magic system is just introduced and I have no idea of their limitations or the extent of their power.

The plot and history, the lore all add to the world-building remarkably. The characters could have been more developed and the dialogues in some cases felt unnatural for me. Other than that the book is an excellent starting point leaving the readers with a cliff-hanger at the end. I gave the book 4.5 stars and highly recommend checking it out. If you love magic, adventure, sisterhood and female heroine-centric fantasy with a special connection to the awesome magical breed of horses, then this book will be perfect for you.

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