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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Anne

Suzie Anne's Book Recommendations: The Soul Mark Duology


The Soul Mark Duology Graphic

Once in a great while, I'll come across a book or series I can't stop thinking about. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis was the first one where that happened, and The Soul Mark Duology is the latest. The world Fischer created is rich with history, religion, and compelling characters, and the dangerous tropical island is the perfect setting. The deep questioning and searching for answers, though, are the heart of the duology and feed the soul.

When the Lot takes Sela's older sister away to the prison island Azazel, it steals the joy from her family as well. Six years later, Sela is questioning the Lot, the Carver, and the priests and Righteous who claim a person's soul can be removed in payment for others' sins. After accidentally killing a man who attempted to assault her, Sela is branded with the soul mark—a sign she is now soulless—and sent to Azazel. Unsure of how to navigate the depravity of an island inhabited by criminals and harsh guards, Sela's one goal is to find her sister.

Caleb Alexander, cousin of the man Sela killed and younger brother to a man who was spared by the Lot that took her sister, is a member of the Righteous. Trained to join the order from a young age, Caleb has one last task to complete before his position as an honored and high-ranking member is secure: complete a year on Azazel as an overseer. But when Caleb is confronted with the conditions on Azazel—and his own heart—he begins to question whether the Righteous' interpretation of The Book of Souls is correct.

Fischer does an incredible job of weaving the story together, and the characters and their questions and struggles are so well written they seem plucked from the pages of a journal, not her imagination. The cast of supporting characters are diverse and unique, a natural part of the story's fabric, and the brief POVs from two of Sela's siblings and another character complement the theme and enrich it in ways Sela and Caleb's characters couldn't.

This duology reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia, especially The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but for an older audience of those who have experienced the harsh realities of life and are left with painful questions and broken longings. Both books are worthy additions to my list of excellent books—books that not only take you deeper in life, but carry the weight of eternity.


Click here to visit J.J. Fischer's website.

Click here to view the duology on Amazon.

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