Boy meets girl, girl loves boy, boy uses his mystical Pan powers to overcome an evil half-elf’s plot to kill girl and helps her return to her natural state as an Elvin princess. That’s how the story goes, right? At least it is in Candace Beck Moesta’s latest novel, Soul Shift. An intricate story tracing the lives of mystical creatures in classical fantasy worlds, Soul Shift puts a new twist on traditional science fiction as its characters wind in and out of their ornate mystical realms and our modern day human world. The very language of the book, proper and formal similar to the dialog in a Lord of the Rings movie, paints the familiar image of a classic fairy-tale while remaining set in today’s modern time.
Speaking of the plot, the storyline is separated into three main sections, each with a new kink for the protagonist Claire. Her fate is tied to a spiteful half-elf with a Napoleon complex named Ayyn. He is nasty and seeks power and immortality at all costs, including rape, murder and as many spells as his evil little heart desires. Claire’s background is equally troubling. Her parents were neglectful, admittedly favoring her late brother over her. Claire herself is not a human at all, but a kidnapped Elvin princess. Her teenage-girl side shows when she falls in love with her magical forest guardian.
Though the novel is entertaining and enchanting, a few of its concepts and details could prove to be a bit controversial and dampen the whole magical-elf-world experience. Murder, torture and rape are obvious themes of the book. A few events are particularly disturbing—like Claire’s pretend father’s attempted rape on his supposed-to-be daughter. Also, a romantic sibling relationship and an overwhelmingly patriarchal society add to potential problems for prospective readers.
However, the issues of the novel are largely influenced by its targeted approach. Soul Shift is supposed to be an old-fashioned fairy tale with modern day twists. Therefore, it is not surprising to see events and societal structures that are native to the old-world in which the story draws its roots.
In all, Soul Shift is a marvelous adventure recommended for any fan of science-fiction or fantasy. It explores unique issues in a new light, and breaks traditional barriers in the world of modern fiction. Dangerous love, magic galore and fierce combat; what more could a reader ask for?