The first book in the Life After trilogy is apparently one of those books where the results – or the sequels, per say – could be either good or bad...
The concept is fantastic – I particularly loved the idea of the dead collecting souls and guiding them to the After after death (note: that was not a mistake – After is a place). While the general concept does sound a little similar to Ephemeral, there's really not enough to deem it a complete carbon copy. Duncan gives the idea with her own twist in having Maggie being stuck in a mean girl's body while looking for a True Soul and having time running against her as the others search for Ally's missing soul.
The world building is as equally fantastic as the concept – it's obvious that Duncan is quite thorough, complete, and detailed with developing the After as the author introduces us to Maggie's life from early on in the book, from the different roles to how they all worked to even the possibility of reincarnation.
Duncan's writing, however, did feel a little awkward at times throughout the process of reading Soul Taken. Some sentences didn't seem to flow along together seamlessly, and made the reading a little bumpy. Apparently the inner editor in me questioned a few things.
The formatting is also a little odd. Though it's similar to the problem I had while reading Fire and Shadow (that was a horrendous ride), I don't really have as much as a problem as there's an eenie weenie break between paragraphs and not looking as though words were bumping words (or so close to it, you couldn't even tell there's a break). Not to stress anything, but I honestly didn't notice the little break when I eFlipped to the very first page. Massive panic was involved for a few seconds.
But much kudos to Katlyn Duncan on her characters – they were highly intriguing. Maggie's visions of her past is perhaps one of the things that kept me reading the story and turning the pages without noticing that Maggie spent most of her time in Ally's body doing a little stressing out over the amount of time getting shorter each day the Guards couldn't find Ally's soul. A few of the characters were also highly unpredictable until the end – a character well played, Katlyn Duncan. Well played. I definitely didn't see that coming (a rarity, so I'm doing a happy dance). ^_^
The ending... what can I say about the ending without giving spoilers away? Simply put, a character's exit was quite... pitiful. I say pitiful because three seconds after I literally praised the author (mentally) on a job well done, one of those characters makes a flail-worthy exit (along with the villains). The victory seemed a little too easy and I'm half afraid to pick up the other two books in the trilogy because the very end of the entire trilogy may be similar to the one in Ever After (a happy one). Not that I actually mind a happy ending for all of the characters, but I do love it when the villain(s) makes a jaw-dropping exit that makes you question what just happened.
Soul Taken was a highly enjoyable read, a book that is perfectly paced with intricate and surprising characters thrown into complex situations even after death.