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Dark Souls: A Novel by Paula Morris
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Dark Souls: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Paula Morris

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3202063,844 (3.79)9
Dark Souls is the second book that I’ve read and enjoyed by Paula Morris. I had been eyeing this book for a quite some time, and I was so very excited to be able to read and review the book. I haven’t read many ghost stories; and I found this one to be a very interesting read.
The main character in the story is Miranda. I found her to be a very likeable character. She was far from perfect; she has issues and is a bit of an introvert. I was able to connect with her character, because I am the same way. Her and her brother, Rob, who also had issues, go through a very traumatic event early in the book. This event deeply affects each of them, but each in a different way. While in York, Miranda meets Nick. I’m still on the fence about Nick. He was a very troubled soul. I didn’t really connect with him, but I think it was because we really didn’t see him enough in the book. I did find myself feeling a bit bad for him towards the end of the book.

I enjoyed the setting in the book very much. I thought the author did a good job in describing York and the places in it. All of the background information about the town was very interesting as well, and I was very glad the author included it in the book. It made the setting feel more real to me. The plot was very intriguing, and the writing was easy to follow. The book had me guessing in quite a few areas.

Overall, this was a really interesting, quick read that I really enjoyed! I am definitely looking forward to reading more books by Ms. Morris, she’s a great storyteller.

Happy Reading!
  TheReaderBee | Jul 31, 2011 |
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"Dark Souls" by Paula Morris
Review written by Diana Iozzia

"Dark Souls" is a young adult fiction novel, full of ghosts, thrilling romance, and exploration in historic York, England. I read this when I was in my teenage years, but I re-read this two summers ago, when I was visiting York, England.

Miranda and her family are on vacation in York for the summer, so her mother can participate in an orchestra program. Miranda makes friends with a hipster-like guy named Nick, who shows her around the city. Soon, you realize that Nick is very shady and might not be telling the entire truth about himself. With lots of haunted folklore, it creates a creepy setting for the lovely city. I personally enjoyed "Ruined" by Paula Morris much more than this book, but for a second novel, it was quite creepy and interesting. There is a great sequence before the final climax. Good read for a young adult novel with some thrills and chills. ( )
  dianaiozzia | Apr 16, 2017 |
Mystery and ghost story that tries for depth but misses the mark by just a smidge.

Miranda and her brother Rob were in a car accident that their friend didn’t walk away from. Now, Rob is claustrophobic and ever since that night Miranda has been able to see ghosts.

Their family goes on a trip to England in an attempt to alleviate some tensions. Unfortunately, for Miranda this is one haunted city. The ghosts are everywhere, across the street from the flat they are renting and practically around every corner.

Miranda meets a mysterious boy, Nick, who has the same ability to see ghosts that she does. He shows her around town and tells her about what he knows of their ability. He also has an uncanny way of disappearing or appearing.

Essentially, Nick is the mystery part of this story. Who is he, why does he keep interacting with Miranda, and what is he up to? Interesting yes, but the interactions aren’t quite enough, or built as well as they could be.

Personally, I didn’t feel there was anything remarkable about Miranda or Nick. The story was rather slow until the action quickly picked up the pace at the end with an unexpected turn of events. It had a good ending that I didn’t expect, that salvaged things for me a bit. Plus the fact that I’m glad it wasn’t a YA romance, but overall, it lacked that certain something. Whether it was an absence of character building, or something else, I just never felt like I really got to know Miranda or build a real attachment to any of the characters. ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
My students saw this book on my desk and now I have a waiting list to borrow it. Mind you these are kids who do not like to read!

So far I have not been disappointed by [Paula Morris]. I love the way she weave history in with the romance and mystery. In [Dark Souls] she goes from a tragedy in Iowa to the mysterious city of York in the UK. I do feel she could have developed the characters a bit more like she did with [Ruined] but it still has that lure and hook especially for reluctant readers. ( )
  MsHooker | Jan 28, 2014 |
Highly Recommended

The opening scene in the story was a car accident. Miranda, her best friend, Jeanna and Miranda’s brother Rob were driving on a country road. They hit an oncoming car. Miranda and Rob were lucky to survive. Jeanna died and in passing, said goodbye to Miranda. That was when Miranda realized she could see ghosts. Miranda and Rob’s parents did everything the could to help their children cope from the tragic accident. They decided to go to York, England. Unfortunately, York was full of ghosts and Miranda was having a hard time dealing with that. Miranda met Nick, who could also see ghosts. A ghost named Richard was trying to manipulate Nick and Miranda into finishing up the work he started. Miranda realizes what is going on and has to figure out a way to save York Cathedral and her new friends and family.

This book is a good addition to a public or school library. The story contains mystery, romance and action. The characters are likeable and it’s nice to see a brother and sister who get along with each other and with their parents. I think this is a good book to share with young adults who are currently into reading paranormal fiction. There is nothing really objectionable for older students. The most graphic elements are descriptions of how certain people died before they became ghosts.

This book will also appeal to students who are into historical fiction. The descriptions of the streets of York were very accurate. Some of the British slang was explained to the American reader, so students would learn about some of those cultural differences. It would be a good book to use for library book displays. It would make a good book for a book club pick because it appeals to a wide teen audience. Any Common Core connections are not readily apparent. However, it is a good book to just read for fun. I enjoyed it and will be recommending it to students at my school. ( )
  kmjanek | Aug 29, 2013 |
so do they see each other again? ( )
  Diavoletto | Jun 12, 2013 |
Full review on http://whatsnextthereadersgotoblog.blogspot.com

For six months Miranda Tennat has been able to see ghost. Six months ago Miranda's best friend Jenna died. Now she is going on her family vacation to York, England for her mothers concert. In the week before the fast approaching concert Miranda meets the mysterious Nick. But as the week progresses and Miranda finds out more about her gift she can't help but asking herself, "Is Nick who he says he is? Or someone with a darker past?" ( )
  paigethebookworm | Feb 22, 2013 |
I really enjoyed Paula Morris's first ghostly offering, Ruined, set in New Orleans. For the setting of her second book, she chose the equally haunted York, England. For some reason I didn't enjoy this novel quite as much as the first. The story line was just not as strong as the one in Ruined.

In this outing we have young Miranda, whose brother Rob is the driver in a car crash that kills Miranda's friend Jenna. Miranda's parents spirit the siblings off to merry old England so they can have a change of pace and recover emotionally from the wreck. The parents are busy with their very important work so the kids are left on their own to make new acquaintances. For Rob it is Sally, daughter of a pub owner and for Miranda it is the mysterious Nick who may or may not be a ghost. Soon Rob and Miranda find themselves embroiled in a mystery that may cost them their lives.

All of my daughter's middle school friends are reading this book and it is probably entertaining enough for them. It was slow in places, though the end action picked the pace up. After enjoying Ruined, I felt a little let down by Morris's latest offering. This is one I should have left to the YA crowd. ( )
  arielfl | Jun 29, 2012 |
Reviewed by Jen
Review copy provided by Big Honcho Media
I'm still relatively new to the YA genre (at least reading it as an adult), so when Big Honcho asked us to do a contest and review of Dark Souls, I jumped at the chance. The contest is now over, but I finally had time to sit down and read.

Dark Souls is a pretty quick read once it got going. The plot is pretty basic, with a bit of a twist at the end. This is my first ghost story and I enjoyed it. There was enough suspense to keep me turning the pages, but it didn't breech into horror, which I was thankful for. However, once I finished the story, I was left wanting more. Not that the story wasn't wrapped up, but I suppose I was hoping for something a little more complex.

I did however, enjoy the historical and paranormal look into York. And the characters were interesting, especially when it came to Miranda and Nick. The secondary characters (mostly Miranda's family) could have been developed a little more and given more of a role in the story. Miranda's brother has a mini subplot that could have been explored further to give a little more meat to the story.

All that said, I did enjoy the story and am interested in trying Ruined, her first YA story with a ghost theme. ( )
  RtB | Jan 25, 2012 |
York, England - the most haunted city in the world - and the last place Miranda Tennant wants to be when she's just discovered that she can see ghosts. But her family have come to York to get away from the tragedy that has devastated Miranda and her brother Rob. Distraction comes quickly,as Rob meets local girl Sally and Miranda starts seeing ghosts marked by the manner of their deaths, and meets a mysterious and intense Goth, Nick, who can also see ghosts. What is the connection between Nick and the ghost of the young garotted man that Miranda sees from her hotel window each night? Why is the pub where Sally works under attack? Can Miranda all the pieces in place before a terrible, irreversible act is committed?

Dark Souls by Paula Morris (Ngati Wai) is a captivating story, part mystery, part supernatural romance, convincingly portrayed in a city with a long history all of its own. ( )
  nzlibrarygirl | Jan 15, 2012 |
I don't read a lot of YA but I read and enjoyed the author's last book, RUINED. This book takes place in Yorkshire, England and has ghosts, so how could I refuse.
Miranda has had a bad few months after losing her best friend in a car accident. Her brother was driving and hasn't been the same since. Their parents decide to take them on a trip to England hoping it will help if they get away. The night of the accident, Miranda saw the ghost of her best friend. Now in Yorkshire, she is seeing them everywhere, But she meets a boy named Nick who can see them,too.

But this isn't a YA romance, it is more about a girl coming to terms with an unsettling gift. Unlike other YA novels, her parents are caring and loving.
The author writes descriptively of the Yorkshire town they are staying in and incorporates a bit of history. This was a quick and enjoyable read. ( )
  bookmagic | Dec 18, 2011 |
This is a great YA ghost story. Miranda Tennant has been able to see ghosts for a few months now, ever since she was in a car accident with her brother, Rob, and her best friend; an accident that left her brother with claustrophobia and guilt and left her friend dead. The spirit of her friend smiled at her and walked away, and since then ghosts have been showing up a lot. When the family goes on a working vacation to York, England- the most haunted city in the world- they seem to be everywhere.

The getaway seems to help the kids come out of the gloom they’ve been in since the accident; Rob becomes interested in Sally, a local girl, and Miranda meets a goth boy named Nick- and a number of ghosts. Nick is the only person Miranda has met who can also see ghosts; they meet when she reacts to a ghost that Nick can also see. A tentative relationship begins based on this, but Nick has some dark secrets to keep. And someone is trying to destroy Sally’s family’s pub. Can Miranda figure out all the secrets before something horrible happens?

The story is part mystery, part ghost story, part romance. The characters are likable- even the parents are supportive, likable people, not the clueless idiots that so many parents are in YA stories. The story advances quickly- it all takes place over a few days- and the atmosphere is perfect: haunted old buildings in York, shortly before Christmas so the days are short, the Christmas mood contrasting with the gloom of death. I really liked Miranda, who is sensible even when deciding to plunge into adventure. There were a number of twists, and characters and things that seem at first to be peripheral turn out to be crucial to the plot. I ended up staying up late last night finishing this book; it’s the perfect time of year for it. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Dec 11, 2011 |
Dark Souls is a fantastically well written and intriguing ghost story set in York, England. Right away, it introduces you to a tragedy that has spun the Tennant's world on it's axis, very nearly breaking them. Then it wisks the reader away on such a lively, well developed, and paranormal adventure with a ghost that leads them down cobblestone alleyways, around dark corners, and into the virtual un-known. Morris's eye for detail and imagery, bring the story to life in such a way that the reader almost feels as if they're stepping out onto the streets and slipping between the pages of the novel. She posseses the ability to tell a story well enough, that the reader will find themselves unable to put the book down, until the last page has been turned.

The character's are reltable, the pain and heartache the tragedy of the car accident that occurrs, delivers such an emotional blow that it will have the reader ensconsed in nothing but aching sympathy for this family. This is a book that will move the reader to tears, as much as it will deliver a well written and thoughout suspenseful fright. One of the things, that so easily makes this book stand out, is the fact that it's not just your typical run of the mill ghost story. There is so much more to it, than just that.

It is real. It is powerful and it is heartbreaking. There is a longing for healing, in this family that is so palpable that the reader can understand, the reason for the family's decision in taking this trip to York, London. It's a way for them to bond as a family, by spending time and learning how to cope with the tragedy they've just suffered. Behind the veil, though, there is also mystery that intrigues and gets the senses tingling and the minds wondering. It prods at the reader beckoning them to come along with, Mirand and Nick as they attempt to find out who the ghosts are, what their history is, and how they came to their deaths.

The ghosts were especially interesting as character's, in my opinion, because they still possessed the scars and wounds that were inflicted on them at their time of death. That's a bit of a unique quality for a ghost to possess in a young adult paranormal ghost story. I haven't seen that element utilized quite as much and it made for an interesting twist in things to come. The depth and the wealth of history of York, London that Morris provides the reader with wonderful background scenery, in regards to incorporating it into the story and works seemingly flawless as it gives the novel so much more character and depth, of its own.

I personally, found the prose to be one of the most beautiful elements of this well developed and creatively told, ghost story. Morris's eye for detail and imagery, all but puts the reader in the story along with the main protagonists. The reader could easily close their eyes and wake up, in a darkened cobblestoned alleyway, encountering a ghost and being regaled with a tale of how their death came to be. It is very delightful, as well as suspenseful and full of mystery and intrigue. The only drawback, that I could see would lend itself to the pacing of the story, the first half of it was a bit on the slow side. However, as it progresses it starts to pick up and let's the reader in on more secrets and interesting things.

I would have no problem recommending Dark Souls to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with an interesting side of paranormal. ( )
  suz.haugland | Nov 14, 2011 |
I am a huge fan of Ruined and like many, could not wait for Dark Souls to be released. I was happy that the style was the same. I love the suspense and mystery that surronds the ghosts and those that are able to see them. Unlike most plots with ghosts today, these novels draw the reader in with hope of a relationship being struck between the human and the ghost. There is no gore. I read this novel in one sitting just as I did Ruined, I could not put it down until the mystery had been solved. ( )
  mgc011 | Oct 3, 2011 |
In the eerie mists of York, Miranda finds a strange, dark city filled with secrets, mysteries and ghosts. Ghosts it seems that only Miranda can see, until she meets a local goth-boy named Nick, who has in-depth knowledge of the city's unique history and deepest secrets. Miranda soon finds herself falling for Nick, a strange boy who seems to finally understand her. Then she falls for another boy...who just may be a ghost. Written in a dark, fascinating and eerie tone, author Paula Morris weaves a ghostly tale of mystery and secrets.

If you enjoyed Morris' Ruined, you'll enjoy Dark Souls. It's really more of the same -ghosts, eerie settings, a strong overtone of creepy, otherworldliness and an artistically crafted ghost story etched with romance and intrigue. While I'll admit I wasn't completely sold on Ruined, Dark Souls is a step forward for Morris, has much better pacing, and even has some great, compelling action near the end that's a welcome change from the subtle eeriness of the book.

While I wouldn't read a steady diet of these kinds of books, Dark Souls is a unique book with an incredibly well-crafted tone that'll chill readers' spines and bring a vivid, mysterious town to life. ( )
  BookAddictDiary | Sep 25, 2011 |
I enjoyed read Paula Morris' Ruined, so I was happy to get the opportunity to review her latest book, Dark Souls.

Paula Morris has a writing style all her own. I think you could hide one of her books among nine others, and I'd be able to pick it out with ease. What I enjoy about this style is tone and mood it sets. It gives that creepy vibe, which is appropriate for books about ghosts. Neither of her books are fast paced, but the slowness adds to the book instead of detracts.

Dark Souls follows the story of Miranda, a girl who recently survived a tragic accident and can now see ghosts. Her parents, unaware of her new ability, take her to the most haunted city in the world. Yay, you guessed it. A certain level of chaos ensues.

I enjoyed Dark Souls because I couldn't guess what would happen. There were lots of pieces to the puzzle and I could figure out certain aspects, but not others. The characters had me questioning their motivations and sincerity, but rightly so. No out-of-left-field stuff. Overall, sufficient curiosity throughout the story and satisfying ending.

Another thing I love about Paula Morris' books is how they end so completely. So many books end up as series or have cliffhanger-ish endings (and you all know how much I like series, so I'm definitely not dissing them), so it's nice to read a stand alone book once in awhile. I can easily imagine more to the story because the characters are so complete, but I'm not left yearning for more. Ms. Morris gives me all I need.

Overall rating: Borrow or buy. ( )
  yabotd | Sep 22, 2011 |
Wow, what a setting! I have to say that the setting was one of my favorite aspects of the book. I've always dreamt of visiting England and going to York would certainly be a fantastic adventure. So it was great to go and see it through Miranda's eyes.

I really thought this was a brilliant idea for a story. I love books with ghosts and find them fascinating. And while I enjoyed this one I kind of wished there was more to the ghost aspect. Like maybe she could have talked with them more or learned more about some of them. And while in the end we got more to the ghost part it seemed a bit long in coming. Actually through most of the book, while I was enjoying it, I just wanted a bit more. It's hard to explain, but I guess I felt like I was missing something. However, it was still a great story and I enjoyed the characters.

I really liked Miranda. I felt like she was someone I could really be friends with. And Nick... oh boy. He's the sullen mysterious type and while I would normally say that's been done too many times, I still ended up falling for him. I don't know what it is about those mysterious boys...
Miranda's family can't be left out. They had a great realistic family dynamic from her father saying nerdy and outdated things to the banter between Miranda and her brother. I found it all realistic and very enjoyable.

I felt like even though this was a quick read it was slow paced. It felt like not a lot happened very quickly and then the climax hit and was over. I do have to say that the climax was pretty intense and it wasn't anything I had figured out at all. I just wish that we had known just a bit more of the mystery earlier because we didn't even know what to look for while in the end we see there were clues all over the place.

Overall it was an enjoyable read with great characters and in a fantastic setting! ( )
  Candacemom2two | Sep 7, 2011 |
In an instant, Miranda's life is changed forever when a horrific car accident claims the life of her best friend and leaves her brother forever scared of confined spaces... and now SHE can see ghosts.

In an attempt to divert their tormented children's attention, Rob and Miranda's parents take them to England on a vacation/work thing for them. Rob is hoping to rebuild some semblance of his life before that horrible night, and Miranda just wants a break.

Except, apparently in York there are ghost around every corner. Epic FAIL for Miranda... However, Rob meets Sally and is completely enamored with her. They were SO super cute together- SERIOUSLY! *Awww*

Now, here's where it gets good... Nick. Dark, mysterious... Nick... who can ALSO see ghosts. Nick is helping Miranda understand ghosts and they obviously have chemistry. (Seriously though, this was SO not a 'love story'! I wanted MORE romance!)

Miranda is inexplicably drawn to the guy who 'lives' across the street. A GHOST, no less... and we find out that Nick is back in York for a very specific reason...

NO! I will not tell you how it all TIES together! Read it and find out! ( )
  BookishBrunette | Aug 28, 2011 |
I love history, so anything historical fiction really draws my attention. This book is not exactly historical fiction, but it takes place in the really historically significant York, England. Creepy streets, dilapidated buildings, old legends and centuries old vendettas creates the eerie atmosphere of Dark Souls. I was consumed by the story and pulled along for a frightening ride.

After Miranda has a near death experience, her life has never been the same - she can see ghosts. A family trip to one of the most haunted places in the world, York, England, isn't exactly her idea of a getaway. However, she has to make the best of it. When she meets Nick, the goth-type boy with a mysterious personality who knows all the secrets of York, her family vacation starts to take a turn for the worse. Break-ins, ghosts, fires and countless loose ends create a wild nail biting mystery.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the pacing was perfect, especially towards the end where I felt like a machine, mindlessly turning the pages, never quite fast enough. I was also quite impressed with the development of Miranda and her brother Rob. Both came to York trying to get away from a tragic accident and the repercussions that they have had to live with. Their transformations as they attempt to cope and overcome their problems was very well written.

Really, the only complaints I have were minimal. Like the romance in this book, for Miranda at least, wasn't really a romance at all. But at the same time, a romance wasn't needed. The only other thing was that the book is told from third person, so I was constantly confused when Miranda's parents would be called by their first names. I'd momentarily wonder, "who the heck is that and where did they just appear from?" then I'd realize my mistake and get over it. Like I said, minimal complaints - insignificant. I would definitely recommend this one. ( )
  ilikethesebooks | Aug 15, 2011 |
The Good Stuff

* Ghost story and a mystery all rolled up into one fantastic tale
* Fast paced story and intriguing enough that you didn't want to put the book down -- hence why I am a wee bit tired this morning since I was up till 1 am reading it
* Parents are not jerks -- I know I couldn't believe it either - gets an extra .5 Dewey for that alone
* Spooky
* A bit of history thrown in which will hopefully intrigue the reader into looking for further info
* Opening to story sucks you in -
* Did I mention ghosts -- I love the ghosts
* Relationship between family members is very realistic

The Not so Good Stuff

* Some of the coincidences are pushing it in terms of believability

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Miranda's parents, of course, went nuts at the prospect of a 360-degree view because - she'd often observed - anyone middle-aged thought that gazing at views and gardens and distant horizons was the most interesting thing in the world."

"It was probably in some parenting book, one of a list of things you should say to annoy your teenaged children, along with "take that look off your face" and "what's that long sigh for? and "I don't know what happened; when you were little you were so sweet."

"Musicians were easy to spot because of their instrument cases and - Miranda couldn't help noticing - dubious fashion choices."

What I Learned

* In England: Streets are called Gates, Gates are called Bars and Bars are called Pubs
* Little bits of English history and ghosts that I didn't know about

Who should/shouldn't read

* For anyone who enjoys a good ghost story, especially a mysterious one
* Perfect for more mature middle school reader and YA's (and old Mom's who love ghost stories)

4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review -- and BTW thanks a lot Scholastic I had spooky dreams last night ( )
  mountie9 | Aug 3, 2011 |
Dark Souls is the second book that I’ve read and enjoyed by Paula Morris. I had been eyeing this book for a quite some time, and I was so very excited to be able to read and review the book. I haven’t read many ghost stories; and I found this one to be a very interesting read.
The main character in the story is Miranda. I found her to be a very likeable character. She was far from perfect; she has issues and is a bit of an introvert. I was able to connect with her character, because I am the same way. Her and her brother, Rob, who also had issues, go through a very traumatic event early in the book. This event deeply affects each of them, but each in a different way. While in York, Miranda meets Nick. I’m still on the fence about Nick. He was a very troubled soul. I didn’t really connect with him, but I think it was because we really didn’t see him enough in the book. I did find myself feeling a bit bad for him towards the end of the book.

I enjoyed the setting in the book very much. I thought the author did a good job in describing York and the places in it. All of the background information about the town was very interesting as well, and I was very glad the author included it in the book. It made the setting feel more real to me. The plot was very intriguing, and the writing was easy to follow. The book had me guessing in quite a few areas.

Overall, this was a really interesting, quick read that I really enjoyed! I am definitely looking forward to reading more books by Ms. Morris, she’s a great storyteller.

Happy Reading!
  TheReaderBee | Jul 31, 2011 |
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