Book Review: The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

C-/D+ | While the premise was good and interesting, the execution was unfortunately mediocre at best. The story drags on and on. The characters are boring. Although grief and denial are explored here, it was difficult to feel anything because things felt dry, flat, and stale. This book might be called The Weight of a Soul, but there’s little weight or soul in this book.

Part of the reason why I requested this book on NetGallery and got excited when I was approved was because I was drawn into it due to the synopsis. Who could blame me? The idea of a sisterly bond so strong you would make a deal with Hela to try and get her back? Yes, please. I love books that explore sibling relationships and loss and grief.

I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointed and utterly frustrated I am with this book.

Everything — from the characters and their relationships to the plot to the ending — felt forced and unnatural at times. There was no emotion. This book goes into how souls have weight and one soul is not equal to another just because they’re both warriors. But where is this book’s weight? Where is this book’s soul?

One of my biggest beefs with this book is that we’re always told things, but never actually shown evidence of why we should accept what we were told as truths. We’re told that the sisters mean a lot to each other, but never actually shown just how close their relationship was before Fressa’s death. Yeah, Lena is willing to murder to get her sister back, but if you want me to be able to empathize with her situation and choices, then I’m going to need more than being told of how good her relationship was with her sister.

Give me flashbacks of the two as children. Give me memories. Give me something. This book would have been far more compelling if I got to see Lena and Fressa’s relationship for myself that wasn’t just Lena’s random thoughts of how she was the first person to make Fressa smile. Like, okay? That’s cool. Give me more.

Another example of being told things rather than shown them is with Lena herself. She’s meant to become the tribe’s leader. Sure, she has to marry someone to gain that power, but her “destiny” (if you want to call it that) is to rule the clan.

“No—she had hesitated for power. For her rightful place as the leader of this village and its clans.”

Even she believes it’s her rightful place to rule. But she doesn’t act like a ruler. She doesn’t act like the heir apparent. If anything, she acts like a little girl playing dress up but will run away when responsibilities call.

Look, grief does all sorts of things to people. It can turn them into people they never wanted to become. But see, the problem is that we never get to see Lena be a leader or at least try to act like one. We never see Lena attempt to help her people through these tough and terrifying times. She makes comments like:

“ Her family’s hold on this village weakened with every day he stayed away, with every second the sun stayed out of the sky in the middle of summer.”


“ Her family’s hold on this village weakened with every day he stayed away, with every second the sun stayed out of the sky in the middle of summer.”

Knowing this, I would have expected to see Lena taking up the mantle in some shape or form either in the present or in flashbacks, but I got none of that. It’s so disappointing, especially because I feel like Lena never truly got a chance to properly grieve nor did she ever actually develop. She was the same person from start to finish, albeit with blood on her hands.

I don’t and can’t recommend this book. Despite it having an interesting premise, it was poorly executed.

Thank you to Flux and North Star Editions over at NetGalley for providing a copy of the eARC. All opinions are my own.

#bookreview #ya #twostars #youngadult