Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Length: 12 hours, 52 minutes
The last time the world ended, it took thirty days. This time, they may not be so fortunate. All of Patrick’s life has been building to this moment. When he was a child, his father stole the power of a god, killing Patrick’s mother and forcing the god into the body of Patrick’s twin sister. Patrick had a chance in Cairo to end it all, to kill his sister, but he couldn’t. And it nearly cost him everything. Patrick’s older, now, and maybe not much wiser, but he knows there’s nothing left of his sister to save. There is, however, so much more to fight for.
Patrick has found love, in Jono. Together they’ve unofficially adopted a surly teenage dragon. Patrick has friends. Family. A purpose to his life beyond revenge and duty. He’s been shot, stabbed, possessed … and hugged, and held, and rescued. He’s stopped smoking, cut back on his drinking, and he’s happy. But even with all that, there’s always his father’s shadow casting a pall — not just on Patrick, but over the world itself. After Paris, after the ritual in Boston, after Andras, the Marquis of Hell who used Patrick’s body, after every single bloody horror he’s faced, Patrick is ready to put an end to this. There is no part of his sister left to save, but there is the world. And Ethan doesn’t get to have it.
A Veiled & Hallowed Eve is the final volume in the Soulbound series, and … it’s a lot. Hailey Turner has such amazing skill when it comes to plotting. Small things, like a gold coin, or conversations a character has in earlier books, or careless insults or threats made books ago all come to fruition in this final volume. This is both to Turner’s credit and, at times, to the detriment of the story. There are so many cameos and callbacks that it was kind of fun seeing all the nods to Patrick and Jono’s earlier adventures, but there are only so many “I know that character!” moments you can have before they lose their magic.
This book is jam-packed with action. When listening to the audiobook, I counted roughly five hours or so of brutal, exhausting scenes of violence and gore. It was well-written and brilliantly narrated, but by hour three of the block by block combat, I was exhausted. And I still had hours to go before the book ended. And yet, for all that the characters mention the war of attrition, of fighting wave after wave of monsters, demons, undead, hunters, and shifters, and this that and the other, no one seems to be that tired. With time as unstable as it was during the fighting, it could have been days or weeks they spent in combat, and yet other than the occasional gripe, no one ran out of stamina. Gary Furlong, the narrator of this audiobook, compensated wonderfully for that in portraying characters as breathless, or angry, or dispirited, even when the text itself didn’t really mention it. And while it was satisfying to see Wade stretching his wings and being the monstrous dragon of death we knew he could be — and would be, for Patrick — again and again, by the fifth or sixth time of it being pointed out that Wade was being amazing and powerful, it lost it’s impact. I understand giving every character their moment of awesome, and I loved to see them, but it was also a lot of character after character getting moment after moment after moment of awesome.
Personally, I think the action sequences could have been tightened up a bit, as it was especially in this area I noticed several stock phrases show up again and again and moments that felt — especially after book 5, where the pack also faced unending hordes of zombies — a little familiar. Please don’t take all this as a complaint; I love this book and I love this series, but after hours of this, I felt worn to the bone. Not with the quality of storytelling, which is and remains excellent, and never with the narration. Just with the sheer quantity of nonstop physical descriptions with little variation in intensity or emotion.
Furlong did an absolutely amazing job with this narration. Imagine having to narrate fae queens, various gods, demon-possessed necromancers, human strike forces, shifters, a sulky dragon, Patrick, and Jono, all while making it clear who is who at any given moment. His ability to convey the power and alienness of a given voice, nailing — insofar as I can tell — accents, pronunciations, genders, and ages … it’s just absolutely mind boggling. I cannot imagine any other voice actor doing this series, and if you’re into audiobooks at all, I can’t praise Furlong or recommend him enough.
The ending of this book, and this series, was beautifully done. Patrick finally resolving the situation with his father and sister, paying his debt to Persephone, it was just so well done. And there are moments that hit me so hard. Even Wade, his unshakeable faith in Patrick, his parting comment to Lucien … for all that I can point at the middle slog, I loved so much of this book.
With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect excuse to buy yourself all seven books. Or all seven audiobooks. I promise, they’re worth it.