Jamie Murdock is a soul gatherer. That is, he works for death by going to those who recently died to gather their soul until it is collected to go to heaven. He’s immortal but he can be killed. Gatherers fight against evil such as demons and Murdock is very good at it especially seeing he has a berserker sharing his body. You would think that after 700 plus years, Murdock would be able to control his berserker but once the berserker feels threatened, Murdock pretty much looses control which is why he feels so out of place in his new assignment in Japan where control and tranquility reign supreme.
Murdock is to locate Kiyoko Ashida. Several months ago, another gatherer was at Kiyoko’s house and felt a dark power. Since that time, they learned what was felt is a relic called the Veil. It is hoped that Kiyoko will know of its existence and will turn it willingly over to the gatherers. That is easier said than done.
Kiyoko does know about the Veil. She wears it every day to stay alive. There is no way that she is turning it over to Murdock. Kiyoko is a trained warrior in her own right and is planning on doing a ritual to transcend. Upon meeting Murdock, she is sure that she will need to borrow power from his berserker in order to transcend but when she touches him, skin to skin, all control is lost.
Can Murdock learn to control his berserker? Will Kiyoko transcend? What about the Veil? If things weren’t complicated enough, there seems to be a very powerful demon after the Veil as well and that demon is willing to start a war to get it!
This is the third book in the Soul Gatherer series. It does not have to be read after the previous books but the characters from the previous books make appearances in this one and events from the previous books are mentioned. However, this story can be thoroughly enjoyed without knowledge of ay of that.
The characters, Murdock and Kiyoko are very well done. They are seem human even though Murdock, at least, is not. Murdock has control issues and that becomes apparent very quickly to Kiyoko when he ends up having his berserker take control at a Japanese restaurant. Murdock is going to have to pay for the damage and instead of him having a large bank account to easily pay for it, he has to sell his beloved car giving him a connection to real people. Kiyoko loved her father very much, to the point of ignoring her lifelong training and putting herself in danger trying to save him. Now, to honor what he did in his lifetime, she is trying to learn about his business while being a master in onmyodo. Both main characters have lives separate from their demon killing lives.
The other characters in the story are equally interesting. Kiyoko has a trainer as well as the new leader of her father’s business. There are also other members of her household and other onmyodo. Many have more than one role such as Ryuji Watanabe. He may lead Kiyoko’s father’s business but he’s got a secret life that will do more than shake up the business. Emily is turning 16 but she has a special place and role too. She’s frustrated because this role isn’t obvious but she too learns about herself and her powers.
The locations or settings throughout the story were very good. Weather the story was in Japan or in the USA, each location was described so you could see it and feel it. From the walls in the buildings to the craters on the hill, the locations were vivid and allowed you to be able to visualize the action.
The plot was full of interest keeping your attention. There was more than just the battle between good and evil. There was more than a love story trying to happen. There are several facets happening at once and they are intertwined as to seem seamless. The book flows with action and while it ends and feels complete, you know that the next book will build on what was started or enhanced in this one just as this one did from the previous book. Self contained yet part of a whole.
I really enjoyed this book, from its character to its settings to learning about another way to fight demons. It’s unique and gives a fresh look at the age old fight between God and the devil. (However, no preaching in this story!) For most of the book, I wasn’t sure if Murdock was going to get a happy ending and if he was, how it was going to happen. But, I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next and how in the world they were going to do it. Now, that I’m finished, I want a book the next book, please.
As an immortal, Jamie Murdoch has spent lifetimes battling demons. But he’s cursed with an inner berserker, and his expertise as a Soul Gatherer is overshadowed by uncontrollable rage. Sent to Japan to investigate a mystical weapon that can destroy demons, Jamie feels out of place in a society that values tranquillity and self-control.
Kiyoko Ashida has dedicated her life to fighting evil. Now she’s dying, and her remaining days are linked to a mysterious artifact, which is the only thing keeping her alive. Still, her path is clear—until the day a valiant Soul Gatherer storms into her life and, with one fateful touch, steals her heart.
The Veil is both destroyer and healer, and Jamie knows Kiyoko cannot survive without it. But when the malicious ambitions of a fallen angel target the artifact, he’s torn between fulfilling his duty and saving the life of the woman he loves.