Book Review: Soul Breaker (City of Crows Book 1) by Clara Coulson

Calvin Kinsey, former rookie with the Aurora Police until his partner was murdered by a vampire, is now a brand new detective with the Department of Supernatural Investigations, and he's just a few weeks in when a creature from the Eververse shows up and goes on a murder spree. Cal's determined to send the creature back where it came from before it can claim any more innocent lives, but between his grumpy captain, an intriguing witch, dead college students, and a body that keeps getting the crap beat out of it, his first case is proving to be a lot more intense than he anticipated.

Book Review: Soul Breaker (City of Crows Book 1) by Clara Coulson | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, supernatural, paranormal
Title: Soul Breaker
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 344
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was urban fantasy at it’s finest—gruesome, bloody, snarky, hilarious, action-packed, and fun!

My favorite thing, however, had to be Cal himself. Not only was he hilariously quippy, he was just so real. He was definitely badass, risking his life to save others, going head-to-head with death gods and whatnot, but he was also terrified out of his mind while he was being badass, and that made him so much more likeable and relatable to me. He also wasn’t invincible, another thing that made him seem realistic, as shown by the way he got his ass handed to him numerous times. And while I would never classify this as an emotional book, the author still wasn’t afraid to give Cal some emotion, and I’m pretty sure he was suffering from PTSD considering the flashbacks and panic attacks he sometimes had. (Plus he called an Etruscan demon an idiot, and you can’t not love a character who does that.)

Another fantastic thing about Cal though (and the book in general) was that he was such a feminist! He had so much respect for what the women around him were capable of and had no trouble admitting how much better than him they were at things. Yeah, he felt inadequate at times, but it was never in a bitter way, more like he was just in awe of them.

I spent the night having awesome sex with a witch nearly twice my age, who also saved my life with such ease that I will never overcome the sense of inadequacy that blooms in my chest in her presence. This presents a multitude of conflicting thoughts and feelings that may take me some alone time to work through. And maybe a trip to the gym to beef up my macho cred. (Or maybe not. Because that sounds stupid.)

I also loved that the injuries, fights, crime scenes, etc. were portrayed realistically. Most authors have this tendency to make things easier and prettier and less bad than they really are—characters get knocked out all the time but wake up feeling fine; they get into fights, but all the injuries they surely sustained, even if they were just cuts and bruises, disappear; people are shot and bludgeoned to death, but the blood and brain matter and body parts are just kind of overlooked, etc.—but this author made sure to include it all.

And last but not least, look at that cover! Gorgeous, right?

Overall, this book had me cracking up, cringing, and clinging to the edge of my seat, sometimes all at once, and I really enjoyed it!


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  1. Lola

    This one sounds interesting, although I don’t like the sound of gruesome, there’s a limit to how much gruesome-ness I can handle. Cal sounds like a great character with how real he is, and how he is scared and badass at the same time. That sounds pretty realistic to have a main character who admits to being scared. And that’s nice his bisexuality was woven so normally into the book without the author making it a big thing. You definitely made me curious about this book! Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      To tell you the truth, I don’t actually like gruesome, but it doesn’t make me like a book any less, and I respected that the author included it how she did because of it made things grittier and more realistic. Like, I felt like it wasn’t just there for the shock factor, rather it was there because hunting down supernatural creatures wouldn’t be all beauty and rainbows, you know? It wasn’t the most gruesome book I’ve ever read though. You might be able to handle it, but I don’t know what your limit is.

      But yeah, I loved that she didn’t make him fearless and invincible because I can’t relate to someone unfeeling in the face of monsters and death. Thanks!

  2. Daniela Ark

    Ohhhh where is my comment?
    I had read this review last week and posted a comment Nothing like a lost comment sniff 🙁
    I’m sure it was my iPhone
    Well I had commented that I really liked the review and will be reading the book. You had me at “feminist malev character” nope! I don’t remember ever reading a book with one. Scratch it from your list of mythical creatures 🙂 🙂
    The cover and the title also helped 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh no D-: I’m sorry your comment got eaten! I definitely never saw it, but I’m glad you’re interested in the book! I know I’ve read about male characters who weren’t sexist, but I guess they didn’t really stand out as feminists either like this one did. Love your comment about mythical creatures lol, I *am* trying to read about more of those this year 😛 I think it’s still on Netgalley if you wanna request it! I’ll be curious to know what you think.

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    Gruesome and snarky? That’s quite a combo. But the reason I’ll pick up this book is how much Cal affected you, Kristen. That’s a mark of a well-written, character driven story. And I’m a fan of those. I love how you say Cal and the story in general are so *real*. And I like that cover too. 😉 Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve had a long real life day but a slow blog day, and I’m like half asleep trying to write tomorrow’s post right now lol, so your comment just cheered me up 🙂 I would say it’s kind of equally character and plot driven though? Like, it’s action-packed, but at the same time it doesn’t neglect the characters. It usually takes me a few books to get to know a character enough to put them on my top favorites list, but Cal is great, and he has the potential. And now I think I’m rambling. This might still be on Netgalley if you wanna grab it there 🙂