Audiobook Review: SOULBINDER by Sebastien de Castell

Title in green below a black and white boy with a hissing squirrel cat on his shoulders
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - book 4



Book cover for SOULBINDER: playing-card like cover with a boy with a squirrel cat on his shoulders above the title and a bald man with a tattooed face reversed below

Kellen and his murderous squirrel cat, Reichis, are on their own.

They’ve heard rumour of a mythical monastery, known as the Ebony Abbey. It’s a place that outsiders can never find – but Kellen is getting desperate. He’s been told that the monks inside the Ebony Abbey know more about the Shadowblack than anyone else – and that they even know how to cure it.

Then Kellen and Reichis are separated and for the first time, Kellen must face the world alone – and venture deeper into shadow magic than he ever knew he could.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I think this may be my favourite entry so far – with an incredibly emotional section and then the finale is brilliant, particularly the choices Kellen makes (and the conversations with his father).

SOUBLINDER expands the magic of the shadowblack, exploring both its origins and dangers, but also what it can do. I loved the variety in abilities shown by the group Kellen falls in with, as well as their different approaches to life. Sebastien de Castell has a real talent for making lots of new characters feel fully fleshed out, even if they only appear in one book.

At the end of CHARMCASTER, Kellen decides to leave Ferius and Nefrenia and seek out a cure for the shadowblack alone (to protect them). It makes sense for his arc, and really does allow him to grow as he’s unable to rely on the others. He has to make the choices without guidance (other than the voices in his head conjured from memories) and it pushes him towards the decision he makes on the bridge with Patellios – which was amazing. It’s slipped in so subtly, but yes!

It’s a very emotional book – in that sense, it’s my favourite so far. When he loses Reichis and has to fight so hard to get to him, their friendship is really shown. Then a bunch of stuff happens with the Golden Passage and a onyx shard, and it sets off a section that just vibrates with so many emotions. There’s such a depth there, and I loved it.

However, I really did miss Ferius. I like her bizarre, multi-layered statements and wise-cracking ways. Hopefully Kellen and Reichis got to find her in the next book, but part of me doubts it. Either way, I’m ready to start listening to the next installment, QUEENSLAYER.

Read my reviews of other books by Sebastien de Castell:

Argosi (chronologically before this series):

Spellslinger (this series):

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