Bid My Soul Farewell by Beth Revis is the second book in her Give the Dark My Love duology. It follows the journey of Nedra Brysstain, a girl from the rural northern territory of the Lunar Islands who had traveled on a scholarship to the prestigious Yugen Academy in order to learn medicinal alchemy in an attempt to discover a cure to a plague that has been sweeping the land. Following the conclusion of the first book, Nedra is falling deeper and deeper into the dark power of necromancy in an effort to discover a way to harvest souls and bring someone she loves back to life. But her quest for the perfect necromantic solution leads her to discover a dark secret that has festered in the heart of her country for years, and Nedra might not be powerful enough to prevent its fruition.
I didn’t mind the concept of these books. I did read Give the Dark My Love first,since it’s hard for me to jump into a series (or a trilogy, or duet) without knowing the foundation of the story. I found Book One to be more interesting and better written, though when I got to the ending, my first thought was that Beth Revis had read Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa, since Beth’s ending sounded exactly like a scene from Hiromu Arakawa’s manga (and in the author’s afterward, she does cite Fullmetal Alchemist as an inspiration for her final scene). This second book was darker and it didn’t seem to contain the same vibrancy as Book One did. It also contained a fairly graphic sex scene (see below content review) which I wouldn’t recommend for sensitive readers and which could be a turn-off for some readers (as it was for me). This book I wasn’t so fond of; however, the first book is quite good.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill
Profanity/Language: 1 mild obscenity.
Violence/Gore: Many instances of violence and gore, including by not limited to: Revenants are covered with gore; many reports of deaths and violence; a character leads revenants through a school; a character recalls killing a person; characters tidy up bodies after a slaughter; warships surround a building; revenants are blown up; characters discuss impending trials and potential executions of traitors; a character almost kills herself attempting to retrieve part of her soul through necromancy; a character watches an owl break its neck; characters discuss politics and the impact a plague had on people; a character recalls past events that caused trauma; characters call for a witch’s execution; a character takes the soul from a dying person; character uses her blood to open a crucible; a character examines box contents which contains finger bones and biting beetles; a character sees the darkness within a crucible and feels its hunger for her soul; a character’s soul snaps back to its body; a dissenter is dragged away by soldiers; a woman has a scar from a necrotizing spider bite with details how to cut out the flesh from the wound; a mosaic is designed with human bones; a girl feels threatened by a man and demonstrates her power by holding the man’s soul; a girl sees echoes of souls in a mirror including a screaming raging ghost and a dark hole where her soul should be; a boy and girl shout and fight with each other; report of people hiding parts of their soul to achieve a type of immortality; a character tests a crystal knife on her necromantic hand and bloodlessly cuts off a finger; a character is accused of signing a death warrant; characters are blindfolded and prepared for hanging; a girl plunges a knife filled with soul energy into another character’s heart; a character plans to harvest souls from a crematorium; a character is violated with the presence of another soul and mind; a character discovers who has been manipulating the country; a man threatens a girl; a character raises the dead and uses them to tear a person apart, with description of bones being pulled from sockets and flesh torn off by teeth and hands; a character threatens another with torture; description of rotting corpses raised from the dead, with maggots squirming in their flesh; a character uses a special knife to sever another character’s soul from a crucible; a character suffers excruciating pain as she destroys her crucible.
A character returns to find dismembered rotting corpses of her revenants, which have been violently dismembered. She makes her way through mounds of torn flesh, separated limbs and bloodied faces.
Sex/Nudity: A girl dislikes a story since it contains no kissing; a girl exposes her breast to see the light coming from her heart (not sexual, just weird); a girl feels something for a boy; characters hold hands and press their foreheads together; characters touch shoulders; a girl strokes a boy’s hand; a boy and girl sit so their knees touch; a girl clings to a boy as she cries; a boy and girl remove the top layer of clothing preparatory to sleeping; characters kiss and sleep in the same bed, but without any sexual activity occurring; a character dreams of her parents being in love and wakes with a boy, who has pulled her close to him (not sexual); characters flirt and kiss; a character tells a girl he loves her; a boy kisses a girl; mention of a woman with a ripped bodice, a boy is accused of loving someone; mention of a girl having a crush on another girl; a girl relives a man’s memory of marrying his wife; a man states magically inhabiting both male and female bodies in order to stay alive; a boy and girl hold each other and talk about their feelings and complicated love, they kiss and fall back onto a bed, the girl feels the boy’s desire for her, she removes her clothing, they engage in sexual activity with much gasping, touching, and overt description (highly sexual).
Mature Subject Matter:
Espionage; necromancy; death of family members; socioeconomic conflicts; rebellion; execution.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters occasionally drink wine; characters are offered mead or wine; characters drink mead; a character dreams of someone carrying a bottle of honey wine; a man drinks some wine.