Stone Souls by James Rourke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two people adjusting to life in an American Utopia discover the true cost of peace and the extreme methods that some of the new nation’s leaders are willing to go to in order to preserve that Utopia in author James Rourke’s “Stone Souls”.


The Synopsis

What price would you pay to become a member of a vibrant society where poverty and crime have been eradicated? Medical advancements render cancer no deadlier than the common cold. You can teleport to your next destination. Art flourishes and intellectual accomplishments are celebrated the way lesser nations celebrate athletic contests.

The only cost is your soul.

Raymond and Karen Butler, as new citizens of the Common States of America, endeavor to embrace the nation’s demanding vision. The allure of prosperity collides with the ferocious realities of initiation. Their struggle to accept new customs and modes of thinking unfolds under the cruel gaze of Kurt “Stone” Adams, the secretary of internal security, who defends the nation he loves with revolutionary intensity.

Would you sell your soul for Utopia?

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The Review

This was a gripping and haunting sci-fi dystopian read. The world-building was excellent, really doing an amazing job of bringing this “Common States of America” to life in a visceral way. The horrors and shocking events that readers see come to life by this new hierarchy in order to maintain their “utopia” is terrifying, and coupled with the religious and philosophical discussions that bring to mind social and political issues our own world is facing at this time, this book is filled with so much tension.

To me, the heart of this narrative was in the unique character perspectives and the language used in this new world that speaks to the foundations of this society as a whole. The perspective readers get from both the newcomers to this society and the person practically running things was great to see as it gave a balanced viewpoint of this society, and the language very much reminded me of an almost cult-like mentality, as it often referenced a distrust of the outside world and showcased an often brutal hand of authority and standards that were impossible to live up to, leading to tragedy.

The Verdict

Memorable, haunting, and engaging, author James Rourke’s “Stone Souls” is a must-read dystopian sci-fi novel. The book’s commentary on our over-reliance on technology as a whole and the cost of perfection and a utopian society at the cost of humanity and morality as a whole made this a truly one-of-a-kind story and will stick with readers long after the book’s end. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

James Rourke has been a high school teacher of history, psychology, and philosophy for twenty-eight years. His commitment to these three disciplines guides his writing . “The Comic Book Curriculum” is praised for revealing “how major superheroes and their stories raise some of the deepest and most important ethical and psychological questions we all need to ask and answer.” This aspect of storytelling, the quest to tell stories that entertain, challenge, and uplift the reader, inspires James in his fiction as well.

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