Everything's Got Soul

A Philosophical Adventure

Fiction - Action
48 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Everything's Got Soul is a short steampunk adventure by Brian Thomas. Set in central London in the year 1851, the story follows a thirteen-year-old pneumatic messenger named Jack, who finds himself entangled with a resistance group that seeks to thwart the nefarious plans of Sir Benjamin Baines, an influential man who, unbeknownst to the Queen, is keeping slaves in the Canary Islands. Jack forms a little group of his own with his best friend Johnnie, an apprentice thief, and African aristocrat Dido. After dodging an assassination attempt, Dido introduces Jack to the scientist Gerard Newell and Captain Mark Carter, the two men leading the attack on Baines' ship, the HMS Reprisal. As the teens and their allies sail toward the Canary Islands, they must rely on an ingenious piece of science called Beauty, which might give them an edge.

Everything's Got Soul is an entertaining young adult action-adventure tale that should also please historical fiction enthusiasts. Romance, adventure, and drama tinge the pages of this novella that will leave you wanting more by the end. Brian Thomas does a marvelous job of building a believable Victorian setting. From the first page, you find yourself immersed in a world of steam engines, corrupt industrialists, and rebel groups, and will get further entranced the more you read. I found Jack's blossoming romance with Dido adorable and was rooting for them toward the end. The author also provides a few helpful citations to explain some of the vocabulary in the story. If you enjoy historical fiction or steampunk adventure stories, do not miss out on this one!

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Everything's Got Soul, a steampunk novella by Brian Thomas, takes place in a slightly altered London in the 1850s. Sir Benjamin Baines owns half of the East India Company and has slaves in the Canary Islands, but a Black teenage aristocrat, Dido, is making him nervous. The queen frowns upon slavery, and Dido informs her daughter that Baines is trading slaves. When confronted by the queen's consort, Baines denies it, but he is dismissed from the palace. Dido enlists the help of Jack, a numbers genius, Captain Mark Carter, Gerard Newell, a leading scientist, and his wife, Mary. They make a plan to rescue the people Baines has taken as slaves and, using their scientific minds, destroy his grand ship.

Brian Thomas's story is a lovely mix of intellect and beauty. The author references works like those by William Blake and gives his characters more life as they recite them. Even if the reader is unaware of some of his references, the author explains them clearly in the footnotes at the end of each chapter. Dido is a beautiful character, inside and out, and her words are eloquent, even though the ideas they convey may be seen as bold. With young teenagers at its center, the narrative has many emotions and surprising statements, but Thomas focuses more on their scientific abilities and the problems they face than he does on a blossoming romance. Readers who enjoy young adult stories with action, adventure, and strong intellectual characters will like Everything's Got Soul.

Mimie Odigwe

Everything’s Got Soul: A Philosophical Adventure by Brian Thomas is a sea adventure set in England in 1850. After being unceremoniously dismissed from Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles on accusations of his involvement in the slave trade, Sir Benjamin Baines knows his archenemy and swears to bring her down. Dido, the first African aristocrat, is busy gathering recruits to take down Baines’ ship and rescue the slaves locked within. She meets thirteen-year-old Jack, a genius who works at the pneumatic express, and together, they dodge Baines’ antics and join an army of sailors and scientists willing to free the souls trapped in Baines’ ship.

Everything’s Got Souls is a captivating adventure that skillfully intertwines action with technology and slavery in England at the time. This book is plot-driven, laced with a fast-paced narrative and action-packed scenes. This novella offers no dull moments and promises to sweep readers into a time machine that transports them to a thrilling experience set in another time. Although the brevity does not leave much room for character exploration, the protagonist, Dido, shines as a patriotic character, well-versed in poetry, strong-willed, and willing to stand up for justice. Dido’s portrayal reflects her beauty and boldness, mirroring the captivating cover art. Author Brian Thomas impressed me greatly with his research, evidenced by the comprehensive references he provided after each chapter, lending credibility to his claims. Overall, Everything’s Got Souls educates readers that you’re never too old to make a difference and is ideal for those who seek an immersive adventure they can devour in one sitting.