Reviews

Review: Soulmated – Shaila Patel

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Book cover: Liam and Laxshmi’s hands reach out to each other, a blue-yellow-green light surrounds their hands. Laxshmi has henna on her hand.

Soulmated sounded like a promising read and I was intrigued by the premise.

Liam, an Irish boy is searching for his soulmate and returns to the US to find her there. Laxshmi is already in the US, and her mother is making her decide between an arrange marriage or going to medical school.

This book is #ownvoices.


I’ll admit that one of the main reasons that I chose this book was the beautiful cover. Look at that henna! It’s lovely.

I really wanted to like this book but there were quite a few aspects that didn’t make sense or didn’t seem realistic.

The premise was interesting. I wanted to know more about the concept of Royal Empaths. What exactly are their powers? Why do different people have different talents and which talents can people have? Why are the Empaths connected to India? However, we don’t get complete answers for any of these questions. I’m assuming that they’ll be answered in the next book.

I couldn’t find any reviews by Irish bloggers and I’m not Irish myself. In my opinion, the portrayal of Liam was very stereotypical, especially how he talked. It was also confusing that while reading his perspective he didn’t write the same way that he talked. His writing wasn’t stereotypically Irish. I don’t think it was realistic and I was cringing a lot while reading his perspective.

I thought that the Indian representation was okay but rather stereotypical. It was also kind of weird, because the author kept explaining Indian culture to the reader but didn’t do that with the Irish culture.

Liam gives Laxshmi a nickname that reminds her of an event that keeps making her sad, and because of this she doesn’t let anyone use the nickname. However, after Liam uses it a few times, she just lets him do it because him using it makes them connect. What? Why? I couldn’t understand this at all.

Laxshmi also admits that she avoids showing people her Indian side and Liam asks her if she means white people – the conversation reminded me of the many ‘reverse racism’ conversations I’ve had. It portrays Laxshmi as a mean person, which I found unfair considering that she confesses that she sometimes doesn’t feel like she can be herself in certain situations. As I mentioned above, I’ve been in similar conversations. I have also reacted similarly. However, erasing her insecurity is harmful. At least, a mention about her thoughts, if she’s insecure about confronting it.

I don’t mind instalove if the romance develops further and the characters realise that they do indeed fit to each other. However, it was pretty clear from the beginning that they are soulmates and they end up together without much development in the relationship area.

There were some unnecessary descriptors. One of the characters calls Laxshmi, “the exotic Laxshmi”. She does glare at him after doing this but it’s not clear from the context whether she’s embarassed or angry about the word exotic. I hate this word so much. Laxshmi discusses the word at a different part of the world but reasons that white girls are called “angelic”, thus I felt like the problematic connotation was erased. Some of the other phrases that I found jarring were “Zen Master BrennanSo what’s making you think you’ve gone mental?”“Will my craziness scare him away?”, “I’d commit social suicide” and “mad”.


I didn’t enjoy Soulmated that much as you can tell. If you like books about soulmates and don’t mind instalove stories, you might still enjoy this book.

Here’s an #ownvoices review: Hetal’s Review.

1-star
1 star

Have you read Soulmated? How do you feel about soulmate stories?

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3 thoughts on “Review: Soulmated – Shaila Patel

  1. I read a graphic novel many years ago which dealt with the same concept of soulmates following the idea of the red string. It was pretty good, mostly because it followed the characters over several years and also looked at other red string couples. However in general I think the concept of soulmates is often used in literature as a shorthand instead of actually developing a romance and showing how much work a good relationship takes.

    Like

    1. Yes, that’s my biggest problem with soulmate stories. I’m trying to think of one in which I liked the romance. The Star-Touched Queen is the only one that comes to mind, and that is because the premise and the progression to love is so intricate. There might be some more, but none that I can remember.

      Liked by 1 person

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