The official blurb:
‘Soulmates do exist. But not as you think. Every so often to people are born who are the perfect match for one another. Soulmates.
But what if meeting your soulmate is earth-shattering – literally?
An epic electrifying and extraordinary debut about falling in love’
Sigh. I hate to say it, but this book, in my opinion, was really not very good at all. I expected so much. I think that might be the biggest issue I had with this book. Having had my mind blown by Bourne’s second novel ‘The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting’ I thought that Bourne’s burst into the literary world, her grand entrance, would be even better – but sadly I was proved wrong.
‘Soulmates’ is a book that, though the blurb does not give much away, has a spectacular plot concept! The story is based around the idea that Soulmates do exist, but when a pair meets, the chemical reaction between them is so strong that it their hormones can cause storms, earthquakes and huge life-threatening natural disasters. There is a secret government facility that works to frantically try to prevent these soulmate disasters from happening. This plotline, combined with my history with Bourne is what sold the book to me.
The story is told through a first person perspective from one half of two Soulmates, 17 year old Poppy Lawson, as well as an interesting occasional third person extracts of the actions of those running the government facility.
This is where the goodness ends.
For starters, this fantastic, awesome, mindblowing idea of a plotline fell absolutely flat on its face. It’s a firework that never goes off. We spend a long 450 pages listening to Poppy Lawson whine on and on about how ‘Oooh Nooo… I’m in love! But I can’t be in loooove, I can’t actually like a boy! I am such a feminist!’ Poppy is one of these irritatingly strong-minded characters who seems to think that if she shows so much as a wink of affection for a member of the opposite sex then she has tainted the rights of women everywhere and is no longer a true feminist. Poppy had lots of likable qualities, her bitter confidence and sarcasm were amusing and interesting at times, but I feel, at least for me, this was broadly overshadowed by her sheer close-mindedness.
Within those 480 pages we also explore Poppy’s blossoming relationship with her soulmate, local bad-boy, Noah. Noah’s in a band, a very tortured soul - Their eyes meet across a crowded room, one of his gigs actually, and of course, the attraction is instant.
As a hopeless romantic myself, I enjoyed Noah and Poppy’s grand gestures and first steps immensely… at first. However, they’d been going out for one week, 200 pages, when the ‘I-love-you-I-need-you-please-never-leave-me’s started spouting and it all just got a bit… sickening. We get it. You like each other, you really don’t have to describe, in detail, every single time he blinks, coughs or looks at you. I mean, I’m not love-expert, but when they started speaking about how their children would look everything seemed a little unbelievable. There were no subplots, just the batting of eyelashes and a weirdly excessive amount of lust.
I pressed on, wondering if the last 50 pages could save the book for me but… no. I feel like Bourne wrote the majority of the book in a rose-scented haze and only snapped out if it to write the ending when her publisher started phoning up, gabbing about deadlines and delivery dates. It is only in the ending of the book that the idea of the government facility actually comes properly in to play but with the rest of the novel styled as a contemporary romance, this seemed more than a little out of place. It was rushed, random and sadly, I didn’t like it.
However, that’s not to say this book was entirely unlikable, in fact, I have read many reviews of people who thought the romance was, sweet, and well-thought-out with the twist at the end exciting the reader a suitable amount and tying a nice red ribbon around the story as a whole – but that’s not how it was for me.
For me ‘Soulmates’ was a two star book which should have been a five and without any substantial subplot or character depth other than the two soulmate’s deep unending love for each other it just didn’t cut it for me.
Three Word Rating: eh, okay, mediocre