Today, I have for you a review of Pledged, an interview with Gwynneth White and the characters Seth & Erin, and a giveaway of the book.
Pleged (Soul Wars Saga #1)
by Gwynneth White
Publication: June 13, 2012
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords
Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you?
Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient curse is tearing him away. And the demons who invoked it will stop at nothing – even murder – to claim him as their own. How can she win against a curse so binding that it has damned countless others to this same fate – an eternity alone? The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a pledge.
Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya and confront the curse that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.
This story has a great premise. Erin and Seth are soulmates who have recently found each other only to enter an ancient battle for love. Seth's visions bring the two of them together, but a promise keeps him from fully dedicating himself to a cause he agreed to fight for before his birth. It's epic, and it's exciting. Because of this, I really wish that more background information was incorporated into the beginning of the story since I felt lost for much of the story until it all came together. With the past and present timelines being given to us at the same time, it gets a bit confusing, though I did enjoy seeing Erin and Seth's reactions to the past.
Although they are soulmates, Seth and Erin and all of their friends from before they were born (weird, isn't it?) don't fall in love with their respective soulmates immediately. Erin is ready to embrace her destiny, but Seth is conflicted by his life experiences and his sense of honor won't let him choose a girl that he just met (Erin) over his brother (Kyle). Their friends all face their own struggles in love with the constrains of society and the expectations of their family.
Still, the story does run a bit smoothly in places. When Seth and Erin are about to make a bad decision or when they don't know what to do, one of the Guardians is always there to guide them. I understand that the Guardians exist as a conscious of sorts to help their wards take the right path, but I would have liked to see Seth and Erin figure out more things by themselves instead of being told what to do. The older Guardians do have a bit of a self-righteous feel about them.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to seeing what book two has in store for us!
What inspired Seth and Erin's story?
It was a process. The soul mates came first because I love the concept that we knew and loved our life partners before we were born. That really resonates with me, so it was an obvious choice for inclusion when I started writing a novel.
Then came the demons and angels . . . While I was writing one of the many drafts of Pledged, my mother contracted cancer. (I wrote much of the Soul Wars Saga – of which Pledged is the first book – at her bedside.) After she died, it seemed like I heard her voice in my head, encouraging me to put my grief aside and finish the series. Thus the involvement of the dead – angels and demons – was born.
And finally the time travel? Well, at first Pledged was set in ancient times, but I decided it needed a modern twist. Enter Seth and Erin. They came busting onto the scene, diamond Seer-Stone in hand. The Seer-Stone enabled them to time travel. So I guess the creation of Pledged reflects the many layers contained in the actual story.
What do you find the most endearing about the two?
I love Erin’s fiery optimism. She never lets things get her down for long. Also, she’s the first to fight for what she believes is right. I admire that in her.
And Seth? Always a peacemaker, he has a gentleness of spirit, which I love. But Seth is a bit guarded too – life did that to him - so he hides behind a dry sense of humour.
If you got to hang out with Seth and Erin for a day, where would you go and what would you do?
If I had caught up with Seth before he met Erin, we’d have hung out at his home in New York. (He shares a tiny apartment in Brooklyn with his older brother Kyle.) We’d have spent the day shooting hoops, watching old movies, and eating pizza. But since Erin arrived in his life, that’s changed. We would have visited Erin in Cape Town (He’s grown to like southern Africa). The three of us would climb Table Mountain (Seth’s athletic, but he’d have to drag Erin, huffing and puffing, up after him.) Then we’d have dinner – still pizzas or burgers - followed by an evening at a nouveau movie. Erin does drama and she loves cultural things. Seth would make sure you got a balance of that too. After all, he and Erin are soul mates – a truth he learnt at great personal cost – and keeping her happy is important to him.
I would have had a totally different day with Erin. She would have taken me to London. I (and Seth) would have yawned my (our) way through the Natural History Museum, followed by the British Museum, then the Victoria and Albert, with maybe a few art galleries thrown in before Seth took pity on me (and himself) and suggested dinner. More pizzas or burgers because now it’s Erin’s turn to compromise. (She would have preferred a meal of real English food served in a pub). The evening would be spent at a rock concert. Coldplay. Or Muse. Maybe The Killers if they were in town.
Seth & Erin
Erin: “Hey, Kris, thanks for inviting us over.”
Seth: “We believe you have some questions for us?”
Kris: Why, yes, I do! First, would you tell us a little about yourselves for the readers? Such as where you're from and what hobbies you have.
*Seth gives Erin a haunted look.*
Erin: *giggles* “Kris, Seth is really not that keen on talking about himself, but I told him he had no choice but to come. After all, he’s part of the reason we’re here. If he hadn’t dumped me for the demons, we wouldn’t have had a story to tell.”
Kris: I'm glad that you got him to come over. After all, there wouldn't be a story without the two of you--or all that all stuff happening.
Seth: *musses Erin’s hair* “And she’ll never let me forget it. Kris, don’t let the fact that Erin is small and pretty deceive you, she’s a real little fighter.”
Erin: “And Seth is the exact opposite! He hates conflict. In fact, for two soul mates, we couldn’t be more different. I come from Cape Town, in South Africa, and Seth is a New Yorker-”
Seth: *interrupts* “Born in Rochester, but after my parents died, my brother and I moved to Brooklyn. He’s older than me.”
Erin: “Seth’s brother is the reason we met. And the reason Seth chose Reuel over me.”
Kris: *raises eyebrow*
Seth: *gives wry smile* “Like I said, she’s not forgetting anytime soon. So, moving on . . . Kris wants to know about our hobbies.”
Erin: *looking serious* “I’m a total bookworm – especially non-fiction. I know that sound totally weird for a teenager, but I love knowing things. And I do calligraphy and drama. So, I suppose I’m a bit of a nerd.”
Seth: “You? A nerd. No way. I would never be soul mates with a nerd. You just happen to be a walking encyclopaedia. A cute one, but still a walking encyclopaedia.
Erin: “Cute? Is that all? *clutches hair* “It must be my stupid curls.”
Seth: “It’s not your curls” *whispers* “How many times must I tell you that I love your curls?”
Erin: *looking embarrassed* “Seth, I think we’re straying from the subject. Kris wants to know about your hobbies.”
Seth: “Yeah. She does.” *clears throat* “I’m a pretty sporty guy, so I like basketball (It helps being tall). And I draw, really well. And I love watching movies – especially ones with lots of CGI.”
Kris: I need calligraphy classes. I'm on the computer so often nowadays that my handwriting has deteriorated. My preschool teacher would be shocked at how horribly it turned out after all that time she spent making me copy the pages of the children's version of Moby Dick when all I wanted to do was read it. What was the first thought that came into mind when you first met each other?
Seth: *looking sheepish* “To be honest, Erin’s legs. She’s got great legs. And her face. She’s got the kind of face Vermeer would have killed to paint.”
Erin: “Vermeer? Seth, you know who Vermeer is?”
Seth: “Don’t look so stunned, Erin. You’re not the only one who knows a whole lot of worthless stuff.”
Erin: “But how do you know Vermeer?”
Seth: *rolls eyes* “I’m headed to Art School in the Fall, remember. So of course I know Vermeer. And a whole lot of other artists too.”
Erin: *looking worried* “Fall . . . hmmm. I hope we’ve escaped from Reuel and the demons by then.”
Seth: “Hey . . . for once can you forget about Reuel?” *grins* “After all, you’re supposed to be telling Kris what you thought when you first saw me. And I wouldn’t mind knowing that answer myself.”
Erin: *looking coy* “When I first saw you, I thought I knew from somewhere . . . like an echo from the past.”
Seth: “No you weren’t! You were so busy checking me out in the present to be worrying about weird echoes from the past.”
Erin: “You got that right! Kris, in case you haven’t noticed, Seth is HOT.”
Kris: (thinking) Am I supposed to say that out loud in front of the two of you?
Seth: *looking embarrassed* “So changing the subject . . .
Kris: (out loud) How about you name five other traits you associate with each other--besides physical appearances? Talk about your relationship *winks*
Erin: *bites lip* “Wow . . . only five-”
Seth: *interrupts* “Erin is: fiery, brave, loyal, beautiful, mine.”
Erin: *looking smug* “Seth is: loyal (to the wrong person) gentle, a peacemaker, a good negotiator, a great kisser!”
Seth: “Oh, jeez!”
Erin: “It’s true. And I guess that brings us to Kris's next question.”
Seth: “How we would describe our relationship? Tough one. If you’d asked me that question when I first met Erin I would have said she was amazing-”
Erin: *interrupts* “But the minute he learnt he was my soul mate he dumped me.”
Seth: “It’s funny how it’s only after you’ve lost something that you realise how precious it is to you.”
Erin: “Are you talking about me? Or some other arbitrary thing you lost?”
Kris *stiffles laughter*
Seth: “You. Always you.”
Kris: Aww... how sweet.
Erin: *sticks her tongue out at Seth* “Well, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that I love you.”
Seth: *musses her hair*
Kris: So... what is your favorite memory with each other?
Seth: “Right, Kris, we forgot about you for a moment there. My favourite memory of Erin? The moment I realised I was in love with her. And then she had to ruin it all by fighting with me.”
Kris: *raises eyebrow* I sense a story behind this.
Erin: *rolls eyes* “I can’t believe you brought that up.”
Seth: *grins* “Answer the question.”
Erin: “My favourite memory was seeing Seth’s face when I told him I knew he loved me. It was classic. Remember, Seth?”
Kris: How sweet of you *all smiles*
Seth: “I’m hardly likely to forget that. Or what came after it.” *hugs Erin*
Erin: “And that kind of brings us to Kris’s final question.”
Kris: *dramatic-like* Where would you go and what would you do when you finally have a day free of all evil?
*Seth and Erin exchange knowing smiles*
Seth: “You tell her.”
Erin: “We’d go back to the same room in the Fortress in Shenaya where we first kissed. That little room has become my – our – happy place.”
Seth: “Crazy, hey? You’d think we would go to Paris, or Rio, or somewhere cool. But, yeah, back to the place where we both agreed we were soul mates. It’s special.”
Kris: Hey, it's a place of memories for the two of you, and that's worth more than all the big cities in the world.
Erin: Kris, thanks for having us on your blog and we hope we’ve done your awesome questions justice.”
Seth: “And that you and your readers know us a bit better.”
I have spent my entire life living in a parallel universe of make-believe characters, only coming back to reality for long enough to check that no one burnt the house down in my absence. A few years ago I decided to commit some of those ‘friends’ and their stories to paper. The ‘Soul Wars Saga’ comprising ‘Pledged’, ‘Sacrificed’ and ‘Saved’ is the result of those efforts. Before that I co-authored two non-fiction travel books – ‘The Complete Guide to 4x4 Trails’ and ‘The Ultimate 4x4 Guide’. Both books became instant best-sellers in South Africa where I live. And before that even, I studied a degree in African History and Politics at the University of Stellenbosch. When I’m not writing, I am a wife to Andrew and a mom to Stephanie, Erin, and Kate, our teenage daughters. My family and I live in a small town outside Cape Town with two dogs, a cat, a horse, and some neglected fish.
To enter, follow Imaginary Reads and leave a meaningful comment on the interview. Extra entries for tweeting about the giveaway and commenting on my review of Pledged. Then fill out the form below. Do not leave your email in the comments section.
a Rafflecopter giveaway