I feel bad writing anything less than a glowing review about this book, considering the raves it's been getting. My personal reviewing standard is this: three stars is "Ok or good," four stars is "so good I'd recommend it," and five stars is, "I loved it and I'm going to harass you to read it!"
For me, The Soulkeepers was a three star book. It was good, but my main problem is I never really felt connected with and emotionally invested in the characters. That said, G.P. Ching had one of the most inventive and amazingly different storylines I've ever read in YA. Just the part where Jacob finds out about the tree and what it actually is was enough to make me stop and say, "That's different!" There were plenty of moments that were really cool. The stories from the book of Enoch, the explanation of what the Nephilim and their descendants were, and Jacob's role as a Horsemen were all outside the standard YA paranormal fare. I appreciated that. I also like my books really clean, and this one pretty much was aside from a few curse words (in particular an over abundance of "what the h***" to the point I started to wonder if everyone had lost the ability to express shock in any other way.)
Jacob's romance with Malini was almost peripheral to the plot. I'm never one to turn down some romance, but I actually found myself thinking it wasn't necessary in this book. I guess the hardcore stare of the dude on the cover made me think there would be more demon butt-kicking or fighting the forces of darkness. Aside from one final battle in the land of Nod (again, an interesting take on a biblical reference), there wasn't much action.
There is definitely a spiritual undertone, specifically that everyone is capable of sin, and everyone is equally capable of seeking forgiveness and redemption. I liked finding out the truth about Dr. Silva's identity, and that of her cat Gideon. Still, I don't think I'm interested enough to find the sequel when it comes out.
*Review also posted on Amazon.com