The Sounding by Carrie Salo

Rating 8.3/10
The Sounding is a well thought-through novel that really pays off in the end.

The Sounding, a supernatural and apocalyptic-themed story, is the debut novel of Carrie Salo.

In the Book of Revelation, a man named John has a prophetic dream. He dreams of the final prophecies that will come to pass – and the seven archangels that guard them. Each angel waits to sound their trumpet at God’s appointed time, preparing humanity to fight and win the final battle.

2,000 years later, Father Chris Mognahan is a member of the Hetairia Melchizedek, a secret society within the Catholic Church that studies Biblical omens. The society asks Chris to investigate an unusually grotesque crime – a murder on a college campus where the killer's hand literally burned off the victim's face. While the killing seems isolated at first, the society ties the murder to the final Biblical prophecy and a terrifying omen that the order of the prophecies is about to be disrupted. The final battle is coming too soon – long before humanity is prepared to win it.

Suddenly, Chris finds himself fighting against time and hell to keep the prophecies in order and stop an early Armageddon. He is joined by a band of unlikely allies, and together they find themselves in Rome above the Vatican Necropolis – the city of the dead – where the future is revealed to them in ancient texts.

They are not alone, however; an evil as old as time itself hunts them. As they travel across continents on their mission, the demonic force follows relentlessly, waiting in every shadowed corner, and every dark place.

As Armageddon descends, Father Chris finds that his only hope lies in a young woman within the group who has a secret gift – and their belief that God Himself may have sent her to keep the final angelic trumpet from sounding out the early end of the Earth.

I was first drawn to Carrie Salo's The Sounding by its synopsis. Having not previously read any Church-based/apocalyptic-themed books (even Dan Brown) before I thought this would be a good place to start. And it proved to be a very good, and a very interesting story. The Sounding's storyline has me gripped early, with both the events that occur and Salo’s way of writing made for an enthralling story.

Extensive world building, which is found in most fantasy novels, was unnecessary here as events takes place in the real world. And Salo cleverly uses the places visited, such as churches and catacombs, to create just the right ambience necessary for a supernatural thriller. I found these places really creepy, for example, when a demonic force is following Father Chris and Elise the description of this event is brilliant, with the flicker of shadows, the tapping of nails and finally, the revealing of the features which really played with my imagination (and forced me to sleep with the light on that night!).

As well as creating a wonderful ambiance Salo also puts a lot of effort into character creation. In particular you see Elise evolve during the story, and as she matures you her become at peace with her destiny, although not always without a fight. In Elise, the author manages to show both the innocent and ruthless side of her persona.

What I did not expect from The Sounding was the amount of plot twists and turns. When I first started reading I got a certain feel for the flow of the story and I thought I knew how it might all turn out but I soon came to realise that I was wrong, Salo keeps you guessing until the very end of the story.

The Sounding is a well thought-through novel that really pays off in the end, it is a great read and a debut novel that shines. Carrie Salo has a real gift for storytelling. Recommended.

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