Review of ‘Prelude for Lost Souls’ (Prelude for Lost Souls #1)

prelude for lost souls
Prelude for Lost Souls by Helen Dunbar
Sourcebooks Fire
Image Source: Edelweiss

Prelude for Lost Souls centers around the small town of St. Hilaire, a spiritualist community full of mediums. It follows Dec, Annie, and Russ, who are all brought together by a mysterious musical composition.

Splitting between three different perspectives, Prelude for Lost Souls follows these characters as fate brings them together. While interesting, it seems as though the story is two stories instead of one making it just a little distracting on the reader. Dec and Annie have their story about the musical composition. They are working on completing this melody while Russ is trying hard to prove to the council that he should be the next student leader as he enters into his senior year. They are brought together by the piece of music, but Russ does not seem to fit into their narrative as much as one would hope.

Split Stories

The problem is Dec’s story is more about finding an escape from this town, and Annie is his escape; in fact, her music was his escape before she ever landed in their town on a broken train. Their narratives fit in together because they have so much in common, and Russ lingers on the edges of the story, like a third wheel.

Nevertheless, there is something beautiful about the prose. The ghosts and the music tie the story together in such a way that the reader can almost put these two stories together. By the end, it is easy to see how they work together to make one whole story, creating a beautiful piece of work.

The reader is drawn in by the ghosts and by this mysterious and incomplete musical composition. Dunbar’s fantastic detailing allows the reader to hear the haunting music while reading. It is magical how the story unfolds this piece of music, bringing together the characters, drawing the reader in.

The complexities surrounding the characters also engage the reader. Dec is still reeling from the death of his parents, unraveling the mysteries behind it and how he survived. Annie is reeling from the death of her teacher, trying to complete his last work. Then there is Russ who is trying to become a stronger medium while dealing with his feelings for Dec and the ghost of a boy who haunts only him. There is much intrigue in their dynamics and develop so it is interesting to see it unfold in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Prelude for Lost Souls is ultimately an enjoyable read. It haunts the reader just as the music haunts the characters, drawing them into the mystery and fantasy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020Page Count: 384ppAge Range: 14 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-4926-6737-7Publisher: Sourcebooks FireList Price: $17.99

Prelude for Lost Souls


Writing Quality


Character Development


"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


Intellectual Depth





  • Haunting story development
  • Good dynamics
  • Interesting bittersweet story development


  • Feels like there are two stories going on instead of one.
  • Russ initially doesn't seem to fit.

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