Book Reviews

For Our Soul

“For Our Soul” is a powerful and moving story about a young boy named Aahan who, after losing his parents at a young age and becoming responsible for his younger sister, tragically meets an untimely end. But his journey doesn’t end there. In the afterlife, Aahan meets five other individuals and together they embark on a journey of self-discovery and redemption. Through their journey, they come to understand the value of life and the importance of doing good deeds. This book is a deeply emotional and thought-provoking tale that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page. It illustrates the power of the human spirit to overcome even the most difficult of circumstances and the importance of leaving a positive impact on the world.

There’s an important distinction between faith and religion, and it’s one that is particularly pertinent to For Our Soul, by Rashidul Huda. It’s a story about the afterlife and faith in God, but not about the doctrines in religion. As the author notes in the book’s preface, the version of the afterlife presented in this novel is combined from various religions. If you practise a particular religion, you may find this approach contradicts your dogma. But dogma aside, For Our Soul is a book about faith. It is a book about a higher power, and its characters facing judgement after their lives draw to an end.

The book tells the story of protagonist Aahan, whose life found him responsible for looking after his younger sister after losing their parents. Upon finding himself confused and alone in the afterlife, he soon befriends five others, all of whom have recently lost their lives. Kiada was a musician in her life, and acts as a leader to those she looks after in the afterlife. Eree was a high school student before her death, and finds herself in a state of shock. Rafele, who struggled to connect with people during life, determines he must connect with others during the afterlife. Brummel was a crime lord during his time on Earth, but finds himself reckoning with his past actions after his death. And Mirai was a young girl who, after losing her life, desperately wishes to be reunited with her parents.

Each of these six characters is clearly fleshed out. They each have their faults, they each have their saving graces. A large part of For Our Soul is dedicated to not just establishing these characters, but exploring them in depth. Though the majority of the book is focused on them in the afterlife, various chapters flash back to their time on Earth, showing their histories, and showing some of the mistakes they made in their lives. It’s a great device that serves the characters well and adds to the book’s heart. However, I wish the book spent more time on this, taking the characters even further, adding extra depth to them and their stories. In doing so, it could have drawn more emotion from their stories, making something that feels all the more resonant.

Taking such an approach to the backstories would undoubtedly add to For Our Soul’s length. At 183 pages in paperback (or an estimated 185 pages on Kindle), it’s not a long book, and the extra length would have added to its effect. The book moves at a gradual pace as it takes the time to explore these characters, which works to its advantage, and slowing it down further would add to its impact. It never feels too slow, as the plot moves quickly, despite the pace. The plot itself is light, but serves its purpose, as For Our Soul is about its characters and its messages about faith.

Faith plays a large part in the book’s fabric, with the story being a number of intertwined morality tales. While it isn’t explicitly based on any religion or its dogma, it stresses the importance of faith throughout it, and following God’s word, regardless of which religion you may or may not subscribe to. Through this are messages of living your life to the fullest, and looking after those who need your support. While some of For Our Soul’s messages are purely positive, the book takes a number of black and white stances based on the faith it presents. Characters see where their life has gone wrong, accepting their mistakes. While these are often relatable, other examples are less so. One example being where a character sees why she was murdered and accepting it as her fault. Her actions were wrong (though how wrong, I’ll leave to the reader), but taking responsibility for her murder is victim blaming.

While I endeavour to avoid spoilers in my reviews, I need to touch upon some examples of the book’s dealings with mental health in relation to its focus on faith. The book provides a sympathetic view of a character with depression, but undercuts the impact of his mental health by having him be judged for this condition having distracted him from his life and faith. Later in the book, characters are judged on being sound of mind, with the inference being that no matter how kind they are, if they suffer from mental health issues, they will be judged accordingly. Suicide also plays a role in the book, which takes the view it’s a mortal sin. A character who suicided is judged according to this stance, with neither God nor the other characters in the book seeing this as a complex issue or offering compassion. While For Our Soul states that judgement will take people’s histories into consideration, why they do what they do, rather than simply those actions, there is little evidence of it in its text. While this will no doubt align with some readers’ view of faith, it will leave those of us who don’t share those convictions a little cold.

This is a brisk read that I easily finished in a single sitting. It reads quicker than its page count suggests, thanks to the style of the writing. The prose lacks a certain amount of colour, which could have made the writing pop a little more, but its tone feels reminiscent of a fable, which works nicely with the underlying morality tales. The dialogue fits with this tone, though doesn’t feel entirely natural, with some of the conversations feeling a little stilted. Despite these preferences, the writing is clear and concise, and well edited, making it very easy to follow.

For Our Soul is a book full of interesting characters that work well, and it ensures that you feel for them, but more depth in a slightly longer story would have elevated their stories. At its heart, this is a book that champions doing the right thing by yourself and others. If your view of faith aligns with the book’s, you’ll find a lot to love through its messaging; however, if it doesn’t, you might struggle with some of its moral stances.

Favourite Passage

But as they walked, they couldn’t help but wonder what could have caused such a happy soul to die. They were terrified at the thought that death didn’t discriminate. Mirai had been dead even before she had a chance to really live. It wasn’t fair, nut that’s how things seemed to be. Existence was unfair. They couldn’t even begin to imagine what her parents must have been going through for her in the living world.

For Our Soul, Chapter 15: “Mirai”

For Our Soul was  provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.

For Our Soul is available in paperback and Kindle, exclusive to Amazon.

You can follow Rashidul Huda online, via:

Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

Interested in purchasing For Our Soul?

Please find a link below; please note I do not collect any proceeds from the sale.

For Our Soul

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