REVIEW: ‘We Sold Our Souls’ Paperback Edition From Quirk Books

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We Sold Our Souls is a novel published by Quirk Books and written by Grady Hendrix. It follows Kris, an ex-metalhead guitarist who now works as a receptionist at a Best Western. But when she picks up her guitar again for the first night in years after a rough shift, something awakens in her. Now, as her former bandmate, Terry Hunt, begins his final tour, ending in Las Vegas, Kris tries to rally up her other former bandmates to determine what exactly happened all those years ago.

All of them realize there are hours of the night they signed their contracts that are missing from their memories. But a terrible encounter with one of her former bandmates leaves her shocked and asking the question: What did Terry do to him? In her quest to stop Hellstock 19′, the farewell tour for Terry, she gets broken, beaten, drugged, and betrayed by those she trusted. However, with the notes of her own band’s, Dürt Würk, album “Troglodyte” bumping through her veins, Kris is determined to get her soul back, stop Terry, and the evil that is Black Iron Mountain even if it takes one pebble at a time.

We Sold Our Souls is marketed as a horror novel set within the chaotic world of heavy metal. Chapters are named after defying metal songs including “Master of Puppets” from Metallica and “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You” by ACDC. I am not a die-hard fan of metal nor a musician myself, so I cannot speak on how accurate the portrayals of the dingy clubs, club promoters, and dive bar performances are.

However, even with the supernatural elements of the book, We Sold Our Souls feels like a loving ode to the musical genre. The book brilliantly defines metal and why the genre resonates with so many people. At one point Kris says, “Blues were about the pain and struggle of living inside Black Iron Mountain. Metal showed you the door.” That definition alone made me empathize and understand why the music defines them.

We Sold Our Souls cover for its hardcover edition

Kris’ character is tough as nails and has clearly been molded by the long, drunken nights leaning over her guitar putting out life-changing rifts. Kris is never really sexualized but also never feels like “one of the boys.” She is sure of herself as a woman and a metal-head guitarist. In her own words, “A girl with a guitar never has to apologize for anything.” Her character is determined and even in the face of danger while being gaslit by those she never loses hope in herself and her album, “Troglodyte.”

The horror she goes through in We Sold Our Souls is gut-wrenching. Kris watches people she cares about die in the pursuit of stopping the mysterious but ever-present Black Iron Mountain. However, the book is never scary and while the body horror described is well done, calling it a horror novel seems like a stretch.

The only major issue I had with the book was the sexual assault that is described toward the end. The assault itself is portrayed in the book to be a consequence of the Black Iron Mountain’s power and the men would have never done this if the hole in the world from this demon-like diety didn’t exist. In addition to being uncomfortable to read, the assault of the secondary main character of the book is there for shock value and never to further her narrative, despite her being a big part of not only Kris’ story but the book as a whole.

Overall, We Sold Our Souls is a thrilling journey that dedicates its pages to the heart and soul of metal. It is a book for anyone who feels beaten down by the oppressive forces of the world but lets the sounds of Metallica and Slayer soothe them after a long day. If you are looking for a horror novel this might be a bit tame but if you are a fan of the musical genre it’s well worth the trip to hell.

We Sold Our Souls is available now wherever books are sold

We Sold Our Souls
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TL;DR

Overall, We Sold Our Souls is a thrilling journey that dedicates its pages to the heart and soul of metal. It is a book for anyone who feels beaten down by the oppressive forces of the world but lets the sounds of Metallica and Slayer soothe them after a long day. If you are looking for a horror novel this might be a bit tame but if you are a fan of the musical genre it’s well worth the trip to hell.