Happy book birthday to Pahua and the Soul Stealer, the latest Rick Riordan Presents adventure by Lori M. Lee. We’re emerging from our deep read to drop some knowledge on human/spirit interactions.
Imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t go anywhere without bumping into a spirit or two. Welcome to the world of Pahua Moua, average Hmong-American preteen, except she’s been blessed (cursed?) with the ability to see any and all types of spirits, whether they be animal, vegetable, mineral, or even human. Since she’s been communing with them all her life, we can’t think of anyone better equipped to teach us how to act if we should ever encounter a spirit in the wild.
Remember, always get on their good side. A spirit can either be your best friend . . . or your worst nightmare.
The spirits of some humans can be super creepy, especially if they’re angry about something, but most are pretty harmless. Typically, the recently deceased will just stand around and wait for their souls to be released into Dab Teb, AKA the Spirit Realm. They can only cross over into Dab Teb after a proper funeral ritual.
“Human spirits are usually only tethered to a single location. My mom warned me never to talk to them or they might get too attached and start latching onto me. At this rate, though, that might be the only way I make friends in middle school.”
Unlike human spirits, animal spirits can wander around the earth as they please. Some, like Pahua’s spirit cat, can communicate in full sentences. But don’t expect the funny and charming talking animals you see in movies–they can be kind of snarky and rude.
“While I’m grateful that Miv doesn’t need a litter box and he doesn’t shed or anything, I can’t help but fantasize sometimes about having a cat that doesn’t criticize my fashion choices.”
House spirits take a variety of different forms. They represent things we often take for granted, such as doors, fireplaces, and stovetops. In exchange for protecting your home and providing warmth, food, and shelter, house spirits only expect that you’ll pay tribute to them each morning.
“Yeah, it can be annoying to start every day by lighting incense in order to thank your bathroom door for all the hard work it does. But trust me, the next time a dragon tries to break into your apartment, you’ll be glad you did.”
It might not be easy at first to tell the difference between a harmless spirit and an evil one. If they start speaking to you in a creepy whisper and staring at you with cold, black eyes, that could be a sign. If your body begins to grow cold, that may be another sign. If they possess your little brother and steal his—
“Okay, they get it. Listen, it is NOT HARD to tell when you’ve encountered an evil spirit. The best advice I can give you is, turn back and run. Immediately. You won’t be prepared for what happens next, believe me.”
Want to learn more about what Pahua is talking about? Be sure to pick up Pahua and the Soul Stealer, on sale now.