Lost Souls by Ryan Skeffington - Book Review

Series: Infinite Existence (Book #1)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Grimdark

Pages: 258 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: October14th, 2023 by Independently Published

Review Date: 01/03/2024

Tags: #ryanskeffington #sci-fi #grimdark #indie

Lost Souls is a mesmerizing indie sci-fi debut that must be read now! An epic beginning that is visceral, emotional, and brutal. 

I also want to thank Ryan Skeffington for sending me a copy of this book to review!


Lost Souls is another book that found its way to me through the interwebs of Twitter/X. The author, Ryan Skeffington, commented on a post of mine where I was talking about an upcoming Indieverse (where I highlight new and upcoming indie books) video. It was here that Ryan and I chatted a little bit about his debut sci-fi novel that had interested from my very first glance of the cover.

To me, the cover looked like a mashup of Power Rangers and Halo which I was 100% digging. I am a huge Halo fan playing all the games and when I found out that Lost Souls involved a society living on a Halo like ring, I was hooked. Then about a week later, Ryan made a post comparing Lost Souls to Cyberpunk Edgerunners for having tragic characters, fast pacing, body modification, and a brutal life for those left behind.

I am also a huge Cyberpunk 2077 fan and really enjoyed the Edgerunners show so Ryan saying there was some inspiration from Halo AND Edgerunners, I was even MORE hooked. If I was a fish, I would be caught on 10+ hooks.

This is all before I have even read a single word from Lost Souls but I was more than ready to check it out. Did it live up to my internal hype? Well, you can see below how it turned out.


Lost Souls is Ryan Skeffington’s sci-fi indie debut coming in right around 250 pages. Lost Souls is the beginning of the Infinite Existence series with Skeffington currently writing the sequel which is called Eternal Dreams.

After completing book number one in this series, I absolutely need book number two ASAP!

Other than knowing what this book was inspired by and Skeffington comparing it to Cyberpunk Edgerunners, I really had no clue what this series was about.

This might be surprising, but I rarely read a books description in it’s entirety. I usually read a sentence or two of the description, any blurbs, and of course my eyes devour the cover.

I love blurbs on books which I am sure most people do but it really helps me get a good gist of what to expect when diving into a book. On the Lost Souls back cover, there is a fantastic blurb by a U.S. Space Force Officer describing the book as “A heart-wrenching sci-fi thriller that ends with bang!”

Now that I have finished this book, I can for sure confirm that this is a fantastic blurb that highlights what to expect at a very high level. I also think it’s funny that this blurb came from someone in the Space Force with the story taking place…in space!

Halo, Cyberpunk, Power Rangers??? I was more than ready start this book.


“Living on the premier Ring, Maximus, a brilliant engineer, hungers for more than the monotony of daily existence mandated to him by those that control the Ring. The relentless pursuit of Infinite Existence is a collective purpose assigned to all, but for Maximus, it's a hollow dream that leaves his soul yearning for its own legacy. Determined to escape his repetitive life, Maximus seeks out a destiny that will offer his life significance.”

Lost Souls opens up with one of the most visceral scenes of coming out of cryogenic sleep I have ever read. You quickly come to grasp the tone of this book within the first few sentences.

Just like the main POV in the first chapter, we are abruptly brought into a cold and unforgiving world that makes you question, am I human or am I just a number?

Forty five pages into Lost Souls, I became in love with the book being presented with some of the best immediate world building and character development I have read in a long time. There was a handful of characters that you are introduced to within the first couple chapters with each one having a connection together in someway.

You know that meme of Leonardo DiCaprio snapping and pointing a TV? Well, my mind was having this exact reaction through multiple scenes when being introduced to our distinct cast of characters.

When reading through Lost Souls, my mind broke it into three distinct sections being foundation, progress, and fall.


In the first third of Lost Souls, world building was put to the absolute max. “Max”…see what I did there? (Our main character’s name is Max). In the beginning portion of this book, we meet a distinct cast of characters, become introduced to this class based society living on the the Rings, and learn a little bit about the resource that makes almost all of this possible, Xantium.

This is a class based society where thousands of people are living in the shadows of the elites being called Celestials and Phantoms. The people living in the dredges of society do not benefit at all from technology advancements that Xantium has made possible. It is common for the people at the bottom of this society to sell years of their life in exchange for extra food or even oxygen.

In this section, we also learn more about our main character and his burning passion to better the existence of all that lives on the Ring. It was also interesting to see Max’s POV on the current situation of living on the Ring compared against the “reality” of what actually was going on. This allowed for some very early on character growth for our main POV that progressed throughout the story.

I also loved the character relationships founded within this section of the book that all felt realistic, especially a relationship between a father and son.

In this section, Skeffington also touched on many levels of grief and loss that was tough to read. Tough to read in a good way as I think it is amazing to see a real human emotion captured so beautifully within a sci-fi story. Pain does not fade away when turning to the next page within a book, it is all consuming and requires time, a lot of time. I love how Skeffington does not simply gloss over this emotional state with a character that simply picks themselves up by their bootstraps and moves on.

In addition to all this goodness, we also have badass arena gladiator duel scenes that are brutal and so much fun to read.


In the second third of this book, I picked up on somewhat of a different tone compared to the first chunk of this book. I know the genre “grimdark” is fluid in terms of the actual definition but I like the way that another indie author, EJ Doble, defined it for me being a state where there is more desperation than hope.

In this section of the book I found there to be a lot more hope present from multiple characters within our story. We have a mission, we have a purpose, we are learning, we are training, and we have a burning desire to progress.

We learn a ton more about how the rings work within this section, especially the mystifying resource of Xantium.

Like a seed budding out of the ground, hope was inching itself up within the narrative. Yes, there were still struggles present but our characters still progressed forward. The idea of rebellion was spreading like a spiderweb sticking to more and more people.

Then answers were given abruptly that served as a turning point in the narrative.


The last third of Lost Souls was easily the most action packed with multiple cinematic scenes that will stick in my head for a very long time. In this section we have duels, we have battles, and we have goliath flying beasts that are extremely imposing.

All the work and training that we prepared for in the second chunk of this book came into fruition in this section with some very bloody outcomes.

Going back to the definition of grimdark I mentioned above, in this section, unfortunately despair reigned supreme. Blinded by rage, the original goal and passion of some of our characters is lost. This last chunk reminded me of the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith movie and Red Rising’s Golden Son, the second book in the Red Rising series.

Now this is where I have my only problem with this book. This section came too quickly for me leaving me thinking that there wasn’t enough done or seen that makes this sudden character arc change so violently.

Imagine if Luke Skywalker decided to join in the Dark Side in the last 15 minutes of the movie without seeing that many reasons why. You would be like “wait, what just happened”? I personally think that maybe another 20 or 25 pages of exposition would help me better cope with the dramatic change of events to better understand and emphasize with a particular character.

Overall, I think Lost Souls was an amazing grimdark sci-fi debut by an author with a very great future ahead of him. There is so much to love in this book that just left me wanting more. Skeffington…give us MORE!

I rate Lost Souls 4.6 out of 5 stars and recommend to any sci-fi or grimdark fantasy fan. Like a hammer pounding in a nail, Lost Souls is now hammered into my brain 🧠🔨.

I am so looking forward to the next entry in the series.

“Existence here is suffering, nothing more, nothing less. It is, however, better than the alternative.”

Also, I have a Patreon that is completely open for new members where I will place your name at the bottom of all future reviews and in all future videos. No pressure at all, I can’t thank you enough for simply reading this review and watching my videos. You ROCK!

Thank you to my Patrons

“Your name here!”