by Marjorie M Liu, fantasy (2007)
Leisure, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-8439-5766-2
Kitala Bell isn't just a world-renowned violin player, she can also foresee the violent death of anyone destined to meet such an end. For example, when the story opens, she is doing her thing on stage, as Randy Jackson would say on American Idol, when she "sees" a woman in the front row as a brutal victim of a murder. Despite knowing that she cannot do much to forestall the inevitable, Kit decides to try to help this woman. Maybe she can at least warn the woman to be careful... only to end up being dragged into the mess that the woman is involved with. Fortunately, Kit has an unexpected ally in her attempts to rescue that woman: a strange fellow named M'Cal who can steal your soul with just a touch.
Soul Song is Marjorie M Liu's take on the Disney cartoon of The Little Mermaid, I tell you, only with liberal doses of elements that are definitely not meant for a kiddie story. M'Cal is a merman and his personal Ursula is a witch who forces him to steal souls from unwary women for her own nefarious use. Kit is his current designated victim - but he can't steal her soul, can he?
Like other Dirk & Steele stories, Soul Song is filled with twists and turns that can sometimes be most unexpected, but this one is noticeably a bit less busy than some of the previous stories. But while Soul Song is a pretty enjoyable story, I find it quite dull especially when compared to other books by this author. This is mostly because the characters don't seem to be in love as much as they are putting themselves through the overplayed "I feel a bond between us from the start - that means it's love, hoo-hoo!" act typical of paranormal romances. M'Cal is so angst-ridden that I half-expect him to pull off his mask and reveal to Kit that he's actually Louis de Pointe du Lac in disguise. Although to be fair to M'Cal, he's much more active in trying to deal with his own issues than Louis can ever hope to be.
It's hard to say that Soul Song is a bad book because it is not one by any stretch of the imagination. The cover is very cheesy though, I'd give you that. If Soul Song is the first book by this author that I've read, there is no doubt in my mind that I will have a more favorable reaction to it. But I have read better from this author, and as a result, this book comes off rather disappointing. In other words, this is a pretty entertaining read, but it's definitely not one of the author's more interesting stories.
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