Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu

From the back cover:

Against her will, Kitala Bell foresees the future. But only deaths, and only violent.

Kitala's own future is in peril. From the ocean's depths rises an impossible blend of fantasy and danger, a creature whose voice is seduction incarnate, whose song can manipulate lives the way that Kitala herself manipulates the strings of her violin...even to the point of breaking. He is a prince of the sea, an enigma-a captive stretched to the limit of his endurance by a woman intent on using him for the purest evil. And when survival requires he and Kitala form a closer partnership than either has ever known, the price of their bond will threaten not just their lives but the essence of their very souls.

I was a little surprised to find a ARC copy of Soul Song in my mailbox. I had no idea where I had won or how Dorchester got my address. The light bulb soon came on and I realized that in Marjorie’s newsletter subscription, your address is required. Very nice.

This is the 6th book in the Dirk & Steele series. Kitala Bell was first introduced in Tiger’s Eye as Dela’s (Tiger’s Eye: heroine) best friend. Honestly, I barely remembered her from that book.

M’cal is a Merman. I don’t like that word. M’cal doesn’t like that word either. It just seems like a fairytale word. It also doesn’t sound very masculine. Plus whenever M’cal is referred to as a Merman, I would think of The Little Mermaid. Moving on… M’cal fell in love many years before, with someone he now knows is a witch. A bad witch. She enslaved him and he now has to do whatever the witch wants him to do. What she wants him to do is take souls and return them to her. See, M’cal has this nifty little power. He can take souls when he sings. Hence the title, “Soul Song”.

It really was a fine line that Liu walked with M’cal. Even though it was against his will, he killed people. Many people. And not just bad people. The book starts out with him taking the soul (and therefore killing) a lonely woman who was just looking for companionship. Whenever he takes a soul, he basically relives the life of the person whose soul he is taking. So M’cal is not exactly a good guy. But he’s not a bad one either. Like I said, fine line.

The witch orders him to go take Kitala’s soul. Initially M’cal is in control of his body and his actions. When he balks at doing what the witch wants, she takes control and forces him to do something, even if it’s against his will.

Kit is a muscian. She plays the fiddle. I have no idea what the difference is between a fiddle and a violin. I had to go look it up because a fiddle sounds like something that my five year old would play with. Kit is playing in a concert when she first sees the woman in the crowd. She's a beautiful blonde woman, in an amazing white dress. There's only one thing wrong with her. She has a knife sticking out of her eye.

Against her better judgement, she goes to warn the woman and the man she was with. It really hits the fan then.

So after she warns the woman, Alice, Kit finds herself kidnapped by two corrput cops and left to die (or not) at the hands of several thugs. Just when she thinks that it's over, M'cal shows up. M’cal saves Kit’s life, even though he knows he’ll eventually have to kill her. So he does what any good guy would do; he tells her to run. Which she does.

The next day their paths cross yet again and M'cal finds it harder and harder to stay away from her. For some reason, the curse that was placed on him is dulled when he's around Kit. Though he questions it, he doesn't fight it because he senses that Kit may be his salvation. Both M'cal and Kit realize that there is more than one person that wants her. When Kit is kidnapped yet again, M'cal races to save the day only to realize that he fell right into a trap.

I won't go into the ending for two reasons. One is that I don't want to spoil it. Two is that it's just too complex to try to put into words. Then ending is a good one and wraps everything up quite nicely. Alice's part in the story is explained in a believable way. I wouldn't be surprised if Alice got her own book somewhere down the line. It also leaves the series wide open for some more Mer-people.

There are several recurring characters from Dirk & Steele that we know in love. Namely Koni (who is the most prominent), Amiri, and Hari. Something that bothered me was that as bad and evil as the witch was portrayed in the beginning of the book, Liu seemed to try to make the reader feel sorry for her toward the end. That was hard for me because I just wanted her to die. Sounds harsh as I type it.

If you haven't read this series, here are the books in order: Tiger's Eye, Shadow Touch (the best one, imo), The Red Heart of Jade, Dark Dreams (anthology), Eye of Heaven, and Soul Song.

4 out of 5 stars


Holly said...

I have the first book TBR, but I haven't actually read it yet. I keep meaning to, but you know I'm in this paranormal slump, right? Ugh.

Anyway, the differences between a fiddle and a violin aren't that great. It's mostly the kind of music played with it and I think (I could totally be wrong) the number of strings. In country music the violin is called a fiddle. You work the strings differently for a different kind of song. Violin is generally classical. Meh, I'm confusing myself. LOL I used to play violin, though. Weird, right?

Kristie (J) said...

I think I have the first two or three of this series. I know I have, have read and really enjoyed the first one. I get so confused sometimes. But I know I'll be getting this one though 'cause I'm so shallow and I like the cover. But seriously I do plan on getting it and then going on a Marjorie M Liu read-a-thon.