Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu (Dirk and Steele #5)

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.

SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1-4 AND THIS BOOK

I believe I have a hit a rut with this series and need to back off for a little while, otherwise I will continue to read these books and my opinion of them will continue to lower. It’s not that I think this book, or any of the others have been bad – far from it . However, they’re definitely a specific type of book, one that I tend not read all that frequently because it lends itself to a lot of repetition. A pretty sizeable reason why I don’t read romance novels as much as other books is because I am interested in both the “what is going to happen” and “how it’s going to happen” kind of questions, and the former is practically always assured in romance novels – two people are going to fall in love and end up together.

With this romance novel, I had my first experience of being more interested in the plot than the relationship! This was surprising, as I am normally a character person and I need characters to captivate me in order for me to care about the story at hand. And I did like reading about Kitala, a badass fidlde player who also has the unfortunate ability to see how a person’s going to be murdered. I also enjoyed reading about her past as the daughter of two musicians living a life characterized by music and loneliness, as well as her connection to her grandmother.

M’Cal is the first hero who wasn’t present in any of the previous books, and that may have contributed as to why I didn’t particularly care about him. Marjorie M. Liu is good at pinning down and writing complex and conflicting emotions and thought-processes, but M’Cal always felt flat to me. It felt as though he appeared out of nowhere. As such, I never felt like he should have meant all that much to Kitala, whose solo lifestyle means that the person she falls in love with has to be extra-special in order for her to include someone in it, and M’Cal didn’t seem like he was that person. I think this was my main problem. I would have loved to read a story featuring Kitala as the protagonist that wasn’t a romance novel. I loved getting to see how her mind worked and how she responded to situations. I didn’t really care about M’cal’s point of view, nor was I invested in the relationship between him and Kitala. On a related note, I am getting tired of the “two people falling love due to a magical connection” trope. It worked well in Shadow Touch and The Red Heart of Jade, but now it’s losing its appeal.

Like I said, I was way more into the plot this time around, and that’s because there’s more of a connection to the overarching series conflict. We know there are demons that are slowly coming back to this world and fucking shit up, and they are directly behind the mystery and the villainy occurring in this book. As such, the plot touches on the links between Dela’s mom, her family, and the Consortium. Still no real answers, but I was glad to see the reasons behind all the individual plots in this series move to the forefront and gain acknowledgement in this one.

Even more so after finishing this book, I am firmly convinced that Koni and Rik NEED their own books. Those two are way too much fun to not have them.

As stated in the beginning, I plan on setting aside this series for a while. I don’t normally experience burnout with a series, but since each book is a standalone and follows the same general structure in terms of romance, it’s becoming too repetitious for me. Nevertheless, I still enjoy reading Marjorie M. Liu’s books, and I will eventually return to them.

Disclosure – library

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