Chasing Inspiration

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu

Marjorie M. Liu does it again with her latest installment to the Dirk & Steele saga. I was fortunate enough to participate in her publisher's Buzz program for this book. Dorchester draws names from a list of eager volunteers and sends out ARCs (advanced reader copies) to the lucky readers. The readers are to read the book and post their positive reviews on various websites. I'm a little behind on my end of the bargain, mostly because I didn't receive the book until Monday and I couldn't start really reading it until Wednesday due to work business. Enough about me. Let's talk about Soul Song.

If you are unfamiliar with Ms. Liu's Dirk & Steele series, you need to know a little background. Dirk & Steele is a "detective" agency that employs people with extraordinary capabilities. Some are shape shifters (yes, you read that. Not were-creatures but people who can shift into the shape and being of an animal. Long story, read the books!). Some are telekinetic, psychic, pre-cognitive, fire starters, telepathic, etc. They are fighting for the good of mankind against a growing evil. I won't say more here. You need to read the books. Yes, they are paranormal, but they are also romance and adventure and intrigue. Think X-Men meet Remington Steele. Only better than both because there's a dash of mythical creatures, a dose of magic and always lurking are the evil bad guys. *grin*

Soul Song is the 6th book in this series. The heroine of the story, Kitala Belle, is a world renown violinist who works magic when she plays. Music is a part of her, right down to her soul. Her curse, something she hasn't shared with anyone but her grandmother, is the ability to see when another person is going to come to a violent end. This gift of "sight" is a curse to her because there is nothing she can do to stop it. She can only see. Kit is a strong woman, and as such a strong heroine. Though she is resistant of her own brand of magic, she allows herself to grow through the circumstances she finds herself in and with a strength born in love, she is able to be more than she ever expected herself to be.

M'Cal is an amazing hero. Humble and strong and talented and sensitive and yet not clich├ęd, he mesmerized me from the first page. Here is a man who is afraid he has lost the very best of himself yet discovers through his encounter with Kit that all that is good and strong within him has only been sleeping. M'Cal is a merman, a prince of the sea. He was exiled to walk on land, and fell under the compulsion of a witch who would use him and his gift of song to not just manipulate people but to steal their souls.

Together, Kitala and M'Cal join hearts, magic and souls to over come an evil so pure it threatens to take over the world.

Soul Song is rich in story and rich in themes. It also happens to take place in one of my old haunting grounds - Vancouver, British Columbia. Cities, and islands, and Orcas, oh my! Seriously though, the backdrop for this story couldn't be any richer. And because M'Cal is a merman, yes, there are orca pods and seals and other creatures of the deep. I love water, the ocean specifically. Liu does a wonderful job of capturing the mystery and majesty of the ocean in her tale without the story becoming bogged down by marine life.

Some of the themes in the book are love, trust and belief, but it's also about sacrifice. Without saying anything that would give the story away, one of the themes in the book is about loving enough to sacrifice for that love, even if that means letting go. It is a powerful theme that when combined with this amazing love story and a superb action adventure takes wings.

Soul Song is a ride worth taking. Lyrical and compelling it combines the best of action/adventure and romance and blends these two elements with an artistic touch, adding believable elements of magic and "other". Marjorie, thank you for following your muse and giving us this story. We so appreciate it!

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