Friday, August 10, 2007

Marjorie Liu 'Soul Song'

I'll start by saying there is something so not threatening or sexy about a man who sings to kill or entrance. It made me think of cheesy weddings where the groom or bride (or both, horrors!) sing to each other. Hey, I like to sing, I love listening to singers, but given my reaction to the premise of the book, maybe I was biased.

M'cal is half human/half Krackeni (merman) and has been ensorceled by a not nice witch who compels him to 'work the streets' as a male prostitute, take the women's souls that hire him (by singing), and bring them back to her so she can use them to remain young. Kitala is a successful fiddle player touring the country. She has this unfortunate ability to foresee violent death in other people's futures.

And in the end they get together. There now, I've saved you the pain and agony of having to read this book. Okay, to be more specific, the storyline doesn't bother to develop these somewhat promising characters and the plot is disjointed and jerky in very annoying ways. And the hero bites off the witch's nose, "M'cal spat out the knob of bloody flesh. It bounced against the shag carpet, landed at Ivan's feet like an odd red button." Hey, I don't mind some gratuitous violence, but that's just totally gross!

The writing isn't terrible and I actually liked Kitala, our heroine who is, refreshingly, African American, I even liked her voodoo wielding grandma, but the rest falls way short of tolerable.

Paranormal Romance 2007: 2 out of 5 stars


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, having not read the book, I'll still weigh in. I can understand that having an African American heroine is a nice change of pace from what I assume is a predominantly white genre, but is it really that progressive (wrong word, perhaps?) if her grandma is, uh, a voodoo priestess-type?

Okay, I must confess that you inspired me to check out this author on (I was intrigued since she's evidently an Asian American author....) I noticed that the book is part of a series--Dirk & Steele. Do you feel you should know a series before reading a particular book or do you find that it doesn't really matter if you jump into a series and read the third book rather than starting with the first?

By the way, I finally finished "Never Lie to a Lady" and have to give props to the author for wrapping up various plot points nicely. The whole series question came about since I noticed there will be a sequel, "Never Deceive a Duke." What's next, "Never Canoodle with a Count"?

Heloise said...

First, the series thing. Surprisingly, given my 2007 rule, I haven't had to jump into the middle of too many series. Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan being the biggest exception. It's certainly possible that Safe Harbor would have been better if I had read the other books first. I doubt it, but possible. This book is a 'series add-on' so to speak. These characters are peripheral to the Dirk and Steele private detective agency so I don't think you miss much by starting here. I have jumped into series in years past and felt out of water, but I'm guessing now that it's almost a requirement that every book have three or four (or twelve) related books, authors are more conscience of making them stand on their own.

There are romance novels with African American protagonists but usually they are marketed as such to (presumably) African American readers. Kitala is the daughter of a 'black singer from Louisiana and a white fiddler from the Great Smokey Mountains.' I especially appreciate the bi-racial thing. And considering she ends up fighting an evil demon-possessed witch, I think we can excuse the stereotypical portrayal of her voodoo priestess grandmother. :)

As I mentioned, these characters have a lot of potential, and the first five chapters of the book are very good. I think this made it even more annoying when the plot kept going off in starts and fits like a jerky hand held camera in a movie. I for one, got a nasty headache from it!

Heloise said...

Canoodle, hee, hee.
I was thinking "Never Marginalize a Marquise" myself.

Kristie (J) said...

I haven't read this one - though I have it. I did like her first book quite a bit.
The main reason I stopped by was to say howdy!! And Yippee - another reader blog. I love finding new reader blogs!

Heloise said...

Hi back, Kristi (j). So glad you found me. I like your picture.