"Soul Song" is the fifth full length novel featuring the talented agents of "Dirk and Steele" (a further short story appears in the anthology "Dark Dreamers") and although not quite on par with previous books in this series, it is still a must have for fans of this author's works.
Kitala (Kit) Bell is the best friend of Delilah from "Tiger Eye" and briefly makes an appearance in the first book of this series. A virtuoso violin player, she travels frequently and always alone; never having revealed her ability to see the victims of murder and their gruesome deaths before they die. It is at a concert that Kit notices the young woman enjoying her music; a young woman destined to meet an ugly end. For some reason, this girl Alice strikes a cord and Kit vows to try and avert her violent destiny.
When Alice is abducted, Kit is rescued by a beautiful man with a voice she could die listening to; however he is not all he appears. Although he has saved her life, M'Cal is under the compulsion of a witch to use his ability to steal Kit's soul and pass it on to his mistress in order to strengthen her own powers. Forced to suffer humiliation after humiliation at the hands of the woman he once thought he loved, M'Cal is determined not to take Kit's soul yet begins to fear his growing feelings for her; after all the last time he thought he was in love he ended up the slave of an evil sorceress.
Caught up in an escalating plot in which someone knows of M'Cal's abilities and very much wants him dead, Kit turns to Delilah for help after escaping the clutches of corrupt cops. Cue the return of some of my favourite shape shifters, Hari, Koni and other "Dirk and Steele" employees.
This action packed, fast paced story is a great read and a wonderful continuation of this series; although I must say that for the first time the romance becomes almost incidental with so much going on plot wise; including the resurrection of demons, M'Cal's battle for freedom, their hunt for Alice and numerous face offs with a variety of enemies. That said, this book did not quite pull off the same thrill factor as "Tiger Eye" or "Shadow Touch", and maybe this is because the romance factor was missing. There are a few intimate scenes between Kit and M'Cal; however they never appear to connect as well together as the previous heroes and heroines of this series.
on 6 July 2007
"Soul Song" is another book in Marjorie Liu's 'Dirk & Steele Detective Agency' series although in this story the agency has a background role and it isn't necessary to have read any of the other novels in this series to understand "Soul Song".
Kitala Bell is a musician, a violinist with virtuoso talent who travels widely giving concerts. However she has another - and secret - talent, one which causes her great distress, namely that she is often able to foresee the way people will die if they are murdered; because of this she has few friends and lives a lonely life. She has previously experimented with telling people that she foresees their death but it has never worked out well for her so she has stopped. And then when performing at a concert she foresees the terrible death of a woman in the audience and for some reason decides, after the concert, to find the woman and tell her about it. As she starts to explain the woman's companion is shot and killed. Kitala and the woman, Alice, flee but are eventually captured and separated.
Kitala is rather unexpectedly rescued by a strange man who seems to have magical abilities with his singing voice. However as soon as he rescues her he warns her that he is trying to kill her and that she has to run far away from him. Being a typical contrary heroine of a romance novel, however, she instead decides she must find Alice and rescue her. She has one small lead, a business card for a youth shelter, and so decides to start from there.
The man, M'cal, is under a curse from a witch which requires him to 'take the souls' of men and women for her to feed on. He is bound to her by a magical bracelet which means she can compel him to do things against his will, such as the killing. He is afraid that she will compel him to kill Kitala if he sees her again and so tries to persuade her to go away. But of course she doesn't and they end up working together, knowing that at any time the witch may compel M'cal to kill Kitala.
Kitala learns an awful lot of new stuff about the world in the space of about 48 hours. She always knew she was different because of her ability to see people's deaths and because her Grandmother knew some strange things but as events unfold she discovers that M'cal isn't a man but originally came from the sea and she also discovers there are other strange creatures that she thought were just myths. However she, M'cal and some of the shapeshifters from the Dirk & Steele agency soon realise that there is something seriously dangerous looming on the horizon and the missing Alice may be the key to stopping it. M'cal has to deal with his past as a hostage to the witch and Kitala has to learn to use some of the music and magic within her to help defeat the evil they face.
There is romance in this story although it's not the main focus of the plot. The book is interesting in that you never quite know what's happening, you can't tell what the future holds for the characters and it's difficult to be sure quite what they are fighting against. However I felt that some aspects of the plot were perhaps a little too far-fetched and that M'cal's compulsion to kill Kitala is most conveniently shelved at times to suit the story. It's a complex world that the characters move in which is interesting and the story is well-written and engaging but overall it wasn't an entirely satisfying read. It's an original story in a genre which is often repetitive but it's not a completely fulfilling read.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book, [...] © Helen Hancox 2007