I mentioned before that I was selected to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) or Marjorie M. Liu's Soul Song - the latest installment of the Dirk & Steele series. I had not yet read any of the Dirk & Steele series, in fact to date, the only Liu I have read was Hunter Kiss, which was part of the Wild Thing anthology.
The letter that accompanied the ARC mentioned that this book is a bit of a departure from the series since the two main characters are not members of the Dirk & Steele agency, although there are some connections.
This story focuses on Kitala and M'Cal. Kitala, the back cover copy states, sees images of people's violent deaths against her will. I found this endlessly amusing since I imagine most people would prefer not to know who was going to die violently, but anyway. Kitala also is a talented violinist. She sees that two audience members at a concert in Vancouver are slated for death and decides to warn them. They believe her, but the warning does not save the man, and Kitala ends up being kidnapped with the woman.
M'Cal is a merman with the ability to use music to steal souls. He is under the control of a with who has sent him to steal Kitala's soul. He arrives to discover he is not the only one after Kitala.
M'Cal and Kitala - two folks with gifts related to music - can you guess what happens? I don't mean to imply that the story is predictable or trite, however. But M'Cal and Kitala do join together to unravel the mystery of why so many people seem to want Kitala dead. Liu does a wonderful job of creating this world where there are all sorts of special people. I think this book worked well as place to start the series since Kitala, while aware that she was special, had done a pretty good job of not looking below the surface two much, so she makes a very good ambassador for those new to this world. (The other books may well work similarly.)
My issues with the story were mostly nitpicks, and some of these may be things that will get corrected for the version published next week. Just in case this will bug you too: there is a fairly interchangeable use of fiddle and violin. and I have to say, I may have gotten a bit distracted, but I didn't quite remember who the big bad was once they were unveiled. Once I stopped and thought about it, it came back to me, and I'm not sure how that could have been fixed. Other than that I found the story eminently enjoyable, and plan to keep an eye out for the rest of the series.
The marketing information on the back mentions that as a paranormal romance it should appeal to fans of romance and fans of sci-fi/fantasy. On sale, July 2nd in North America.