Member Reviews

This is my first encounter with E.J. Mellow and I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The first in a new fantasy romance series, it’s full of mystery, deception, betrayal, magic, and so much more. The Thief Kingdom is hidden in the realm of Aadlior. Lark, our protagonist, and her family, play an influential role in both worlds, ruling with power, strength, and class. Lark is coming of age and she is set to complete her first solo mission, ultimately freeing some of her people from a corrupt and drug-addled duke. And of course, she finds her true love along the way.

I’ll start with my criticism: the synopsis of this book makes it seem like magic, and the Mousai sorceresses are much more dominant within the plot than they are really portrayed to be. We see a lot more of the Bassette sisters, who have a bit of magic, than we do the Mousai. I don’t think the Mousai’s strength as rulers of the Thief Kingdom is accurately or strongly portrayed. Because of this, the magic throughout both worlds seems a bit more random than it truly should. The magic, as portrayed in the synopsis, is clearly a driving and controlling force, but that doesn’t come across as well in the text.

Otherwise though, this book was engaging, fast-paced, and exciting. Mellow is an incredible and vivid world builder. It was so easy to imagine the worlds of Aadlior and the Thief Kingdom. There are some tough topics that are covered, including physical/psychological abuse and addiction, and we see that magic can’t fix everything. But there is also a lot of love and compassion throughout this story. The characters are very realistically portrayed. They make mistakes and find ways to right the wrongs.

If anyone is looking for a new fantasy romance series to get into this summer, this is the one. I’m not normally a lover of this genre, but I was pleasantly surprised to be so immersed in this new story so quickly. And it’s the first in a series, so there’s something to look forward to when you finish.

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I liked a lot of things about SONG OF THE FOREVER RAINS. One is the way both central characters wrestled with guilt over a parent’s death, and how things happened to challenge what they believed to be true about their own role in those deaths. I found those emotional journeys pretty compelling.

Another thing I liked was the constant banter between characters– especially Larkyra and her sisters, but also between Larkyra and Darius, too. I thought the dialog as a whole was really sharp and well-crafted.

It took me a little while to get into the story, though, and I’m still not totally sure why. The prologue is interesting, but doesn’t intersect the story for a while, so maybe I was distracted trying to figure out how things pieced together? I didn’t expect the story to be told from the youngest sister’s perspective based on the prologue, which was in an omniscient viewpoint, so maybe it just took me time to adjust to that.

Darius is a strong character and so determined to do what’s right, which I really liked. I think I would have liked his character more if he’d had some kind of flaw, though. Sometimes I had a hard time really believing in him because he just seemed so perfect.

Once I hit about the 25% mark, though, I was really invested in the story, and I read the rest of the book probably more quickly than I read that first 100 pages. I liked the first part, but once I got into the story, I definitely invested a lot more time and energy into reading all the way through to the end. When I had to stop and take breaks, I kept thinking about it in between.

I think readers who enjoyed DOWN COMES THE NIGHT by Allison Saft or THE WAKING LAND by Callie Bates will want to check this one out for sure.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I was lucky enough to work on this one. What a gorgeous start to a series. The worldbuilding and romance were really incredible and I can't wait for the rest of the sisters' stories.

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Larkyra Bassette is the youngest of three sisters, who all have different magical powers of the lost gods. Larkyra’s magic is her voice - she can slay monsters with a simple song. She can also heal with her voice (somewhat like Repunzel from Tangled), but she and her sisters must keep their magic a secret nonetheless. Song of the Forever Rains by E.J. Mellow introduces readers to the Bassette family, the country of Aadilor, a secret city called the Thief Kingdom, and an undercover mission disguised as an arranged marriage.

Larkyra’s eldest sister Abareesa’s magic relies on instruments, while her second-eldest sister Niya’s magic relies on dance. The three of them make up the Mousai, a trio of mysterious sorceresses who put on shows in the Thief Kingdom. Their combined performances are so powerful that those without magic must be strapped down for fear of uncontrollable movements. I imagine seeing one of their shows would be akin to a bad acid trip.

E.J. Mellow creates a decently-developed fantasy world with very likeable characters. I loved the close relationship between Larkyra, Niya, and Abareesa. I’m also more excited to learn that Song of the Forever Rains is the first installment of a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of the Bassette sisters. Furthermore, while the romance between Larkyra and Darius is slow-burning, it is believable. The pace picks up towards the end of the book, but there are exciting events prior to that too, as the Bassette sisters and Darius have to figure out how to complete the mission.

E.J. Mellow is an accomplished author, but this was the first book of hers I’ve read. Even so, I’m excited to get more of the Mousai and the adventures that await them.

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This was one of my anticipated reads for the year and it didn’t disappoint! I absolutely loved the world and the characters. I can’t wait for the next book. The world was incredible and I loved every new location. The characters were all very interesting and I look forward to seeing where it goes in the next book.

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