Mio is trapped, forced to serve his mother, a witch of considerable power. His own magic is bound to his ability to sing, and he has no choice but to do her bidding. When a stranger comes to his aid, Mio takes a chance and asks the man to stop him. By permanent means.
Rhodry has been intrigued by the amazing opera singer for years, and he recognizes Mio at once. But Rhodry is covered in his own curse, one that binds those to his house in death. And though he was brought back from the dead as a moon soul and now shares his body with Lord Orso and can transform into a bear, Rhodry does not kill for fun and won’t take Mio’s life. He knows he can’t save Mio either. But their paths are linked, and the only thing he can do is to take Mio to his home, despite the curse that has beset his land.
Mio and Rhodry connect on a deep level and their affection quickly grows to more. But there is much death that plagues the manor. The curse is insidious, and nothing Rhodry can do can stop it. As secrets are revealed and plans fail, it seems the only way Mio and Rhodry can end the suffering is in death.
Y’all, this book should have been right up my alley. Intricate world building, paranormal aspects at every turn, creative characters. Really, I should have loved it. But I hate to say that this book didn’t work for me, and it started out right off the bat.
I couldn’t get into the story. And that is largely, I think, due to a personal preference. While the writing is tight, lyrical, and should have been engaging, I had a lot of trouble with the lack of information. For the first quarter of the book or so, I was left wondering exactly what was going on. So much is not explained that it set a poor tone for me, and the book never quite recovered.
Things did get better as the story progressed. To a degree. About halfway through, the characters really started to shine and there was a ton more explanation. At last, things were making sense. And since this was, as I said, an intricate world, I was glad for it. But I felt like there was a lot of wasted time in there, when the reader could have been privy to information that would have made the storytelling easier to absorb. I really dislike feeling like I don’t know what’s going on. I’m admittedly, pretty well versed in things paranormal, but even my somewhat vast knowledge didn’t help here. And it wasn’t a help, either, that the author chose to use terms for at least one creature that were completely not what that creature was supposed to be. Yes, I’m being vague because I don’t want to give anything away. But I will say this: if you’re going to use a name for something that has a traditional and widely known definition, it doesn’t work to make it something wholly other.
The book wasn’t all bad. I liked both the MCs quite a bit. Rhodry, in particular, had a snarky sense of humor that worked well for his character. And both Rhodry and Mio were big hearted, kind men, who perhaps did not make the best choices in life. Or were forced into unsavory positions. But at their heart, they were good, and tried to do what was right. I liked them both, and I liked their love story, which was woven nicely into the, albeit admittedly jumbled, plot. There were also some incredibly creative points in the world building, especially where the moon souls and ghosts were concerned. But I really needed things explained more clearly, much earlier on.
On top of the paranormal happenings, there was a mystery to be solved. I had some major issues with this as well. The misdirection was predictable and not well played out. It could have worked better for me if there was solid reasoning behind everything. As it was, I was once again confused about some of the characters’ motivation. However, I will say that the ultimate bad guy was almost a surprise, and the final resolution was satisfying.
So there was a lot to unpack with this story. I wanted so much more from it than I got, and that was a let down for me. I would have definitely enjoyed it more had there been real and solid explanations for things, and if they had come much earlier in the book. There’s a fine line to walk when revealing information, and for me, the author erred too far on the side of caution. I would only cautiously recommend this book if you’re a true paranormal fan. As it is, I don’t think I’ll be reading more to this series.