Book Review : Song of the Forever Rains

Book Review : Song of the Forever RainsSong of the Forever Rains by E. J. Mellow
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2021-07
Pages: 424
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org
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two-stars

From the award-winning author of the Dreamland series comes a new dark romantic fantasy about a young woman finding hope in her powers of destruction.
The Thief Kingdom is a place hidden within the world of Aadilor. Many whisper of its existence, but few have found this place, where magic and pleasure abound. There, the mysterious Thief King reigns supreme with the help of the Mousai, a trio of revered and feared sorceresses.
Larkyra Bassette may be the youngest of the Mousai, but when she sings her voice has the power to slay monsters. When it's discovered the Duke of Lachlan is siphoning a poisonous drug from the Thief Kingdom and using it to abuse his tenants, Larkyra is offered her first solo mission to stop the duke. Eager to prove herself, Larkyra accepts by posing as the duke's potential bride. But her plans grow complicated when she finds herself drawn to Lord Darius Mekenna, Lachlan's rightful heir. Soon she suspects Darius has his own motivations for ridding Lachlan of the corrupt duke. Larkyra and Darius must learn to trust each other if there is to be any hope of saving the people of Lachlan--and themselves.
Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where lords and ladies can be murderers and thieves, and the most alluring notes are often the deadliest. Dare to listen?

I can’t remember how I found out about Song of the Forever Rains, but I was very intrigued by the synopsis and thought it would make for a fun read in between reading entries of The Wheel of Time series. Despite being filled with enjoyable banter and a believable bond between three sisters, I felt that there wasn’t actually much substance to Song of the Forever Rains. The magic isn’t very well-developed, the world-building is murky, and there are a lot of contradictions in the novel. And it doesn’t help that, Song of the Forever Rains never really delivers on what is described in the synopsis.

 

Song of the Forever Rains follows Larkyra, the youngest of three powerful and magical sisters as she embarks on her very first quest to prove herself as an agent of her powerful family, the ruling house of the Thief Kingdom, because of reasons. Larkyra has the power of a siren of sorts, being able to control her magic with the power of her voice. She’s had to learn to exact extreme control over her emotions so she doesn’t cut people to ribbons with her voice. We only see her destroy something with her power once in the entire novel, and it’s accidental, of course. But we learn from some flashbacks that Larkyra sometimes views her powers as monstrous, and that she blames herself for the death of her mother, who died giving birth to her. Despite these admissions from her point-of-view, Larkyra still jumps at using her powers at almost any given opportunity from the very beginning, which seems in stark contrast to her fears.

 

Her love interest is the rightful heir to a failing dukedom, which is driven to its sorry state by its corrupt ruler, his stepfather. Larkyra must feign interest in this stepfather’s marriage proposal and visits the estate. There she finds an even more sinister magic at play that threatens not only Lord Darius, the heir for whom she finds herself developing feelings, and his estate and people, but also the entire Thief Kingdom. The two carry out their own missions in secret from each other, and Darius’s wicked stepfather, but somehow manage to grow closer. What’s weird to me is that Darius has been abused his entire life, can barely stand to be touched due to the trauma of it, but then declares he’s not a virgin to Larkyra, who actually is despite being the ubiquitously desired songbird of the city notoriously filled with vices, the Thief Kingdom. I literally did not understand how Darius could stand to be intimate when touch is so triggering to him, and it’s never expounded on.

 

For me, this intimacy between the two felt way too sudden and like it was taking into account the character’s background. Then again, the entire romance between the two leeds felt forced to me. Though the banter between Larkyra and Darius is cute, it’s too similar to the banter between the sisters, so it doesn’t really feel special. I also just never really bought Larkyra and Darius’s attraction to one another. I guess opposites really do attract, but Songs of the Forever Rains never sells it to me. Though their relationship is somewhat cute, and takes its time to develop, I can see readers who picked up this novel just for the romance being disappointed.

 

But I don’t understand a lot of things in the novel. I never quite wrapped my head around where or what the Thief Kingdom was, and how it differed from Jhabari, the nation that Larkyra and the rest of the family reside in. Also strange to me is that Song of the Forever Rains declares that people who use phorria, a type of drug that allows non-magic to absorb magic from people who have magic, can barely retain any of the magic. However, Darius’s stepfather is able to use magic like crazy from being super addicted to the pure version of this illicit substance. Not only does he have magic shadow tentacles, but he can put his stepson and his entire household servants in a trance and make them obey. This seemed like a bit of a leap to me from Larkyra’s previous descriptions of the drug. 

 

Likewise, it’s remarked upon near the end of the novel by Darius that the servants have eyes everywhere, but this was literally never a problem for any of the characters. Larkyra and Darius both prowl around the mansion and the grounds with absolutely zero ramifications. None of the servants seem to like their master or report to him. The only time Larkyra had a teensy bit of an issue was when her new lady’s maid didn’t want her to be unchaperoned, which seems more like a societal thing than an actual mechanism of the wicked stepfather who wants to spy on anyone.

 

“They were an odd trio, each two years apart but all with births on the same day. Achak began to wonder if such a quirk had something to do with their gifts. A thread that tied them together. For their powers promised greatness. But in devastation or salvation? The question remained.”

 

As a result of all these inconsistencies and vaguely described things, there really wasn’t a whole lot of tension in Song of the Forever Rains. I was never worried that Larkyra actually would lose control of her powers even though the novel clearly was pushing for readers to be worried about that, or that Darius was up to something actually nefarious (it’s clear he is a do-gooder with a heart of gold), or that they would fail to save the dukedom and cast out the stepfather. It’s obvious all along that a happy ending is nigh. This isn’t really a problem for me, as I enjoy happy-ever-after novels every once in a while, but it did mean that the novel wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. 

 

My favorite part of Songs of the Forever Rain is by far the bond between the sisters. The author does a great job of establishing their rapport and bond through sparring, both verbal and physical. Though the other sisters aren’t too well-developed beyond the basics, their bond is so dynamic that it isn’t too glaringly obvious. Their loving and worshipful relationship with their father, who even makes Larkyra kill someone with her powers in a flashback, is more baffling to me. 

 

Though the banter and bond between sisters feels effortlessly natural and believable, other phrases of the novel struck me as odd and I definitely couldn’t imagine anyone actually uttering those statements. Take these following exchange between Larkyra and her father that made me stop and reread in puzzlement: 

 

“I’m glad none of your spirit has dulled after your time away.” 

“If anything”—Larkyra settled into his arms—“my time away has only made me shine brighter.”

 

Or

 

“The love she had for the man before her was so consuming she truly felt she might burst into flames if no one spoke this very moment. “Larkyra.” His voice was a deep rumble of stampeding beasts. “My darling girl.” Pushing away from his desk, he opened his arms, allowing her to run into them. Ensconced in his massive embrace, Larkyra cherished the smell of home on her father, of honeysuckles in sunshine.”

 

I found it incredibly odd that someone would actually genuinely state that they shone brighter or that they would compare someone’s voice to that of a rumbling beast. Coming across phrases like that takes me right out of what I’m reading and ruins my immersion, personally. And these types of phrases are widespread throughout Song of the Forever Rains. 

 

With the inconsistencies and the odd descriptions, I was honestly surprised that Song of the Forever Rains wasn’t a debut novel. If you look past these glaring issues of consistency, Song of the Forever Rain is a light novel with some vague fantasy elements and some half-hearted romance. Though I would definitely read the other books in the trilogy for a light read in between heavier novels in the future, it’s not something I feel that I need rush out and purchase immediately, by any means.

 

two-stars
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Book Review : Song of the Forever Rains - Blogging with Dragons

Posted February 15, 2022 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance

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