Review: Song of the Forever Rains (Mousai #1)

Title: Song of the Forever Rains

Author: E.J. Mellow

Pub. Date: July 1, 2021

Pages: 423

Pub: Montlake

Genre: Upper YA Fantasy Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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 Aadlior. 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?

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible and omfg stop sleeping on this book. Pick it up right now. I thoroughly loved this book and I’m anxiously anticipating the next one. I had no expectations going in – apart from I’ve read some of E.J. Mellow’s works before – and this blew me away. I fell absolutely in love with the world, the atmosphere and the characters. It felt wholly unique and new and I’m going to be raving about this for a long time.

I had very few expectations going into this book. While I was excited because I’d read some of Mellow’s books before, I was also wary. Because I had seen some hyped feedback. Also, it was gaining a bit of traction on BookTok, and they’ve led me astray before. I also just had no expectations for what could possible happen in this book.

I didn’t expect to get some gothic, dark vibes from it. A little like the feeling The Others with Nicole Kidman elicits. Maybe even a bit Crimson Peak-esque in terms of atmosphere. The world Mellow creates – the dynamics and the discovery you make as the reader are so wonderfully done. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, unsure of what is going to happen next. The cast of characters is fantastic, the relationships and dynamics between them not necessarily what you might expect, but still so good. Even the not so favorable relationships are good because of the depth and complexity to them.

But I think the shining star – the element that really sucks you in, is the absolute vividness of this book. Between the setting and the characters, this story legit jumps off the page. It’s like a movie – everything crystal clear in your mind. I wasn’t listening/reading this – I was watching it, living it, experiencing it. I was so wholly immersed and captivated.

I loved the separation of the worlds – between Larkyra’s home life, to the dangerous allure of the Thief Kingdom and the place Darius calls home – they’re all so vastly different.

And then there’s the relationship between Larkyra and Darius. Now, I’ll admit, I expected more spice. I’m going to blame BooKTok on this one, they had me believing this was spicy. Not because they explicitly said it was, but because of the books they would pair it with. Also, it’s NA/Adult Fantasy, and that currently seems to be the trend. It’s not wholly without any spice, but if you’re going in thinking this is going to be like FBAA, it’s not. It’s a slow build, slow burn rivals (that feels too strong, but alas) to lovers. It’s so wonderful and the way their relationship progresses and builds – it’s really satisfying.

Also, the Mousai?!?! I can’t exclaim enough about how cool they are. From the way this book opens up, to the bond between them and the magic they wield. Honestly, it would be cool af to hear it in person. I could easily visualize it, just like everything else in this book, but I wish I could hear it. 

I also loved that there’s this mystery/thriller/suspense element to this book. So not only to do you have a setting and characters who jump off the page, you have this plot that keeps you guessing and engaged. You’re immediately sucked in and hooked, and it only gets better. As things are unveiled and revealed and new developments appear, as character grow and change and become borderline unhinged, you’re desperate to find out what happens next.

I’m pretty sure this is going to be a trilogy, each book focusing on one of the sisters – and I cannot wait.

I’m dying for the next book – the minute it hits audio, you know I’m going to be listening to it. I’m so excited. This book pleasantly surprised me and you should definitely pick it up. Mellow knows how to write a book, and it shows. The audiobook is also fantastic and worth a listen. I loved this book, and it’s easily a favorite read of the year. I can’t recommend it enough.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this – or if you’re planning on reading it! If you’ve already read it, what did you think?

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