Let me start things here by stating that the Fantasy Romance genre is one that I’ve long avoided. I’ve dipped my toes in here and there and much like with this book, I find myself wishing there was less focus on the romance side and more focus on the fantasy side of the stories.
That being said, it’s not that I’m opposed to ALL romance/love interests sub-plots happening in any story. But I can do without the copious amounts of flirting, blushing, long pages full of inner monologues about how dreamy xyz person is, and ultimately the more “steamy” side of things as the romance story hits its… uh… climax.
All of that to simply say that typically the Fantasy Romance genre just isn’t for me. But I do have some thoughts on Song of the Forever Rains by E.J. Mellow so first, let’s get the book details out of the way and then talk about this book.
Mellow does something that I really enjoyed with this book which is to give us a world that feels full of secrets and layers upon layers of magical and mystical happenings. A world full of so much potential for a great fantasy series. It’s that hope that kept me reading and for the most part enjoying this book. There are the rich and lavish cities, the seedy and dangerous hidden cities, the suffering cities, and even hints at realms full of monsters and creatures far more interesting than ANY type of city. But as much as they are hinted at and shown in the briefest of glimpses, this story largely takes place in a suffering town/territory called Lachlan.
It’s a town that once thrived until the Lord of Lachlan died and the Lady of Lachlan re-married only to die some time later herself, leaving behind her husband and a son. A son that is hated by his step-father and a son that is doing all he can to help his people as his step-father runs Lachlan into the ground for his own selfish gains.
The Duke of Lachlan is up to some shady business, which is why Lark is sent there to court(and possibly marry him) to figure out what is going on and stop the evil that seems to be seeping from his territories. I won’t say much more as I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m sure you can pretty much guess where it’s all going from here.
My biggest take-away from this book is that while I was enjoying the story, I kept WISHING it would stop wasting pages on the romance side and explore and develop more into the super interesting sounding world that Mellow hints at. And I FULLY admit that this is just my own personal preference.
Her writing is very enjoyable, pacing is good, and I found myself very interested and drawn into the characters that drive this story. The dynamic between the Bassette sisters is a lot of fun, the magic systems work well even though I wish we would have seen more of it, and the layers of secrets and intrigue work really well to pull you into the world Mellow has created.
The “double life” situations for our main characters is one I typically enjoy and it’s no different here as we have the outward “fancy, rich, and elite” side of the Bassette sisters and then the darker and infinitely more dangerous “Mousai” side of the sisters which finds them masked and wielding magic with devastating power and promise. All things that I really enjoyed.
But the added elements of romance that eat up nearly equal space on the pages really took me out of this story. In some weird way it was as if a magical fantasy realm was warring with some sort of southern belle feeling love story, and it made the book as a whole SO much more predictable in my opinion.
All in all I enjoyed Song of the Forever Rains, even if I didn’t LOVE it. The fantasy elements, the world Mellow has created, the magic system, and the threats faced were all very fun. I only wish they felt a bit more developed or explored. I think because of the romance side of this story, a lot of the “world” went unexplained and unexplored, which is a bummer because the promise it holds is really interesting sounding.
Of course I realize that this is ALSO book one in what I believe is a trilogy, so it’s possible that maybe we see more. However I think that the way these books are set up, given the titles I’ve seen, we’ll end up seeing one book for each of the three sisters. Likely all focusing on blending the romance with the good fantasy stories much like this first book did. Not that that is a bad thing, it’s just not MY thing.
If you enjoy the fantasy romance genre and are ok sacrificing some of the fantasy story elements for the love story elements, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. Series like A Court of Thrones and Roses by Sarah J Maas are HUGELY popular and while I haven’t read them myself, it seems like if you enjoy those books then you’ll likely enjoy the Mousai series from E.J. Mellow, which begins with this book – Song of the Forever Rains.
Song of the Forever Rains (Mousai #1) by E.J. Mellows gets 3.5 out of 5 stars(3 out of 5 on Goodreads)
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