Monday, March 13, 2017

ARC Review: Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn

Series:     Lily Bound #1
Pub. Date:March 7, 2017
Publisher:Diversion Books
Tantor Audio
Length:292 pages
9 hrs 42 min
Narrator:Cassandra Campbell
Source:NetGalley / Publisher

This story runs the supernatural spectrum from Fae to Demons to Vampires to Witches to Weres to regular old run-of-the-mill humans. Vampires are the dangerous underbelly of society on the cusp of a power play to make them more powerful than any other species/race. Weres seem somewhat insular and tend to think with that mob/pack mentality that is probably innate to their nature. While we don't have much info on the witches, besides Dani, they seem to be of the lone wolf variety, mixing with all the species (except vampires) at will.

The Fae were my favorite aspect of this story, and the reason I wanted to read the book. I am a sucker for a good Faery tale. The Fae did not feature heavily in this first installment, but I believe that will change in the future. Lily has a special bond to the Wynter Faery Queen, and we did get a brief visit to the Wynter court. That was probably my favorite part of this book so I hope more trips to Faery happen in the future. All the references to Wynter and her court made me think this was a spinoff series as they were mentioned like we should know who they are... but I haven't confirmed or denied the spinoff aspect as of the time I am writing this review. 

Lily O'Connell is a succubus, but of the Dark Fae rather than the demon variety. Needing chi (life force) to feed her need and live, Lily opened her own special salon (brothel) called Lily Bound where she offers mutually exclusive service to supernaturals. For being over 600 years old, nearly immortal, I found Lily to be somewhat wimpy and reckless. I would think that a Dark Fae would have some sort of fighting skills, but she seems to get beat up or in trouble quite often, needing her friends to show up for the rescue. I am hoping that this changes as the series progresses, and this story did provide an avenue for that to happen.

Lily seems to have a good group of friends around her. Nate is her human neighbor and single friend, a self-proclaimed computer geek and hacker. Dani is a witch with Irish roots (maybe celtic?) who lost her husband to the Vampires. The trio is a good support group for one another, which Lily must rely on after she makes an enemy of the were community. Luckily a frenemy werewolf and law enforcement officer, Jolene, pointed Lily in the direction of a private investigator, Archer Devon, a chaos demon, who is set up to be Lily's love interest for the series. Archer was eluded to as a hunky bad boy... but he didn't seem all that *bad* in this story. As a Demon, I expected him to be a little on the evil side - but he seems to be lonely and longing for love. There isn't much romance in this first book, but instead we see Archer as a sexual stand-in and chi source for Lily after the Souljacker kills a weretiger on her property.

The Souljacker is our main antagonist - a former tattoo artist turned vampire who has gone mad. Lily and friends have a particular need to worry about this villain, and they band together with Archer to stay safe and remove the threat - with a little help from Wynter. The Were species as a whole serves as a secondary antagonist due to events that happen at the outset of the book. I'm not sure if they will continue in this cast going forward, but I don't believe the issue will be resolved quickly.

I would have liked more world building and species history. The story is set in a futuristic Seattle, where vamps appeared on the scene (from when/where?), and Fae and Weres revealed themselves to society (when/why?). There were some interesting social and political issues happening, corrupt politicians and fights for Vampire rights. One interesting aspect to note is that there was a law that prevented companies from outsourcing any aspect of their business without first showing that there was not a United States citizen available to do the job. I thought that was interesting.

Galenorn has said this is her last book with a publisher, so I'm not sure what that means for this series. Will it continue to be traditionally published or will she take the self-pub route with this one as well? I do hope the series continues because I like the direction I think this series will take. 

I switched between ebook and audiobook for this story, so let me mention the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, briefly. She did a really good job with the performance and character distinction. I loved her affectation for Dani, and her Irish accent. I do wish that Archer sounded a little more manly... but there was a clear distinction between male and female voices. I think Campbell did a fair job minimizing our heroine's more annoying traits - like running off into danger by herself.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publishers.