Author: Cari Z.
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 184 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy, Romance
At a Glance: With fun action and tantalizing world building, Soothsayer is another win from Cari Z.
Reviewed By: Cassie
Blurb: Cillian Kelly can look into people’s eyes and see their fates. He’s running from a past filled with mistakes, lying low and selling his services on the sly. When he learns that Sören Egilsson, a man who sacrificed himself so Cillian could escape imprisonment two years ago, is somehow still alive, Cillian has to find out how. What he gets is the body of the man he loves possessed by an ancient spirit who draws Cillian into a battle to the death for the right to control Sören’s fate, and the power that comes with it.
Review: This author is now two for two on my awesome book tally board! Soothsayer is the second book I’ve read by Cari Z., and I continue to be impressed. Though this new book is impressively different in tone, Cari Z. is just as successful in urban fantasy as in the sci-fi I read previously. I’m thrilled to have discovered a new, consistently excellent author in these genres.
Soothsayer jumps right into the deep end as far as action and exposition are concerned. Events ramp up pretty quickly, and the snippets of exposition the reader gets are part of main character Cillian’s thought processes and point of view. He gives us deliciously tantalizing glimpses into his world and his past without overexplaining or slowing down the pace in the slightest. Since he’s coming from a place of knowledge, there’s no time wasted on minutiae. This device ends up being the fun and delicious kind of frustrating. You’ll pick up more information as the story unfolds, but this means both the current circumstances and Cillian’s past are presented as a mystery to be solved, which is thrilling! And the method of world building gives both Cillian and the underground world he inhabits a fascinatingly secretive air. It really supports that hidden world concept, the idea that there’s a more mystical reality hidden behind the veil of mundanity that most people see every day. It’s intriguing and enticing, and I really enjoyed it.
The action itself is over the top and ridiculously fun. Bar fights, gunshots, small grenades, pink holsters, oil magnates, the mob; I’m telling you, it’s a zoo and half on a runaway train. It’s awesome. But all that crazy activity doesn’t prevent Cari Z. from creating a truly emotional and poignant motivation for Cillian. He suddenly finds himself a man with a very personal mission, and he stops at nothing to see it through.
The paranormal/fantasy is really fun and well executed. It absolutely sucked me in and left me wanting more. What there is of the romance is poignant and emotionally intense, but don’t expect lots of sex or long, intense conversations between the two lovers. This is very much a story about a quest for love. For a lot of the book, what we learn about Sören comes from what we know of Cillian’s past. And when Sören does come into it, there’s a lot of dodging and weaving and running to be done. Love is the motivation of Soothsayer, but not always the focus of the storytelling. Don’t read that and think this book isn’t a romance. It totally is! Like a knight fighting for his true love, Cillian is a romantic (though rough around the edges) hero. His emotional drive to see his quest to the end is compelling and lovely, and the ending he gets is satisfying.
The secondary characters that populate the Soothsayer universe are just as interesting as Cillian himself. We get glimpses of other powers floating through this mythology, and many of the other characters’ threads are left tantalizingly loose as Cillian’s actions have caused him to lose contact with most of his circle. Cari Z. has a lot of room to expand on the world and mythology of the book with, say, a prequel, or a sequel or a series even (*wink, wink, nudge*). In fact, I’d absolutely love to see a sequel that pulled some of those threads in and gave more insight to Cillian’s and Sören’s state of affairs post-Soothsayer.
So, final verdict? Loved it! The book was action-packed, fun, populated with compelling characters driven by real emotion, and it whetted my appetite for more (more, MORE!). Soothsayer is definitely worth your time, and I’m looking forward to more from Cari Z.
You can buy Soothsayer here: