Soul Kissed by Courtney Cole reviewed by Meg

Soul Kissed by Courtney ColeTitle: Soul Kissed
Author: Courtney Cole
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Lakehouse Press
Pages: 282
Source: ARC

I’m a huge fan of the Bloodstone Saga, and well, anything that Courtney Cole writes. I had no doubt that I would enjoy the first book in the Moonstone Saga. In reality, I did more than enjoy it. I loved Soul Kissed.

At the end of Bloodstone Saga, we start to become better acquainted with Empusa (Em, for short) and begin to learn a little of her back story. We don’t really get to KNOW her, but we get to know more of her. Em is the daughter of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. She’s an immortal demigod who’s been cursed by her father to wander the earth devouring souls and consuming blood. On top of the curse, Em has to constantly be on the run, hiding herself away from her father, who wants to kill her and from her mother, who wants to deliver her to Hades to hopefully break the curse — I’m with Em on this one, I wouldn’t trust Hades to keep his word either.

In Soul Kissed, the first book in the Moonstone Saga, we get to delve into Em’s head and learn the details of her life. I have to say, first off, it was quite a switch from Harmonia to Em. After spending so much time with Harmonia, I was used to her methods of thinking and had grown accustomed to slowly seeing how the past was unveiled through her eyes. With Em, the past isn’t the mystery like it is for Harmonia. Em knows her past, and it’s a dark past. But Em’s future is one blank slate, she has no idea where she needs to go or how she needs to get there, and unlike Harmonia, Em is in many ways, alone. It’s quite a switch from the Bloodstone Saga, which makes is refreshing and exciting!

Back on track with the plot, we learn very quickly that despite her curse of soul and blood consumption, Em refuses to take nourishment from anyone who is not already knocking on death’s door, which leads her to the rather awkward experience of meeting Brennan, the son of a terminally ill patient who’s soul she consumes. A fleeting touch later, and craziness happens and Em flees, determined to put as much distance between herself and Brennan, but of course, fate has other plans.

Now, I hate to put spoilers in my reviews so I’m not going to go any further in depth with who Brennan is exactly, and how his relationship with Em evolves, just know that it’s worth reading. The story that is woven between Em and Brennan is complex and throughout the course of the book, we’re introduced to tiny hints of how they’re relationship will pan out, and in many ways, it isn’t good. That’s one thing I love about Cole’s writing, she has this gift to be able to write out a romance that seems near impossible and couldn’t have any logical happy ending, but she can pull it off. I mean, she can really pull it off. She proved that time and time again with Harmonia and Cadmus. And she’s proven it with Em and Brennan, and I have no doubt that she will continue to do so throughout the rest of this series.

Along with our main characters, the secondary ones are equally complex. We get to see Harmonia and Cadmus once more, and their appearance in Soul Kissed is like a breath of fresh air. Harmonia is the goddess of peace, and the way that Cole writes her makes that completely tangible. Sometimes, Cole leaves me nervous and fidgety, worried over what’s going to happen to her characters next. And in others, my heart races while a battle plays out on the pages in front of me. And then, Harmonia appears and everything is calm. Cole’s characters are simply evocative, and that is one of the key things that makes her books so amazing.

Plot wise, Soul Kissed is a totally different type of book that the Bloodstone Saga was. With Harmonia’s story, everything was a mystery; we pieced it together bit by bit with the characters. With Em, we’re given much of her back story and we simply have to look forward to the future. Cole creates this twist that makes it inevitable that Em and Brennan will come together, and then she presents them with a challenge, and just from their reactions in this first book of the series, I can’t wait to see how it progresses in the future. Outside of the romance, the family drama between Em, her parents, Hades, the pretty creepy Poseidon, is enough to keep any reader on the edge of their seat. It’s twisted, and in many ways it’s much darker than the first series was. At the same time, however, I find myself reading with just as much hope as I was when reading Harmonia’s story. And I love a great story with a nice balance of darkness and hope.

If you love a great story based on ancient myths, this is so worth picking up. Cole is an amazing writer. She’s proven it time and time again to me, as I’ve yet to read anything by her that I don’t like. Her characters are deep, with multiple facets to their personalities and a host of motivations driving them to do the things they do. The plot is also complex, yet not so much that you can’t follow it easily. It’s just enough to keep you guessing, and wondering what exactly drives each of these characters to do the things they do, and each time a new little piece of the puzzle falls into your lap, you find that you can’t wait to find the next piece. It’s exhilarating. If you enjoyed The Bloodstone Saga, you’ll love this book.

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