It’s been five years since The Merge – when the gods, goddesses, and magical creatures from all the world’s religions began to walk among the mortals. Calliope Arialides is the firstborn of the nine Muses. She’s the muse of song and justice. She works at Afterlife Inc. mediating arguments between the gods and taking complaints from mortals who don’t feel like their prayers are being answered fast enough. She hasn’t had a vacation in decades, so she heads off to her own little slice of paradise. She’s got a small cottage in the Scottish countryside next to a temple built to honor the nine Muses. It’s the one place where she goes to recharge her body and mind.
Jordan James is an adventurer who builds theme parks all over the globe. Her parks are built with sustainable materials with the idea of leaving the smallest footprint possible on her land. She’s purchased property in Scotland for her next adventure park. The land not only butts up against The Temple of the Muses that Calliope holds dear, but it will affect the small country villages surrounding the site.
Calliope’s not happy with the prospect of turning her little slice of serenity into a haven for adrenaline junkies. She knows she can’t veto the idea because she’s the muse of justice. Jordan proves to be just as stubborn as she is.
To further complicate things there’s a definite attraction between Calliope and Jordan. Neither woman wants to give up what’s important to them, but with Jordan’s disdain for immortals in general, is there a way they can reach common ground?
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I adore Willows’ Afterlife Inc. series. (I have signed copies no less.) When I heard about this spin-off series focusing on the muses from Greek mythology, my book nerd heart did a happy dance. It’s not necessary to read the Afterlife Inc. series to love Song of Serenity. Willows constructs the world following The Merge with the perfect amount of fantasy elements. This reviewer gets lost when there are new lands to navigate, magic systems to understand, and names I can’t pronounce. I’m just basic that way. In Song of Serenity the world exists as it is, but with the bonus of not just muses, but pixies and dryads as well. (Zeus has a cameo in the epilogue!)
There’s great chemistry between Jordon and Calli. Willows always writes terrific butch/femme pairings and these two don’t disappoint. There’s no doubting they’re meant to be together despite their best efforts to stay away from each other.
Cons And Heads Up
Not a one.
Song of Serenity is an all-around fun read. I know I’m always going to get high quality writing when I pick up a novel by this author. Her dialogue is effortlessly snappy, and her characters feel original. She provides enough descriptors of the setting in Scotland to make it come to life in my imagination without slowing the pace with long passages describing the environment. She presents Calli and Jordan with an authentic issue to threaten their happy-ever-after which I so appreciate. Willows is an auto buy author with me because she consistently puts out original stories that stay vivid in my mind long after I’ve finished the book.
Excerpt from Song of Serenity by Brey Willows
“Tell me about it,” Jordan said, leaning against a pillar.
“It’s the Temple of the Muses.” Calliope lifted a letter and read it, before setting it back down gently. “Not that old, as temples go. Built in the late eighteen hundreds in honor of a local poet. But once the Merge happened—”
Jordan harrumphed. She couldn’t help herself. It was as instinctual as breathing whenever someone mentioned the Merge, the combining of the human and immortal worlds thanks to the gods coming out of their hidey-holes five years ago.
Calliope’s eyes narrowed slightly, but she continued. “Once the Merge happened, the shrine took on new meaning for people. Rather than just a strange folly left on top of a hill, it became a pilgrimage site. People leave things here to ask the muses for help, for guidance and gifts.”
The pieces clicked into place and Jordan couldn’t help but sigh right down to her soul. “You’re one of them, aren’t you? An immortal.”
Calliope held her hand over the flame of a candle, moving it back and forth. “In a way, yes. I’m one of the nine muses. The muse of justice and serenity, specifically.”
“And the people around here, they know that? They seem to like you.”
“You say that as though they shouldn’t, if they really know who I am.” Calliope mirrored Jordan’s pose against a pillar, but her arms were crossed.
This time, there was something in her tone. What could Jordan say to that without being utterly insulting? “Well, you know, people can be pretty split on whether life is better now, with your kind in it.”
Calliope’s eyebrow went higher and there was no smile on her lips. “My kind?”
Jordan pointed toward the altar. “Things like this don’t get set up for my kind, that’s for sure.”
Get It Online
When you use the links in this review and buy within 24 hours of clicking then we get a small commission that helps us run the site and it costs you nothing extra
Song of Serenity
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781636790152
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
If you enjoyed Song of Serenity by Brey Willows then you should also look at
Note: I received a free review copy of Song of Serenity by Brey Willows. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site