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Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0765311704
Date: 01 August, 2005 List Price $22.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

In Singer of Souls Douglas Stewart had hit bottom and realized he wanted to live so he gave up drugs. Then twenty days later, he realized that wasn't enough that to stay clean he had to leave everything behind and start fresh. It was a shakey plan but all he had; he'd go to Scotland and stay with his Grandma McLaren in Edinburgh. Who could he possibly know that he plan to clean himself up would cost him everything more than he could have ever guessed....

The first part of the plan worked great, Doug was in Scotland and his Grandma set the rules. She demanded he get a job. He explained that he didn't need one he was going to play his guitar on the streets to earn money. Instead of disappointment she was excited that he was a busker. But Doug wasn't just a busker he had a hook -- he could talk to a person ask a couple of questions and design them a song. It worked he was making a good deal of money during the fringe until a beautiful, aloof and cold woman asked him to not sing a song for her but to sing her. But what he heck, it's money. It was a weird experience but Doug felt that he'd never done better and he refused payment. She was angry and gave him a gift of white powder in a bag. It took days but he finally couldn't resist the call and he used the powder to find it did nothing. Doug laughted in relief until he got to his spot and found he could see the Fey.

But it's not all light and music as Doug learns to hide his gift and battles to save his life. He finds himself drawn into Fey politics, old hatreds, and faces the best and the worst of himself. He looks deep inside himself and doesn't like what he sees and when given the chance to pick and choose what parts of himself he will keep will he choose the best of himself or only what keeps him alive.

There's a lot going on in this book. The main character is a whiner and complainer. He's making changes in his life and trying to survive. In spite of himself, he makes friends, enemies, and builds himself a life. However, he also can't always tell the difference between what is good for him and what isn't and that's what got him in trouble in the first place. He may be able to look into his customers and sing to their souls but he hasn't looked at his own. As a reader you want so much for him to succeed and you end the book dissatisfied and hoping that somehow after the pages are finished and the covers closed that somehow things will work out off-stage -- yet suspecting that what you read is what you get. This is a book that will stay with you after you finish it, wondering what would I have done with his gifts, would I have done better, would any of us do better?

Highly recommended.

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