M/M shifters, plenty of action, great world building, incredible passion and endearing, strong characters. Book 2 is better than an already good book 1. Loved it!
-Review by Kazza K
Songs of the Earth takes up where Twin Flames left off, with Tristan in the middle of a river, the Goddess Ki on one side, his wolf pack on the other, and Shirdals (lion- eagles) overhead. It doesn't stop it just keeps building steadily. Once I started I did not want to put my Kindle down.
In book two there are so many things going on. Tristan meets the Goddess Ki - at the end of book 1 she had just appeared. Ki recognises the power in Tristan, the royal lineage, even though he has been raised and led to believe he is a very ordinary Lycan. Ki does not know how he has been hidden or his magic covered up, only that another God or Goddess must have had a hand in it. Ki discovers a magic binding in Tristan that has hidden his lineage and powers. After the unbinding Ki seemingly causes a 'reaction,' with no warning, that almost results in Tristan's death. His body has, bascially, been booby trapped against the unbinding and his lineage being outed. Ki wishes to stay and tutor Tristan in the ways of the royals within their society, and teach him about the Earth. How to connect with the Earth and hear her songs, how to use her to heal. I loved this, loved the message of how wonderous our planet is. How the Earth is a great giver to all people and how the Lycan recongnise that. However, Tristan, Ushna, and his guard worry about how Ki went about unbinding and the result that left Tristan at death's door. So is Ki good or not so good?
Things are tense as Tristan learns who he is. Surely his older brother, Nathan, would be the Prince in line for the title of King of the Enkidu, not Tristan? Why would somebody, perhaps another God or Goddess, go to so much trouble to hide Tristan's identity? Will someone challenge him now that the cat is out of the bag about his lineage? Throw into the mix the fact the the Magi have tried before to get a hold of Ushna to hurt Tristan, that Elder Janus Koeller has had his signature on the warrant to take Ushna, but he pleads his innocence. Is he or isn't he innocent? Are the Elder Council in on anything untoward? Are the Magi Triad? Plus we learn there are assassins ready to take out anyone in the royal line - this is now Tristan. A nasty individual from book one rears his head again, and there are a few characters that you aren't so sure about. There is such a rivetting story going on.
The loves story continues between Tristan and Ushna. And it's even better. There is a new intensity between them as the magic binding spell has been cast off. Tristan and his beast, his inner predator, want to mark Ushna, claim his as his Twin Flame, so they will be reincarnated forever, together. But Tristan still believes Theo was his, and Brian was Ushna's. Ushna and Tristan are so right together, they are soul mates of the highest order. Their relationship makes for some intense sex and beautiful reflections -
I'd love him for this life time. That's all I'd have with him. I'd make it the best life possible and if the Gods were merciful, when I died this time, they'd put me truly to rest, because I didn't think I could live an eternity of reincarnations without him. Without his touch. My lover. My Ushna.
And Ushna is always dedicated to Tristan -
Ushna ignored the Shirdal, the Goddess standing next to me, and the warriors at my back, drew me roughly into his arms, and kissed me. Oh fucking hell, this man could kiss.
"I'm not going anywhere, no matter how dangerous things become. You and me, Tristan....you and me always. Got it?"
I think one of the most delightful aspects of this series is this incredible combination of detailed, but so easily understood, Lycan/mystical world building combined with the sheer down-to-earth natures of Tristan, Ushna, and their tribe/friends. Tristan, who is now Tristan Javed Ksathra Janick Prince of the Enkidu, is still a rancher at heart. Here he talks to the Goddess Ki out in the stable -
"Are you well. Prince Tristan?"
I turned to see the cocoa eyes of Ki.
"I'm well, Goddess."
I picked up a curry comb and started brushing Socks...
So, once again, there is this mix of mythical, supernatural, and cowboy... and it works. Beautifully. Lexi Ander has outdone herself with her world building in Songs of the Earth. She has outdone herself with further development and expansion on the beautiful spirits of Tristan and Ushna. She has not deviated in any way from who they were in the beginning, except for the growth that Tristan has to undergo as his magic comes to the fore, his alpha nature, his power....and another surpise or two. I won't spoil it. I want to...I can't. They are very much in love, they very much love their ranch, but Tristan has extra responsibilites to his tribe. He worries that it will all be too much for Ushna, but Tristan should have no fear, Ushna is the most loyal partner.
Lord above! The love making - because that's what it is - in this book is unbelievable, hot, and passionate, with such a connection between the characters. It never seems like Ms Ander has just decided to throw some (gratuitous) sex in to take up space, it's incredibly sexy, and incredibly perfect. At end of the cleansing ceremony I nearly melted into my reading chair. Tristan and Ushna seriously steam up the scenes they're in. They are a great pair, Ushna is such a loyal partner, Tristan such a worrier, at times, caring for his people, his tribe. I kept thinking "Ushna is your Twin Flame, Tristan, wake up and smell the the Earth, for goodness sakes." I hope I'm right.
While this is the second book in the series it can be read as a standalone as Lexi Ander recaps a lot of book one in the first chapter. It's also serves as a memory jolt for those of us who have read the first book.
Songs of the Earth is beautifully crafted. The main characters a delight. The secondary characters are equally well developed. The shifter/mythical components are rivetting. I cannot speak highly enough of the writing, the story, and the way it all came together. This book is absolutely fantastic. In December I will be displaying my favourite books of 2012 and this will be on that list. It was better than Twin Flames (Sumeria's Sons Book #1), and that was a very good book. If you like shifters, mythical elements, sexy men, some cowboys, some action, intrigue, and wonderful characters that you just cheer for, then it's all here. I highly recommend Songs of the Earth. I am certain you will love it.