I’m always on the look out for fresh ideas in the Urban Fantasy genre, especially since its my preferred genre when I want to completely lose myself in a book. In her debut, Borrowed Souls, Chelsea Mueller gave me exactly what I was craving. A gritty, compelling read that kept me glued to the page.
Our heroine, Callie Delgado, was raised with the belief that family always comes first, even if that means handing over all her savings to her brother or putting up with her narcissistic, needy mother. She’s used to it, and she’ll do whatever she has to in order to protect them. But this time her brother’s addictions have gotten him in a world of trouble with the local mob and the only way to keep him in one piece is for Callie to preform a task for his captors that will firmly put her on the wrong side of the law. It also means that she must visit a soul dealer for the first time and barter for use of a soul.
Soul rental is the thing to do in Gem City when you want to sin, but don’t want that sin to stain your soul for eternity. Even some members of the church advocate it as a way to keep yourself free from transgressions so you can enter the afterlife pure. Callie has always shied away from this practice, but now she has no choice. The only problem is she doesn’t have the funds needed for a soul rental. The Soul Charmer, who frankly creeps Callie the fuck out, comes up with a deal, she will work for him as a soul collector for the next two weeks and he’ll give her a one day rental on an average soul. He’ll even give her a partner.
I keep seeing comparisons to Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series, which honestly never occurred to me while I was reading. Maybe because I was excited to branch out from the usual vampires, weres, etc. to something new or maybe because Borrowed Souls stands completely on its own. Callie is a wonderful heroine, with her loyalty to family and desire to better herself and circumstances. As a reader I wanted her to see how terribly awful her family was for continually neglecting her and putting her in dangerous situations, but I also liked her desire to protect them. She’s not an in your face badass, like so many UF heroines are right off the bat, but chapter after chapter I watched as she came into her own and by the end embraced that side of herself. Despite her fear and misgivings.
She is paired with Derek, who IS a badass. He’s big and tough, and not afraid to use his size and strength to get what he wants. He’s also protective of Callie and is determined to help her with her mob/brother problem. The move past partners into the partners in lust and falling into bed came faster than I expected, which is something that thrilled my romantic heart. I adored these two together. Callie was the magic in the relationship, and Derek the muscle and it worked for me in every way.
I’m so intrigued by this world! As the first book in a series there was a lot of set up and introduction, and I feel like this author has only scratched the surface. I can’t wait to learn more and finally get answers to some of my questions. I’m excited to see where Ms. Mueller takes this series and these characters. Book two can’t come soon enough. Final grade- B+
He pressed a light kiss to her lips. “It’s hot to have a woman protecting me.”
“You think everything is hot.”
“Only on you, doll.”