Rating: 5 stars out of 5
For over two thousand years Lochlann Doran has wandered the continents of Earth, watching as little by little his magic dwindled away to nothing. For Lochlann Doran’s a Fae torn from his war torn world, his soul sundered as he was sent through the Pattern by fellow Loremaster and friend Cuinn to Earth. Now only his faceted aquamarine eyes and the fact that he can’t die remain as reminders of his true nature. Also lost? The ability to heal that goes along with being a Fae of the Demesne of Water.
Stripper Garrett Templar has been dancing along time. The club Purgatory, prior to being bought by Tiernan Guiare, was a hard, indifferent place to work. Garrett turned tricks in the back room to pay his bills and rent, something that would never happen now. But then? The dancers were unprotected by management something Garrett found out the hard way when at eighteen, one of the johns he entertained infected him with HIV. And while it may have been a “manageable” disease” with others, in his system the virus has inexplicably mutated into full-blown AIDS. And no known cocktail has managed to work to slow it down. Now the only place Garrett can find solace is to loose himself as he dances on stage, always alone by necessity and by choice.
Then Lochlann’s travels brings him into Washington, DC and to the very stage in Purgatory where Garrett is dancing. It only takes a few glances for the SoulShares bond to snap to attention, startling Garrett and freaking out Lochlann deeply. Lochlann never expected to find his SoulShare after so many centuries alone. And then he finds out from Garrett that he is dying from AIDS. Lochlann is devastated. If he had his magic back, he could heal Garrett immediately. But his magic is gone. And Garrett flees from Lochlann, not wanting to hope for a future he is sure they can never have.
But Purgatory has more surprises in store for Lochlann when the SoulShares appear along with his ex friend and now old enemy, Loremaster Cuinn. It seems their ancient evil, Marfach, has stirred and wants access to a unSouled Fae to return Marfach to the Realm. And Lochlann is the key to the survival of all.
Deep Plunge is the penultimate story in Rory Ni Coileain’s SoulShares series and with it Ni Coileain’s achieves a remarkable bit of storytelling. There is a huge amount of world building going on here. Two universes, that of the Fae Realm and that of modern urban Washington, DC, are both rendered with equal amounts of realism and imagination. Then the author builds onto that an epic battle of good and evil (evil being the Marfach) where evil almost conquered all. It left behind a blackened Fae landscape and a multitude of dead or dying Fae. To support such a cataclysmic event, Rory Ni Coileain builds a Fae society in dire straits, one that has to re-imagine itself in order to survive. That aspect of this story is mesmerizing, the history constructed to make all the events that occur in the books not only necessary but manipulated and foretold (yes, two different things are happening here…this layering is magnificent).
Facts about the Fae and the Pattern that we thought we knew from prior events are turned on their head here. Nothing is as it has seemed. There are so many elements in play here that you almost have to pause in your reading to make sure you have it all straight, including the latest revelations that have knocked you (and the characters) right on their butts. I love it when that happens. Smoke and mirrors, or merely the Fae at work…doesn’t matter because the end result is magical, suspenseful, and downright addictive.
The two protagonists here are unarguably poignant, deeply damaged characters, each with an emptiness inside where their other souled half should reside (more universe building). That they have found each other should be cause for celebration. Instead its marked by pain, and enough angst to fill a bathtub. Ni Coileain pulls off terrific non-human characters in her Fae. They do not have the same emotions as humans so that the fact that half their souls end up in humans is not only a neat twist but helps pull all the author’s Fae back down into characters we can empathize with as well as connect with on an elemental basis. For their human Soulshares it is easy to believe in them and their myriad lifestyles and issues. All couples from previous stories appear in important roles here as Ni Coileain starts pulling together all the threads she has been sowing in the books so far. But of them all, Garrett and Lochlann have to be among the most star-crossed. Garrett who’s HIV became full blown AIDS in almost no time and Lochlann the person who loves him and should be able to cure him but can’t. It’s both poetic and unbearably painful.
Trust me when I say it almost hurts not to spill all the details that are revealed here, the twists, the turns, the “never saw that coming” revelations. And Deep Plunge sets all the elements rolling for the final story in the series, Firestorm. The final battle between the Marfach against the Fae and humans is almost here. Who will be able to stop them? I can’t wait to find out! Mark this series down as a Must Read and this story as one of the best of the year! What an adventure Rory Ni Coileain has pulled us into! A multidimensional saga with characters who continue to astonish and deep loves that have me swooning for more. Consider the series, the story and the author among ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Highly Recommended Reads!
Cover art by Allen Penn. Does a great job branding the series but missing the fantasy element.
Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published August 28th 2013 by Ravenous Romance
Books in the SoulShares series in the order they were written and should be read are: