Rogue Souls by Chelsea Mueller (Soul Charmer #2)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Jill Grinberg Literary Management on July 9, 2018

Source: Author

My thanks to the author for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Callie Delgado volunteered to apprentice to Gem City’s Soul Charmer. View Spoiler »


Callie Delgado, newly apprenticed to Gem City’s notorious Soul Charmer, can’t catch a break. As if her low-paying day job and manipulative family aren’t enough to deal with, now Callie’s new boss has her working with soul magic for real. Because in Gem City, sinners avoid judgement by using someone else’s soul, and the Charmer’s shop is the only spot in town. At least, it was…

Joined by the Charmer’s muscle and her new boyfriend, Derek, Callie has to track down a business competitor who’s encroached on the Charmer’s territory. I loved them together in the first book, and it works even better here because they actually know each other now. Derek can be cagey and obviously he’s on the morally grey side, but both can also be said of Callie. I think they’re lucky to have each other, especially given everything that’s happening with Callie’s finances. As depressing as I find her situation, I do appreciate the realism. I’ve often wondered how most urban fantasy protagonists pay their bills if they’re so often out of work or wreaking havoc. For Callie, the unsavory answer to that one is a bit hard to swallow.

Mueller’s done a great job expanding the gritty world of Gem City, with its mysterious and powerful clergy, seedy underbelly, and simmering magical tensions. When I read BORROWED SOULS last year, I wished that readers had been given more details of soul magic; with ROGUE SOULS, that wish came true. From controlling rogue souls to fashioning magical vessels for their containment, Callie’s behind-the-curtain look into soul magic is fascinating. Her apprenticeship with the Charmer might be unorthodox — not to mention volatile — but his cryptic and manipulative “teaching methods” certainly seem to be paying off. Best of all, we finally know where exactly it is that the Soul Charmer gets his souls from…and it’s a doozy.

These additions to the world building kept me intrigued even when the plot of ROGUE SOULS lagged, which happened quite a bit in the first half of the book. Callie and Derek tracking down the rogue soul dealer should’ve been non-stop action, but it was actually a lot of dithering and internal monologues about how low Callie feels she’s sunk. I get that she’s a tortured heroine with extremely low self-esteem – most of the time I like that about her because it makes her interesting! But her woe is me moments really slowed down the pace of the overall story.

Of course, once Callie and her man figure out who’s behind it all things really started to pick up. I just wish it’d come a bit sooner, you know? Thankfully things are going to move along quite quickly in the third book if the final chapters of ROGUE SOULS are any indication.

Overall, ROGUE SOULS is a solid second book in a promising and original urban fantasy series. I recommend it to fans of darker, more character driven series like Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts. ­

Have you read the Soul Charmer series? Do you ever wonder how urban fantasy protagonists (or those from other genres) pay their bills? Let me know in the comments!