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!


  1. I’ll admit I gave up on Borrowed Souls, I think it was just a matter of timing and it didn’t grab me right away. But good to know the second book worked for you!

    1. I loved Borrowed Souls, so if you’re in the mood for a dark and moody UF I recommend giving it another shot!

  2. I haven’t read the series, but I really like the premise for the magic system! Also, great point about paying the bills. I feel like so many fantasy books (whether urban fantasy or high fantasy or whatever) totally gloss over how people actually pay for stuff.

    1. Right? That actually bothers me so much, especially when the characters are mercenaries or something similar — if the fighting they do is for money, then why are they so often poor? LOL.

  3. I like morally grey characters, they’re interesting 😉 And those two do sound like they make a good couple. The realism of her situation sounds great too. It does seem like financial situations are forgotten in a lot of books. That’s too bad the pacing was so slow in the beginning, but at least other aspects kept you intrigued!

    1. Me too, Kristen! Callie and Derek are definitely a good couple, I just wish they’d open up to each other more…I want to know all their dark secrets. 😉 Finances are a part of life (so long as the economic system in the book depends on money I guess) so I wish they were included more often. Exactly, there’s more than enough to keep me reading this series! 🙂

    • Greg Hill

    • 4 years ago

    I think I remember Borrowed Souls and thinking wow that sounds different. Nice to see an urban fantasy with a different take like that. And here’s the sequel! Clearly I failed at reading the first one lol. Stil this sounds pretty awesome and yes! How do they pay the bills?? Love it… hopefully the third one will keep the pace set towards the end here. 🙂

    Great review Danya!

    1. It’s definitely different and original! I loved Borrowed Souls actually, so I definitely recommend picking it up if you get the chance. LOL right? Some of these MCs could barely keep the lights on in reality, haha.

      Thanks so much, Greg!

    • Karen

    • 4 years ago

    I frequently have that problem with UF. There’s always a lot of inner monologue 0 usually about morality and ethics.

    Still sounds like a fun series if I ever want to jump into the genre again.

    The only one I’m still reading is Kate Daniels.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. It does seem to be pretty prevalent in UF, doesn’t it? What’s up with that? Haha. I’ve gotta get caught up with Kate Daniels!

  4. This sounds ok, I like that they brought some realism to Callie’s finances. It’s dissapointing when you want action and yoy get drawn our brooding. I hope you pick up some great reads this month.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

    1. The realism of Callie’s situation is one of my favourite parts of this series! I’m certainly hoping that the action picks up in the next book. Thanks, Tori — you too! 🙂

  5. I haven’t heard of this one, but I don’t think it would be a good fit for me! I’m not fond of dithering and excessive internal monologues, lol.

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

  6. I haven’t heard of this series, but I am intrigued by the soul magic idea!

  7. I remember your review for the first book from this series. It sounds like this series is progressing quite nicely. I love the sound of the romance in this book – the two seem to be quite the complementary pair. I’m also intrigued by the magic and soul system here. I hope the action picks up in the subsequent books though and that the series gets stronger!
    Great review! 🙂

  8. I remember you reviewing the first and I wanted to read but the book was too expensive for me to justify and now I can see I can get it on Kindle Unlimited so I’m kind of thinking maybe I should borrow and get to it. And I love when second books both manage to get the romance right and they manage to expand the world itself and develop it further to keep a reader interested so that’s pretty awesome. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Lynn Williams

    • 4 years ago

    Mmm, the first one didn’t really work out for me but glad this was a good read for you.
    Lynn 😀

  9. I haven’t heard of this series and while I haven’t read much UF the ones I have read are now making me think I actually like the genre and need some more. Annette Marie has been a game changer for me I think!

    If I have to wonder how a protagonist pays their bills that would irk me! Ha ha. I like the world building and development to be clear enough that this isn’t a jarring question in my head!

    I know I’m more of a plot driven reader but I love amazing characters too… SO I might just keep this one in mind! Nice review!

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