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Publisher's Summary

With Soulstar, C. L. Polk concludes her riveting Kingston Cycle, a whirlwind of magic, politics, romance, and intrigue that began with the World Fantasy Award-winning Witchmark. Assassinations, deadly storms, and long-lost love haunt this thrilling final volume. 

For years, Robin Thorpe has kept her head down, staying among her people in the Riverside neighborhood and hiding the magic that would have her imprisoned by the state. But when Grace Hensley comes knocking on Clan Thorpe's door, Robins days of hiding are at an end. As freed witches flood the streets of Kingston, scrambling to reintegrate with a kingdom that destroyed their lives, Robin begins to plot a course that will ensure a freer, juster Aeland. At the same time, she has to face her long-bottled feelings for the childhood love that vanished into an asylum 20 years ago. 

Can Robin find happiness among the rising tides of revolution? Can Kingston survive the blizzards that threaten, the desperate monarchy, and the birth throes of democracy? Find out as the Kingston Cycle comes to an end.

©2021 C.L. Polk (P)2021 Recorded Books

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  • Diane Verrochi
  • 28-02-2021

Mind-blowingly amazing

I have thoroughly enjoyed this whole trilogy, and Soulstar truly stuck the landing for it. If you are looking for a new series, and would like some assurance that you will not become super-invested only to be disappointed by the ending, this is an excellent choice. If you're anything like me, you'll become super-invested and will cheer loudly at the end of the final chapter.

The protagonist has been a side-character in the first two books, who is one of those characters you tend to like because of what you do see of them, while not feeling you know them all that well. That works in Soulstar's favor because, while I think you'd do yourself a disservice to not read Witchmark and Stormsong first, you don't strictly have to. This is the first glimpse given of Aeland and its problems from a Robin's-eye view, so it can also work well as the reader's first glimpse of Aeland at all.

The story itself has a very lot of ground to cover and does it well. The ending of this book on its own and the trilogy as a whole is very satisfying. Most threads are tied off, and the denouement gives insight into how the remaining ones will do so after the tale has ended. And Polk manages to do this without making any of it sound too perfect or too tidy, a trick I'd dearly love to learn.

One of Polk's strengths, as I've seen in this series as well as The Midnight Bargain, is putting characters through some pretty extreme situations that could easily end in tragedy, but instead end in hope. She also takes on some extremely timely topics about race and class and police brutality in a very unapologetic way that is also very, very satisfying to read.

My one quibble about how Robin, in particular, is handled, is the same one I have for the way Doctor Who handled Rory Williams. Nursing is not a consolation career for those who couldn't get into or couldn't afford medical school. I've never met a fellow nurse who has any interest in being a physician because they really are parallel and linked yet different disciplines. Plenty have interest in being primary care providers, as nurse practitioners, but that is a different thing, not a watered-down version of being a medical doctor. Considering most people don't understand that nursing isn't about being physicians' assistants (also its own discipline), this is a minor quibble, though.

Robin Thorpe now joins the short list of awesome nurses in current speculative fiction, alongside Rory Williams and Claire Temple (of Netflix-MCU, not Night Nurse comics, that's a whole blog post unto itself). We need more of these, and I am very grateful to C.L. Polk for creating this character and adding her to this group.

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  • gingerbread
  • 21-02-2021

Disappointed with the narration, couldn’t finish the story

I hate to do this as I enjoyed the previous two books.

I thought Robin was a Black Welsh lady. The narrator’s accent is all over the place and nothing like how Robin was portrayed before. By the time I got to the fourth chapter I gave up and I’d already restarted the audiobook three times hoping it would get better.

I’m going to read the book instead because I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.

I googled the narrator out of curiosity and she has won awards and is very well regarded, so I’m not sure what happened here. I later checked and I own and have enjoyed a few books that Robin Miles narrated; so this one must just be a blip.

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