Author: E.J. Mellow
From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes the third and final installment in the Mousai series, following a young woman torn between the man she loves and the kingdom she calls home.
Within the world of Aadilor sits the hidden Thief Kingdom, a land overflowing with magic and mayhem. There the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses, serve the reclusive Thief King, delivering punishment and pleasure to the masses.
Arabessa Bassette is the leader of the Mousai, conducting their powerful gifts with unyielding precision. But behind her mask of control burns a desire to forge her own path—along with a tumultuous relationship with Zimri D’Enieu, her father’s right hand and the man who’s held her heart since they were children. When an unexpected invitation to vie for the Thief King’s throne pulls her into a deadly competition, Arabessa’s composure cracks as she finds herself with an impossible choice—give up her greatest love or her greatest ambition.
But sacrifices loom large in the Thief Kingdom, for the quest for power always comes at a price. With her and Zimri’s future hanging in the balance, Arabessa must decide if she’s willing to pay it.
Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where lords and ladies can be murderers and thieves, and the most alluring notes are often the deadliest. Dare to listen?
Symphony for a Deadly Throne is the third novel in the Mousai series where each novel follows one of the sisters (Arabessa, Niya, and Larkyra) in the world of Aadilor. I had every intention of reading this series in order, but I ended up reading this as a standalone. It read well by itself, but as the two characters were in the previous stories, there was some brief foundation that I was missing. This story follows the eldest Bassette sister, Arabessa, and her childhood sweetheart Zimri D’enieu in the Thief Kingdom where her father Dolion Bassette presides. His feelings for her are known, but she has a sense of duty to her family and the kingdom.
The story not only follows the complex political dynamic of the Thief Kingdom, but it also navigates the complicated possible romance between Zimri and Arabessa. This was well-done through the dual POV of the two main characters, and I loved how the reader was able to delve deeper into the internal workings of each of them. Throughout the story there was some repetition that I felt was not needed as it bogged down some elements instead of keeping the main story moving forward. The characters themselves are complicated and make mistakes, so I enjoyed that their relationship development was not straightforward.
The story begins with flashbacks that help to set up background for the characters. The relationship between Zimri and Arabessa is a nice will-they-won’t-they with great chemistry. The pacing of the novel is slower in feeling, which I think came from the more lyrical approach to the writing. Compared to a lot of stories of this genre, the stakes did not seem high enough at times. There is some tension, but it felt less than I expected. The story was still captivating, and it intrigues me where I cannot wait to see what happens in the first two novels. Overall, this novel was interesting, and I enjoyed the author’s style. I cannot wait to see how all three stories fit together after trying the other two next.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Montlake, for the opportunity to read this novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**