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Cloti’s Song by Dani Finn

                           Synopsis:

There are some things that cannot be taken from you.

The humans have conquered the Maer capital, and they show no signs of leaving. Cloti and her spouses cling to each other in the hollow shell of their occupied city. Each day is a bitter gift; they may not be free, but they have each other.

When the city’s human Administrator offers to let Cloti restart her meditation practice in the temple, she jumps at the chance to spread a little hope in such dark days. Half the city followed her teachings before the occupation; maybe she can use her practice to unite them once again. She’s intrigued by the Administrator’s apparent sympathy toward her cause, and by his soft, submissive eyes. But could she ever really trust a human?

Rebellion brews among the Maer, and in Cloti’s heart. She knows what she wants, and what she must do. She has foreseen how this will end: in flames.

But visions never tell the whole story.

 

Review:

Cloti’s Song is a standalone but loose follow-up to Dani Finn’s previous Time Before Romance Wings so Soft. Cloti’s Song takes place some months after the events of WoS and focuses on one of WoS main character’s mother, Cloti, and her spouses Aefin and Ludo. We do get some resolution to Uffrin and Mara’s arcs but CS is all about Cloti as she navigates the aftereffects of the human occupation of the Maer city of Kuppham.

I don’t know if I’m just reaching my middle-aged lonely housewife phase or I just never found an author like Mx. Finn who can weave a somewhat cozy fantasy story with lots of smut in the intoxicatingly effortless way found in The Time Before Romances. I mean it, this book is Smut Central, it legit starts with a threesome from our loving throuple and plows (ahem) through to a roaring climax (ahem ahem) with a foursome. I didn’t count, but there are at least a dozen secksy scenes and they are very explicit, so this story might not be for everyone. But as with WoS, none were vulgar, all were supremely written and varied in both description and interaction. No ram-bam-thank-you-ma’am to see here. And it was quite interesting because the vast majority of the secksy scenes are tied to the magical abilities Cloti, and to a lesser extent Aefin, possess.

The magic system in CS is not a hard (ahem ahem ahem) system but reminded me very much of The Force from Star Wars. In WoS, we were introduced to Cloti’s meditation cycles and in this story we learn that those who are attuned to said cycles can begin to project their thoughts to/on others the longer they practice, and it even allows for communication via telepathy. Cloti also creates this potion she calls Earth Milk which not only allows her to push her feelings upon her lovers physically but connects her to a mysterious group of Maer intending to fight back against the human occupiers. She also witnesses visions of the future, and in the climax of the plot, she gains some Big D powers that I didn’t foresee. I found this meditation magic a fresh twist on a fairly common magical trope.

While this story takes place against the backdrop of post-war occupation and the impending rebellion by the Maer, Cloti’s Song is all about the quiet moments with loved ones (like drinking wine or tea while cooking together), the attempted return to normal (reforming Cloti’s cycles within the city and occupation camps), and the addition of another lover to the family (a human no less). It’s cozy as can be in conjunction with all the lovin’, touchin’, feelin’. The stakes are quite low, especially in comparison to Wings so Soft. It wasn’t until about the 70% mark did the rebellion plot really start pumping (ahem…okay, I’ll stop the puns), and once it started, it didn’t stop until the final pages. There is loss, there is grief, and there is a sense of a better future ahead. Plots are what brings us aboard a literary journey, but it’s the payoffs that keep us engaged, and I’m here to say, Cloti’s Song is one hell of a journey.

This story wouldn’t be as solid if our protagonist wasn’t very compelling, but thankfully, Cloti is fantastic. I found Cloti’s instant attraction to a human both interesting and endearing as this is a woman who just wants some hardcore lovin’. She wants what she wants and she goes after it. I love that. I also really enjoyed that Cloti’s use of the Earth Milk begins to wear on her as she decides whether to help the rebellion or not, almost like an addiction, so the personal stakes are what really drive this story. Her loving relationship with Aefin and Ludo is so refreshing and so perfect, their love really drives everything. Nothing is forced, nothing is false. Just three truly in-sync characters, and even when they decide to bring in a fourth, it is all handled with the utmost grace and love. Happy tears!

Cloti’s Song is the perfect little love story needed in so many ways. Romantasy (and yes, this falls into the recent uproar category of Romantasy…) isn’t normally my typical jam, but when books such as CS crawls into your lap and grasps you by the throat (sorry, needed one more pun!), you just can’t help but be drawn into such blissful enjoyment. A definite recommendation for fans of Romance and Fantasy! Also, Dani Finn is one of the sweetest, most amazing people out there!

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