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Non 1001 Book Review: Song of Blood and Stone by L.Penelope

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I’ve been a bit crazed with work and haven’t been posting as much. That will all change in a few weeks when I should be back to my regular reading schedule. Be on the lookout for a burst of literary fiction reviews and a recap of our March Madness challenge that wraps up on May 15.

In the meantime, it’s publication day for this next book, reviewed by Book Worm. Are you looking for a YA epic fantasy read? This might be the book for you. Song of Blood and Stone by L.Penelope
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★
Find it here: Song of Blood and Stone

This ARC was provided by St Martin’s Press (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Bookworm’s Thoughts: This is the first book in the Earthsinger Chronicles and for me it was a solid 4 star read. I have seen this book called Steampunk and I can see where that idea has come from, but for me this was a fantasy book doing what fantasy books do best: shining a light on real world issues without being preachy.

So what did I like about this book?

  1. The strong female lead character. Jasminda doesn’t need a man to save her. In fact it is down to her to do most of the saving.
  2. A diverse cast of characters. Jasminda is a minority in her homeland she is the product of a mixed marriage with a Lagamiri father and an Elsiran mother and in terms of looks and ability she is Lagamiri meaning the locals fear and torment her. The book also features a lesbian couple who are actually key characters.
  3. Subtle political commentary. The book features trial by media with “fake news” being used to further certain political agendas. There is also a commentary on the treatment of refugees versus native population and who could forget that the Mantle is, in effect, a wall built to separate 2 different peoples?
  4. The role of history and superstitions. Each chapter opens with an extract from a book of collected folktales. This extract foreshadows what will happen in that chapter. History in this novel is very wishy washy in terms of what is written down for the populace to know and can be very misleading.
  5. Use of magical visions. As events that lead to the current war take place hundreds of years ago, magical visions are used to reveal the truth slowly as the current story moves along.
  6. Earthsong. Earthsong itself is a beautiful concept — the idea of magic being channelled through Singers to benefit the land and everyone in it.
  7. No cliff hanger ending. If this book sounds like something you would want to read but you are worried about committing to reading a whole series and waiting impatiently for the next book to be published, fear ye not! That doesn’t happen here. The events of this book are nicely tied up, while still leaving the reader the option to visit the Earthsinger universe again when the whim takes them and when the next book is published.

Weaknesses:

  1. There is one female character who I feel has been cast stereotypically I can’t say who as that would give away spoilers.
  2. While I praised the ending for tying things up nicely it all felt a bit too easy perhaps later books will bear this out.

Who would like this? The publisher says this is for readers 17+ and I would agree that the target market is probably Young Adult that said I think adults who enjoy fantasy books like the Dragonlance Chronicles will probably enjoy this although it is a lot less dark.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Song of Blood and Stone

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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