Title: Song of Blood and Stone
Author: L. Penelope
Published: July 2019, St. Martin’s
Blurb: The kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar have been separated for centuries by the Mantle, a magical veil that has enforced a tremulous peace between the two lands. But now, the Mantle is cracking and the True Father, ruler of Lagrimar and the most powerful Earthsinger in the world, finally sees a way into Elsira to seize power.
All Jasminda ever wanted was to live quietly on her farm, away from the prying eyes of those in the nearby town. Branded an outcast by the color of her skin and her gift of Earthsong, she’s been shunned all her life and has learned to steer clear from the townsfolk…until a group of Lagrimari soldiers wander into her valley with an Elsiran spy, believing they are still in Lagrimar.
Through Jack, the spy, Jasminda learns that the Mantle is weakening, allowing people to slip through without notice. And even more troubling: Lagrimar is mobilizing, and if no one finds a way to restore the Mantle, it might be too late for Elsira. Their only hope lies in uncovering the secrets of the Queen Who Sleeps and Jasminda’s Earthsong is the key to unravel them.
Thrust into a hostile society and a world she doesn’t know, Jasminda and Jack race to unveil an ancient mystery that might offer salvation.
I have been fighting a reading slump for most of this month, just with…*gestures at state of the world and everything in-between* I’ve also been doomscrolling just a little too much and then work has been kicking my ass with out busiest season of the year, trying to do everything remotely for the first time through that, and it’s just been…a lot.
Needless to say, it’s been a rough month and it took me almost an entire month to read Song of Blood and Stone–which doesn’t speak to the quality of the book at all, but more to my own mental health state, as it’s a book and a story that deserves much more attention than I gave it and to be read quicker than I certainly did.
BUT, I am really glad I picked up this book! It was recommended to me by my friend Jo over at Jo Writes Fantasy, because it reminded them of the book I’m currently revising. As my own story has evolved, I’m not sure if I could still use this book as a potential comp title, BUT, it was still such a good book to read, especially as it does worldbuilding really, really well, and actually executes well what I’m currently trying to do with my own novel (trying to sprinkle in worldbuilding throughout, instead of doing info-dumps, like my novel has been doing). So not only was it an enjoyable story, but it was also really informative for me as a writer!
I am also so glad I bought the Special Earthsinger edition, because I think, if I’m understanding it correctly, Ella and Benn’s story wasn’t really prevalent in the first edition of this novel? I am so thankful that Penelope decided to add that in, because I think it takes the novel to an entire different level (of course, I’m making that claim without having read the first edition, but just trying to picture this story without the layers and threads of Ella and Benn’s part is….really hard to do, because I just enjoyed it so much ((And I may have a crush on Benn. Oops))).
But I also loved Jasminda and Jack’s story. I actually (perhaps foolishly) didn’t realize how much romance there would be in this book, so I was oh so pleasantly and happily surprised when that element was woven in–and very well written, too!
Overall, I quite enjoyed this story. I really enjoyed the characters and their relationships and the way the worldbuilding was handled. I loved this blend of fantasy society and some of the more modern-day elements that we are familiar with, like phones and cars, even if it surprised me, at first. It was also really cool to read a book that helped teach me the element of craft I am currently tackling in my own revisions, so it made this book just extra special for me.
Definitely recommend and will most certainly be continuing this series!!