SONG OF BLOOD & STONE
Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One
by L. Penelope
St. Martin's Press
YA Fantasy / Science Fiction / Romance
COMING TOMORROW. . .
MAY 1st, 2018!!!
Warning for parents: While marked as YA (intended for the Young Adult audience, ages 14 to 18), this book holds very explicit, graphic, intimate scenes.
Set in a wonderfully vivid world, this is a story full of fantasy, discrimination, fighting against the odds, and finding oneself.
Jasminda leads a solitary life. Her family has disappeared or is dead, leaving her alone with a lovely small farm in a country she's apart of but will never feel at home in. Not only does her skin color set her apart, but she harbors magical powers and comes from the nation over the mountains—one the people in her one land greatly fear. When she finds an injured man on the roadside who claims he's being hunted by enemy soldiers, she's sure he's delirious. But not only her world, but those of both countries are about to be turned upside down. Her solitary life disappears leaving her at the center of a war and so much more.
I love the world building in this one. The author brings the small town and Jasminda's farm to life, making it easy to soak in the sights and sounds. It's peaceful (at first) and clashes so well will the harsh prejudice Jasminda faces. Within a few pages, the author weaves in Jasminda's problems and gains immediate empathy for the character. Jasminda is a lovely girl, inside and out, and it's hard not to love her from the very first page.
The magic in this book was layered and complex. There's a little bit of background given, which unfolds more and more through Jasminda's visions and the people she meets. Still, I found this aspect a bit confusing at times, especially during the first half of the book. Still, the magic flows well and has a nice natural side, which fits well with Jasminda.
Fast-paced describes most of the read. The secrets and danger mount constantly as Jasminda's world and situation fluctuate constantly. It's hard to guess what will happen next. The evil is delightfully horrible, and the world around Jasminda is so uncertain that it's impossible for anything to settle into the realm of boring. She has so much to face, externally and inwardly. It's hard to put this book down.
The romance is strong and a vital part of the story. Unfortunately, being sold as a YA, it's too strong and, in my opinion, should be classified as a NA (over 18). The intimate scenes are very explicit and parents need to be aware of this. There is also a near rape scene which is also graphic. Other than this, the romance was a bit too quick for my taste and missed the necessary build-up and chemistry before diving into bed.
All in all, this is a nice read. The writing is beautiful, the tension kept high and Jasminda is an amazing character to root for until the end. It's a wonderful beginning to what appears to be a great series.
And here she is. . .
Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.
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