Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One
by L. Penelope
St. Martin's Press
YA Fantasy / Science Fiction / Romance

MAY 1st, 2018!!!

L. Penelope's Song of Blood & Stone is 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 Lagrimar 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 its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save the land 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.


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.

Book Buzz. . . 

"Wonderful characters, unique setting, and an engaging romance set against the backdrop of ancient magic. I can't wait to see what L. Penelope will do next."Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Prepare to be hooked. SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is brimming with captivating lore, unique magic, and plot-turns you never saw coming. L. Penelope has written your next fantasy obsession." Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author of The Loom Saga

"Set against a backdrop of myth and magic, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping tale of love, duty and destiny that feels as urgent as it does timeless.” Rebecca Roanhorse, author of TRAIL OF LIGHTNING

SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is an enchanting journey through a world more relevant than ever. Wars between Gods, romance, action—it’s everything I love all at once.”  K Arsenault Rivera, author of THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER

"SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping journey of magic, romance, sacrifice, and self-discovery. These heartwarming characters, their trials and adventures, and their love for each other will stay with you long after the book ends." Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicles

"SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a thrilling and complex journey through a beautifully rendered world that is imaginative, magical, and eerily similar to our own. A terrific read!" Daniel Jose Older, New York Times bestselling author

"Great characters, beautiful writing, incredible world building." Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestselling author

1 comment:

cleemckenzie said...

Thanks for the parental warning. I always appreciate it when I'm given a heads up about a book that's graphic.