Today’s the day! Gillian Bronte Adams is an INCREDIBLE author, whose books I devour and leave me hungering for more, so it’s with great excitement that I can happily say: The long-awaited sequel to Orphan’s Song has finally released!
*cue trumpet blast and ecstatic flailing around with confetti fireworks in the background*
As you may remember, I ADORED Orphan’s Song (in fact, it was one of the top-two-favorite books I read in 2014) and I have been anxiously awaiting the continuance of the story after that cliffhanger… The wait is finally over!
Read on for my review, and be sure to drop by the author’s blog throughout the week to see what celebrations/giveaways/fun things are going on!
Songkeeper (The Songkeeper Chronicles, #2)
by Gillian Bronte Adams
YA Christian Fantasy
Released April 15, 2016
I received an advance reader copy of this book from the author (many thanks!) in return for my honest review, and these opinions are entirely my own.
My Review of Songkeeper
Well, THAT was a sandstorm whirlwind of a read! I’ll admit I had doubts in the middle of the book, when it felt pretty hopeless… But with the thrilling epicness overall, I ended up loving it, despite a quibble or two — which mostly boils down to the fact that I NEED BOOK THREE YESTERDAY!!! Ahem.
I’ve been breathlessly awaiting this book ever since the last cliff-hanger page of ORPHAN’S SONG, so I’m ecstatic to have finally read SONGKEEPER! It was different than I expected, but by no means disappointing!
I loved returning to this incredibly rich fantasy world… though it was less bright and green, since after all this is war-torn Leira. It’s a bit grimmer, but still gloriously original. I loved the new places and people encountered in this one, all fresh, new, and with a distinct flavor all their own (and another fantasy creature or two!). Intriguing desert dwellers — LOVED the lion-riding and the lioness looking after the little boys! — and more of a taste of the dwarves! SO excited about that, and looking forward to seeing more of them.
The writing was positively BRILLIANT. I absolutely loved the turns of phrase, the dialog, the masterfully woven narrative… It was all utterly brilliant. (Especially Amos’s point-of-view sections!) I’d read an entire book about nothing but eating porridge and counting bricks on a wall if it had this sort of gorgeous, genius writing. Naturally, SONGKEEPER was a far cry from that, and in fact a thrilling, breathtaking book!
It wasn’t like constant action? There were dashes of humorous, lighthearted moments mixed in at the most unexpected times, but the breathing spaces continually cut off suddenly and swept me back into the edge-of-your-seat danger and excitement again. VERY INTENSE. It sure kept me on my toes!
BUT BUT WE LEARN THINGS! So many hinted-at plot things start coming to light, and SO many more questions raised. Super exciting! I can’t wait to find out where it’s all going. (I also really, really want a prequel about the backstory of legendary characters we get hints about; a book about Artair, Hawkness, etc. would be AMAZING.) Also, the SONG! Ever-more intriguing and fascinating. I’m delighted with the Song parts of the story, and can’t wait to find out more!
But one of the best things? The CHARACTERS! Aaahh, this cast! They’re so real and I love them all. The interaction and banter and humor and struggles of these people who I love! Rundown of a few of them, since I simply MUST talk about them!
- Amos, ah, that testy, loyal, brave, dirk-wielding peddler with his accent and creative insults! Between the sand, lions, griffin, dangers and everything else, he’s absolutely DONE with all of it, which makes him even more humorous than ever. 😉 The way he cares for Birdie is just… alskdjflskdjl. *incoherent happy noises*
- Birdie continues to be a marvelous heroine, relateable and awesome. Love her parts of the story so much and can’t wait to follow her to the end.
- Ky is a precious little chocolate cupcake. I LOVE THIS BOY. This heroic, self-sacrificial little spitfire is doggedly determined to protect the Underground members at any cost, he won’t back down for any of the obstacles in his path. He’s just so awesome!
- Cade, still enigmatic leader of the Underground (with a definite Peter-Pan-meets-Florian-from-Lloyd-Alexander’s-Westmark-trilogy thing going, at least for me). I will stand by myself in the Cade-is-still-my-favorite corner and stubbornly insist I still like him. He wasn’t around as much, and I was a bit sad he seemed mostly relegated to a Ky’s-rival/almost-villain role, but I maintain he’s misunderstood and broken AND I STILL LOVE CADE AND NO ONE CAN CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE. ❤
- Gundhrold the griffin is… well, a griffin, so = AWESOME. He and Amos together are perfection. 😄 I don’t remember if he was wise/sniffy in the first book? But it’s great to see more of him.
- Sym is quite the punchy (stabby? Because spears…?) and epic lion-riding desert warrior-woman. She’s awesome and I really loved her addition to the group. She and Amos make a surprisingly effective fighting pair! Loved their bits.
- Migdon, oh, Migdon! Dangerous, epic, dramatic, and nicknamed Silvertongue for his persuasiveness, this dwarf is awesome, and his bickering relationship with Ky is so much fun. Love him, and the two of them together!
- AND I have to mention Balaam. I will say no more here, besides: AWESOME and hilarious! 😄
SONGKEEPER has a darker, grimmer, grittier tone than the first book. War, violence, death (lots of death… which I wasn’t happy about) and things looking more hopeless for Birdie, Ky, Amos, and all of Leira. Not for the faint at heart, one could say. It’s the time of the story when Sam’s words from The Two Towers movie come to mind: “And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end; because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?” So here’s me hoping that book 3 will get to the “even darkness must pass” and “when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer” part. 😉
As the middle book of a trilogy, SONGKEEPER follows on from book 1 fantastically, though it ends on another cliff-hanger-type note (which has me desperate for the next book to find out what happens!) and didn’t have a lot of closure. But I will say that it feels like one completed segment of a story, and leaves the main characters at a couple of important turning-points, setting up for the next chapter of the adventure, so I’m excited about that.
I will say that I accidentally saw several spoilers online, so I knew some of the twists and deaths before they happened, which was a mixed blessing because it was sad that I already knew about them but at the same time it lessened the punch of the reveals (which is both good and bad) and I’m likely less of an emotional wreck than I would have been. 😉
I also wish I’d reread ORPHAN’S SONG before tackling this one, but SONGKEEPER had enough reminders, so it was fine, but think I’d have picked up on more of the awesomeness if the first one was fresh in my mind. I’ll just have to have an epic reread of both when book 3 releases — which will be a glorious day indeed!
So yes, very much looking forward the next book! On that note, I will be very put out if a certain character or two end up dead… AHEM. We shall see! And storywise, well, they’re all so incredibly doomed right now, I don’t know HOW they’re going to get out of this mess. I’m on the edge of my seat here and I NEED BOOK THREE! Can’t. Wait. 🙂
About the Book
Songkeeper (The Songkeeper Chronicles, #2) – Gillian Bronte Adams
War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.
Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.
Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?
Find the Book
About the Author
Gillian Bronte Adams is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a Christian youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, released Fall 2014 from Enclave Publishing, followed in the Spring of 2015 by Out of Darkness Rising from Magpie Eclectic Press.
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