Orphan’s Song – Review!

You may remember my cover highlight post for “Orphan’s Song” by Gillian Bronte Adams

Now, having read it… today I’m here to review it!

Orphan's Song--Front Cover 02

Orphan’s Song

by Gillian Bronte Adams

Summary: Who Will Keep the Song Alive?

Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.

When Birdie’s song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power.

Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira. Book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles.

My Review for “Orphan’s Song” by Gillian Bronte Adams

5 stars – Magnificent!

I find it hardest to review the books I love the most. There’s a reason I’ve never written a review for The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Prydain, etc… Something about their greatness and the depth of my love for them makes it virtually impossible for me to even attempt to review certain books. It’s a daunting task. How do I do justice to them? How do I sum up in a review with my own feeble words the vast awesomeness of how much I loved a book?

I’m going to try, though, in this case. Because ORPHAN’S SONG is definitely one of those books.

Before I can get to the useful part of this review, I just have to squeal a little. ALL THE FEEEEEEELS!!! I CAN’T EVEN. When I finished, I was flailing around and babbling incoherently to my sister, trying to explain how much I loved it and how many feels it gave me. (…Much of which is spoiler-ish to even mention.) BUT SO MANY FEELS. AND THE CHARACTERS. I LOVE ALL OF THEM. YES, ALL. BIRDY AND KY AND AMOS AND CADE! CADE CADE CADE. AND A CERTAIN SOMEBODY WHO I CANNOT MENTION BECAUSE IT IS SECRET BUT OH MY GOODNESS I DON’T KNOW IF I EVER HAD SO MANY CONFLICTING FEELS BEFORE. AAAAAAH.

There is my overall opinion. 😉 So now that’s out of the way, here are the reasons WHY I loved ORPHAN’S SONG so much. The characters are a big part of it, but I’m going to get to them in a little while.

The plot itself was exciting and awesome–so much adventure and peril and epicness! I loved how it followed different points of view. When the characters all converged I was almost squealing with excitement! I love that feeling of following different characters and you see them about to come together and then they do, and just YES.

I loved the writing–it flows in a way that is natural but beautifully crafted.

And the SONG. I loved everything about the Song. It was done gorgeously! Eeep. I also like Christian fantasy when it’s done right, and I felt it was done extremely well… It fit in perfectly and was uplifting.

Sometimes fantasy worlds are hard pressed to hit the right balance between being full of fantasy, magic, wonder, strangeness… but also being believable. The world in ORPHAN’S SONG was beautiful and wild and dangerous, and I loved it. It felt somehow natural, and not even put on display like many fantasy worlds; it was all there, but neither over-stressed, nor too much in the background.

The Underground was awesome! Its literal undergroundness and all the youngsters organized like a delightful mix of Peter Pan and Ender’s Game (the good parts of both).

I don’t believe that I’ve EVER read a book with characters who were more realistically HUMAN than in ORPHAN’S SONG. And by human, I don’t mean flawed, or relateable; I mean REAL. I like characters who are straightforwardly good or bad… I’m tired of the ”flaw” argument for ”realistic” characters. The bad characters and the good characters were all noticeably bad or good. But the bad ones… they had some spark of decency or something that made me connect with them; the good ones each had their own problems, and I even had uncertainties about some, being unsure if they would remain good or if they would make the wrong choice… But I loved all the characters (okay, with the exception of the Takhran), and they didn’t seem to me to be crafted figments of an author’s imagination, trying to have the right mix of virtues and flaws in appropriate balance to make them ”real” or ”human”… They WERE real and human. I can’t explain it very well, but I don’t think I’ve hardly ever read a book with characters like this, who seemed that much like real people. I don’t know how Gillian Bronte Adams did it, but I’m in awe.

As for the individual characters…

Birdie was a fabulous heroine! I loved her and just wanted to hug her the whole time. It’s actually rare for me to like a female MC very much, since normally they annoy me or are too wimpy or too much of a tough-girl. Birdie was perfect, though. She had a quiet strength, relateable but brave, that I loved.

Amos… What can one even say about Amos? He’s an absolute awesome delight. I love his stubbornness and loyalty and occasional grumpiness and Scottish accent and just everything about him! EEEEEEE.

Ky was fantastic–I enjoyed him a ton and can’t wait to see more of him! Clever thief-lads are some of my favorite kinds of characters, and he was just great.

AND CADE. The leader of the Underground, he’s so awesome and probably my favorite, if I can even pick one (which is difficult). I absolutely loved Cade! SO MUCH.

THE GRIFFON. WAS. PERFECT. I wish there was more with him!

I also liked Hendryk. Is that weird? I just thought he was done really well as someone who’s just a normal soldier, so we can kind of see his point of view even though he’s with the badguys. I also loved how he kept popping up everywhere.

As for complaints… yes, I did have a couple. I was a little annoyed at how we kept being in a certain character’s point of view, but we still didn’t see all the secrets that character knew, even though we kept getting glimpses of them in thought-processes–but it would suddenly stop right before it got to the important thing. That’s one of my particular annoyances in books, where the character whose head we’re in lets us see everything they’re thinking… EXCEPT for the one particular teeny-tiny-enormous secret that is deliberately being hid from us until ”the right moment”. Just. Meh. I understand why it’s done, but it doesn’t keep me from being quite impatient whenever I find it in a book. It would work fine in a movie, with microscopic flash-backs or whatever, but in a movie we’re not in the character’s HEAD. By the time we learned the secret I’m talking of (which I do admit I was dying to learn), I had mostly guessed it already, so although it was awesome, I was still left a bit with a feeling of being annoyed with the device of how the secret was kept veiled.

One warning: the book sort of ends on a cliff-hanger. Like, a lot. But, unlike in most reviews where I talk of cliff-hangers, I’m not going to shriek incoherently about my need for a-sequel-right-NOW-get-to-it-at-once-author-do-you-hear? Nope. In this case, I want the sequel SO much that . . . I can wait. And I will. As long as it takes. Even if the author forgets about the series and goes on to write something else for a decade or two (which is, I hope, unlikely) before releasing the second book, I will still be waiting.

I will wait patiently for the moment when I can hold book 2 in the Songkeeper Chronicles in my hand, open it up to the first page, and continue this journey with the characters I love, in this intriguing fantasy land, by this author who has captured the heart of a fabulous story on paper and shared it with fortunate readers.

(Technically, I did receive a free e-copy of this book in return for my honest review–many thanks to the author! But I also bought the paperback as soon as it came out because I needed to own it; and I read most of it out of that. All of that being said, I was in no way required to be positive and these are my own personal opinions.)

***

I’m not putting spoilers in this review… but if you have read the book, feel free to go over to my review on Goodreads, where I have a spoiler-tagged part near the end, so that you can see my incoherent spoiler-filled flailing. 😉

***

You can find Orphan’s Song on:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 Goodreads

***

And you can find Gillian Bronte Adams here:

Her Blog: Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

***

Author Bio: Gillian Bronte Adams was born with a pen in her hand, a sword at her side, and a saddle beneath her feet. As a speculative fiction writer from the great state of Texas, she delights in combining epic adventure and fantasy with themes that point to the greatest story of all—or, as she refers to it, writing to the echoes of eternity. During the day, she works as the Equine Director at a Christian youth camp, while at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs and transforms into a novelist.

THAW: Fairytale Series Launch! (& Giveaway)

Thaw Crown promo

I’m thrilled to join in the blog hop for the launch of some exciting new books–the THAW series, which are wintry fairytale retellings!

Make sure to check out the other posts in the tour!

Today I’m privileged to interview Miss Elizabeth Kaiser about her new series, and there’s a giveaway at the end of the post (make sure to enter!) but first, the books themselves…

The first two books released this last week, and book 3 is releasing on Amazon Kindle today soon! (EDIT: Prince of Demargen is actually now releasing January 20 — which is also when the giveaway runs to!)

THAW: books 1 – 3

Thaw  WCh promo1: Winter’s Child

A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way.

Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don’t know what to do with it.

AMAZON

[Pinterest Board]

***

Thaw  WQu promo2: Winter Queen

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world… and it’s only when she takes the final step that the realizes the wall she’s built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever… unless she discovers how to destroy it.

The only one who can break a neurosis… is the one who has it.

AMAZON

[Pinterest board]

***

Thaw PrD promo3: Prince of Demargen

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

The only person who can help him… is the one he most deeply wronged.

AMAZON

[Pinterest board]

***

Interview with E. Kaiser Writes

1. Is there a story behind how the titles came about?

Well, I’d wanted to write a piece titled Winter Queen for some time now, it just seemed like such a great title and there was a lot of heavy drama in it, to my mind. (Also I had a lovely picture for the cover, of a white dress taken by my sis that evoked a story-tale feel.) But I had another person’s story in my head (basically a maiden ends up married to Winter itself, and she becomes the Winter Queen and lives forever while everyone else dies, but that’s okay because she’s protected from the cold by her husband.) I didn’t want to go that route, but nothing was materializing. Then when Frozen came out, and I liked some of what they did, but felt there was so much missing… especially the Christian themes in Anderson’s original. While researching that the idea came to combine the Snow Maiden tale with the Snow Queen, borrow a bit from Disney’s version, (it is a universal truth that as soon as they do a version of a tale it immediately becomes the stock version for American audiences!) add in some historical aspects, toss it into a not-quite-Europe world and add a generous helping of “what it then?”

After that it just grew, and became three books. Winter’s Child just made sense as the prequel’s title, and once the full scope of the project became evident, Prince of Demargen was a natural follow up.

The other two in these “first five” will be Reindeer King, and Princess of Noran. So there’s sort of a theme through there, going Child, Queen, Prince, King, Princess… and they each have their slightly different arc focusing on another character of the original four that get introduced in Winter’s Child. That really is the origins book that sets up the rest of the series… I think a person could read any of the others as stand-alones just fine, but they’d be missing some of the subtle hints that start out in Winter’s Child.

2. If you had to describe subgeneres/categories for the books, besides fairy tale retellings, which would you pick? (action/adventure/romance/humor/historical fiction/fantasy etc.)

Definitely historical fiction and fantasy. This has a majorly hist-fic feel, readers often comment on the “realness” of the settings and the culture, and I love being able to give homage, so to speak, to real history, without actually hijacking it and making it suit my needs. This is a fantasy tale, with prayers answered in supernatural ways; it is a fairytale in the most wonderous sense of the word and anything can happen here. But there is a firm foundation from history underneath it all, and that just enhances the marvelousness, to my mind.

3. How long did it take you to write these first three THAW books?

They had percolated in my mind a long time, as I resisted writing them down. I had “better things to work on” and I was trying to “finish the WIPs” that pack my docs folders… but then, just to get the plot out of my head and encourage it to fly away, I told my sister about it. She got so excited that she insisted a write it down, even if just to make it a story or novella length. “Just write the really good parts.”

Ha!

As soon as I started writing is all came pouring out in a huge tangled mass and there were no “not good parts” I could throw away. It quickly escalated to a novel, then two, and I was really hoping to keep it there. But no… Winter’s Child splintered off as a origins prequel, and then Reindeer King and Princess of Noran insisted on happening, and we were up to a five book set up.

Then… our boy Hess, (did you know that Hess is named after a place in Germany? Also, we once had neighbors with the last name of Hess, and as soon as I cast about of a name for our beloved Prince of Demargen, Hess just stuck to him like glue. As a nod to the historical origins, his mother Queen Agatha, says it’s from her side of the family… and she is a inner kingdom princess, from the area on the map, if correlated to the Europe’s map; would be approximately Hesse. With a silent “e”.) Anyway, our boy Hess is one of 13 princes, (which we borrowed from the Disney version, it was too cute to toss, and the sequels it leads to…!!!!) So… his 12 older brothers all get spin-offs, retelling other fairytales. Princess and the Pea? Yep. Snow White? Yep. Cinderella? You got the picture!!!

ThawBut first, we’ll travel back in time to when our boy Hess was only a little tyke, too young to be out of the nursery, and the year that his 12 older brothers got into trouble of a nasty sort in Twelve Dark Knights, (a 12 Dancing Princesses twist.) (I absolutely love this one! It’s going to be so much fun!)

Anyway, to answer your question, Winter’s ChildWinter Queen, & Prince of Demargen came out in one year; I started letting them onto the page last January. Those 3 are finished, and I have 56k on Reindeer King, under 10k on Princess of Noran (a super fun book!) and 17k on Twelve Dark Knights. (Another super fun one!)

So yeah. We’ll have to see how this year goes, but I hope to have 3-to-5 of the others readied, possibly out, by 2016. I have to move fast, because they’re putting so much pressure on my poor brain! I’ve got to get them removed…

4. Do you have a favorite character in these books? Tell us a bit about them! (A character for each of the three books is allowed, if you have to. ;))

Oooooh!!!! Okay, hard one.

My favorite character is probably Princess Ilise, later Queen Ilise. She is the most like me, and I based a lot of her flaws on my own. The tendency to withdraw from conflict, and then suddenly blow up icily when she reaches a tipping point… her arguments were so easy to write because they came filtering through my own teen explosions. Her triumph is what I’d love to be like some day, and her ultimate happy ending is possibly the sweetest one ever.

A close second would be Hess… even though he goes through a bout with the Devil’s Mirror consuming his heart, he makes such a pitch perfect performance in Prince of Demargen.

5. What authors/books do you think have influenced your writing the most?

Oh, yes! Definitely J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander and the KJV. I love the rhythm of the words, and they paint such brilliant pictures.

6. Just for fun: do you have a favorite color? (Hey, I’m one for classic questions. ;))

I’ve long held my favorite color to be blue, but as an artist they are all indefensible. (Except many fluorescent pink/green/ orange… 😉 )

7. Thanks so much for joining us! Any closing thoughts?

I’m so excited to be putting these first three of the series out pretty much simultaneously, and I can’t wait to hear what more readers think of them! There will end up being a lot in this series, (I’d love to hit as many tales as I can,) so I’m very thrilled about beginning this path with so many enthusiastic people, and I hope we just continue to be joined by more and more fans as we go along it!

Thanks so much for hosting me, and I’m very glad of the chance to be here!!!

Giveaway

Be sure to click through to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of the books! There will be six winners! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

You can connect with E. Kaiser Writes at:

EKaiserWritesPhoto

Her Blog

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Cover Highlight: Orphan’s Song!

So here is something I’m EXTREMELY excited to share with you – a cover highlight on the upcoming book Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams!

I’ve long enjoyed Gillian’s fabulous blog, and a couple years back had the privilege of reading some of the early chapters of “Orphan’s Song” … I was blown away by even that little glimpse. Let me just say I’m positively giddy at the idea of it being published and reading the whole thing!

“Orphan’s Song”, book 1 of The Songkeeper Chronicles, is a YA Christian fantasy novel, and will be published this fall by Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press, which published one of my absolute favorite fantasy trilogies ever, The Blood of Kings Trilogy by Jill Williamson). I’m very excited!

Here is a link to the Kickstarter Campaign for Orphan’s Song and Enclave’s other titles releasing this fall. Be sure to check it out!

And now, just take a look at this GORGEOUS cover!! (I literally squealed aloud when I first saw it. ❤ It’s so pretty and totally captures the feel of the parts I read — it makes me want to read the book so much! I can’t wait till it officially comes out and I can dive into the tale, and put it on my shelf!)

Orphan's Song--Front Cover 02

Orphan’s Song

by Gillian Bronte Adams

Coming Fall 2014

Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.

When Birdie’s song attracts the attention of a notorious Khelari soldier, she is captured and forced into a centuries old conflict plagued with ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies, determined to discover the truth behind the Song’s power.

Ky Huntyr has stolen many a thing in his time as a street-wise thief and senior member of the Underground—a gang of orphans banded together to survive—but he never thought he would be guilty of successfully stealing a priceless treasure from the Khelari and bringing their wrath on his comrades. Haunted by the tragic consequences of his raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of drawing the Khelari after him to keep the Underground safe.

But war soon threatens all of Leira, and the enemy is closing in. When Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira.

***

*shivers in delight* Doesn’t it sound fabulous? You’re going to want to keep an eye out for this one, folks! And here is a bit more about the talented Gillian! (Be sure to go follow her blog. It’s one of my very favorites. Her fantasy posts are unequaled. ❤ )

Author Bio: Gillian Bronte Adams was born with a pen in her hand, a sword at her side, and a saddle beneath her feet. As a speculative fiction writer from the great state of Texas, she delights in combining epic adventure and fantasy with themes that point to the greatest story of all—or, as she refers to it, writing to the echoes of eternity. During the day, she works as the Equine Director at a Christian youth camp, while at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs and transforms into a novelist. You can find out more at her blog: http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/ or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gillianbronteadams.