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Review: Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams

Look! Birdie seems to be singing a dinosaur through a hedge! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest

I’m back on the Song of Leira release blog tour to share my review! And also some snazzy photos I took for Gillian’s Take Your Book on an Adventure photo contest (details at the end of this post — but it ends in just a couple of days, so be sure to get in on it!).

I took Song of Leira on an adventure to the Creation Evidence Museum, and the Dinosaur Valley State Park with dinosaur footprints in the riverbed (both in Glen Rose, TX), so that’s where these pictures scattered through the post are from!

(There mayyy not be dinosaurs, exactly, in this book, but there are definitely some big scary critters, so close enough!)

Enjoy the pics and review, and thanks for reading. ^_^

#SongofLeiraContest


Title: Song of Leira

Author: Gillian Bronte Adams

  • Date read: June 5, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 411 (paperback)
  • Series: The Songkeeper Chronicles, #3 (Book 1: Orphan’s Song. Book 2: Songkeeper.)
  • Fave character: GAH. How can I pick? Cade, Birdie, Ky, Amos, Gundhrold… so there.
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher (thanks!) and was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

There’s some kind of beastie footprint down where Birdie sang the water away! (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

The sweeping, epic conclusion to the Songkeeper Chronicles trilogy, SONG OF LEIRA far exceeded my expectations and does not disappoint! AAHH! My heart is so full. ^_^ *hugs book* I’m not using “epic” lightly—it really is that.

I haven’t read a book with such overwhelming hope in a long time. Yes, there’s darkness and war and death and sorrow, but in the midst of it, the light and the Song pour out hope and peace and strength. It’s full of those times when you feel like everything’s lost, but then there are moments of eucatastrophe and those good surprises (particularly near the end!) that make everything right.

After the darkness and shattering despair of the dark-before-the-dawn middle of the series, Songkeeper, I was worried this final installment wouldn’t live up to my hopes, but it rallied and brought me soaring through the conclusion on wings of exhilaration like a griffin. 😀 Twice, SONG OF LEIRA had tears pricking my eyes—at a certain death (still broken up over that one, though at least there was peace and purpose to it) and reading the beautiful final paragraphs of the novel. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all at once, and still dark much of the time (there are a few side characters I could have wished survived), but the overall feeling I came away with was hope and joy. 🙂 It just stirred my soul so much. ❤

The book started out a little quietly but it soon pulled me in and swept me away on the adventure. We’re in the mountains in this one, with Ky and the runners of the Underground, Birdie and the griffin, and many other characters we meet along the way, both friends and enemies, new and old, and so many places… but I don’t want to give anything away! The world is so vivid and I love it. ^_^

I also loved following Birdie and Ky on their journeys, as they fall and get up again over and over—as they doubt and find their way, and make mistakes and grow and learn, and become so much more than they could have imagined. Becoming heroes worthy of legend and song. And Gundhrold the griffin and Amos and—gaah, I love them all! There are new characters too—I particularly love Frey, the beast from the cover!

Is it the River of Song? (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

All the characters are so HUMAN (I mean… except for the actual non-human characters. *cough* But you know what I mean!) and we bleed and struggle and triumph along with these broken but determined souls. I love them so much! ^_^ These are definitely some characters who’ve wrapped themselves around my heart. (Yes, including Cade. He may be arrogant at times, but I still love him! He wasn’t in it much, but I was so glad he got to come in near the end like that! 😀 He’s still one of my favorites despite everything, and I will not apologize. 😛 CADE.) Even the villains are written in such a compelling way that they seem human too. There was one in particular I hoped for a better ending for, but… ah well.

Another thing I found delightful was the Song and what the Songkeeper can do—it was such a unique thing and made me love this fantasy world even more! A unique “magic system” for lack of a better term (gift?) helps set apart a fantastic series from a merely good one. I just love all the stuff about the Song, and it was wonderful to see Birdie come into her own at last! Also her humility in not taking the credit to herself but pointing it back to the Master Singer. Christian fantasy done absolutely RIGHT. ❤

Some of it can also be fun, too! The little moments of humor or wonder made my day. ^_^ The writing, too, is gorgeous—effortlessly drawing the reader along and painting everything so vividly, in soul-stirring moments of near-poetry at times. Gillian Bronte Adams is definitely a talented author, and this is her best book yet. (Sometimes I was reminded of another of my favorites, Lloyd Alexander, at his best—which is high praise from me. :))

The plot was exciting too! It brings so many threads together from throughout the trilogy and ties most of them together so that everything falls in place in an utterly right and satisfying way. I’m not going to spoil anything, but WOW. That ending! So epic and thrilling! (And I got a slight Arthurian vibe, which is always welcome. ;))

SONG OF LEIRA is a breathtaking, fulfilling, and so rewarding conclusion to what has been a beautiful journey of a fantasy trilogy, masterfully penned and threading its way through my heart.

It brings you through the darkest shadows of night and on to the glorious rays of dawn.

This—THIS—is what epic fantasy with echoes of truth is meant to be.

Just imagine Song of Leira being printed on this Gutenberg press replica! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest


The Song bids her rise to battle.

Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged.

Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army – singers who can shake the earth and master the sea – and monsters rampage across the land.

As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer.

Find Song of Leira online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD

Add Song of Leira to your Goodreads Shelf


NEED TO CATCH UP ON THE SERIES?

Orphan’s Song (Book 1) Her solo is a death sentence. When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced on the run, she must decide who to trust: a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or the mysterious creature who claims to know her past. With war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on her song.

Songkeeper (Book 2) War ravages Leira & the Song has fallen silent. Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into enemy territory, while Ky returns to his besieged city to save the Underground runners. Legend speaks of a mythical spring beneath the Takhran’s fortress and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it. Everyone believes Birdie is the one. But can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?


TAKE YOUR BOOK ON AN ADVENTURE CONTEST

To celebrate Song of Leira‘s release, Gillian Bronte Adams is running a contest to show that reading and adventuring go hand in hand! Snag a picture or video of you adventuring with your book, tag it #SongofLeiraContest and post it online. Winners will be announced on June 22 at the “Song of Leira and King’s War Facebook Party.”

To see the prizes at stake and the official contest guidelines, head over to Gillian’s website.

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Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Here, have a review from a couple of March Magics ago, which I never got around to posting. 😛 (This is making me want to get it out of the library again and re-read it!)

DSmirror

5starratingTitle: Deep Secret

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

I’ve discovered that I’m downright horrendous at writing reviews for books by Diana Wynne Jones. I plan to write one, then I put it off, and put it off, because I know that it’s far too complex to do justice to in a review — and how even do I wrap my head around it all, exactly?? So once again, as I did with Fire and Hemlock, I’m going to need to just start typing and hope something semi-coherent and possibly slightly resembling a review will come out of it…

This story is a mix of fantasy/sci-fi/modern, with some other worlds thrown in for good measure. Most of it takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention of all places. Talk about an original setting! It’s in first person but you totally forget this fact as the story draws you in.

I found this one in the adult section of the library (I usually frequent the YA room… sorry-not-sorry, but all the good stuff’s there!). I suppose it’s a bit more Adult than most of DWJ’s books (more language/dark/gruesome/disturbing/implied stuff) so be aware of that. I don’t really recommend it to teens because it’s kinda dark… But it’s so absorbing!

I LOVED the multiple-worlds stuff. Absolutely fascinating.

There are centaurs! YES.

I also loved the idea of “deep secrets” which Magids (the magic users) thread into the world through stories and art and such. Absolutely brilliant.

There were also a few things about writing and I think some jibes at publishers, etc., which I found hilarious. XD

DS-DWJ

The DWJ library book visiting some of its cousins who live on my shelf

I think it’s possible DWJ put herself in it. There was a lecture on A Sense of Humour in Fantasy. “Some woman beside him wrote funny stuff too” and said that in her own writing, sometimes her jokes made her laugh. (And I remember in some interview or essay or somewhere, DWJ said that about herself.) So I think she put herself into this book and I LOVE IT.

She definitely put in a fan of her book “Archer’s Goon”, as somebody at the convention wore a badge that said “All power corrupts, but we need electricity.” I was just sitting there grinning absurdly as I read that. XD

There are other references too, which made me happy, like to LOTR (somebody had a T-shirt that he said read: “I am a Hobbit.” In Elvish. I think she was making fun of these people, but it was funny. XD), and The Princess Bride. And at one point there was something about being rather like “a magical Bertie Wooster with an invisible butler”. I totally lost it there. It was the BEST.

As usual with DWJ books, there’s a fabulous cast of characters that I love. There’s Maree and Rupert (who tell the story in turns) and they’re so… well… THEM. It’s hard to explain. But I love ’em! Then there are other characters like Will (he’s great!) and Rob the centaur (!!). And one of my absolute favorites is Maree’s cousin Nick—who is, I hear, based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman, who Diana Wynne Jones knew. She based Nick off him, and he’s so incoherent in the morning before he’s eaten breakfast and IT MADE MY DAY. So very hilarious. And one can’t forget neighbor Andrew, the “fabulous Nordic type”! But no more, lest there be spoilers. (Oh! And the quacks! A sort of otherworldly duck. 😀 Loved them!)

I’m absurdly proud of myself for only staying up until 2-something a.m. and having the willpower to go to bed without finishing the last 70 pages. I got to the part where it said: “And, I see in retrospect, that was the last moment when events were in any way within my control.” And I thought: “Welp, I’d better go to bed before things get worse.” 😛

Anyway, DWJ is brilliant and I love her books so much, and this one was no exception! It was longer than many of them. I get addicted to her longer books and LIVE in them, and then have a tendency to accidentally go around in a haze for the next few days, vaguely living in the story again in the back of my mind after spending 414 pages in it…

DeepSecret

“Where is the road to Babylon? / Right beside your door.”

The road I’m looking for is the road to the library to get the sequel, thank you very much.

The story doesn’t need it, but I do.

summary

From Goodreads:

deepsecretAll over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too…

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary Fantasy / Sci-fi / Inter-world Fantasy / ??? / DIANA WYNNE JONES (which is a category of its own, or should be, because it’s really hard to fit her books into pigeonholes…)

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1997

Pages: 414

Series?: Book 1 of Magids; followed by The Merlin Conspiracy

When Read: March 22 – 23, 2016

Favorite Character: Oh my GOODNESS, don’t ask me this! O_O (Er… I know I’m asking myself; shush.) Rupert or Rob or Nick or Will or Andrew or somebody. Probably most of the cast because you just get so attached to DWJ characters…

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read for March Magics, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading

Have you read this one? I feel this NEED to talk to people who have. XD (And I also want to re-read it either before or after Realm Makers, because Sci-fi/Fantasy Conference…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer