Song of Blood & Stone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Song of Blood & Stone is a fantasy with strong elements of romance, excellent writing, and exceptional world-building. The beautiful cover is eye-catching and my attention was captured from start to finish. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an excellent fantasy/romance featuring captivating characters of color. Yay to diversity! I will definitely be reading more in this series. 5 stars!
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After four chapters, I didn't feel compelled to keep reading. Rather than giving a negative review, I can say that I'm not the right reader for this book, and I'm sure others will enjoy it.
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There were a lot of things I was liking about this book - a really interesting setup where two countries are separated by a magical barrier, deep worldbuilding in the form of folktales that head each chapter, and a neat idea of fusion between 1920s era technology and magic (I didn't feel this quite gelled but it was interesting).

So I've been trying to think of a way I can say this without sounding like I'm whining about romance getting in my fantasy but...

...the bottom line is, I don't want penis talk unless I'm reading erotica (and sometimes not even then because I read a lot more f/f erotica than m/f and i basically don't read m/m at all?)

But ymmv obviously. So if any of those themes sound appealing to you, definitely try this book out! It work for you.
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Thanks the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
It is a different and interesting story of magic, the inner battles of tow people and the cultural prejudices based on skin colour. 

I liked the idea but the love story was too sugary. The last few chapters though overpowered the love story and now I'm curious what is next so here I come book 2.
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I found this to be a very enjoyable, if not massively original book. It tells the story of Jasminda, a young mixed race girl struggling to get by in her town when she runs into Jack, a young soldier on a quest to awaken the Queen who Sleeps and save his people from the magic of the breach.

The Positives: There is a great magic system in play here and I liked the idea of connection to the elements as an Earthsinger. The mythology of the world is very interesting and the visions Jasminda experiences are well placed to reveal further information about the past, which I really appreciated. I also thought that the pacing was quite good and that the story kept my interest throughout. There was a lot of interesting discussion about refugees and belonging, which I thought was sensitively tackled in the narrative.
 
The negatives: I found the relationship between our protagonists a little bit rushed, which meant it didn't feel that authentic or believable. I also thought that there could have been a lot more exploration around the hostilities between the two lands. Some of the political intrigue was underdeveloped and fell a little flat. Finally, the story itself is just not that original and hits a lot of the same beats as many other fantasy tales.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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As with most books on NetGalley, this book is a great read. Captivating and intriguing. Thematically beautiful. Gorgeous writing.
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At its heart, this story is a social commentary. The focus is on the characters and the social conflicts between the countries of Elsira and Lagrimar. There is also a large dose of romance. I would recommend this book to fans of romance books set in a fantasy world.

From what I can glean, it seems that the revisions to this novel add in Benn and Ella's plotline. While they are likable characters and their plotline is compelling on its own, their story is not necessary for the main plot and, in fact, took away from Jasminda and Jack's story. I feel like their story would have better served as a novella that builds upon a beloved side character from this first book.

A note on the synopsis: 
I would not classify this as an epic fantasy. The conflict is centered between two countries. As far as I can tell, the events of this novel does not place the fate of the world at stake. The story also feels more about the characters and the social commentary than on earth-shattering stakes.

A note on the shelves I'm seeing: 
I can see fans of new adults reading this book since the characters are in their twenties. I would not classify this as a young adult, however. The characters are adults, and there are some explicit sex scenes.
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Song of Blood & Stone caught my attention with a beautiful cover. The heroine looked fierce, the war imminent. I requested a review copy from NetGalley immediately.

What Did I Like?

✔ Compelling story, like the beginning of a good fairy tale: two kingdoms, eternally at war, separated by a magical barrier, the Mantle. When the Mantle starts to colapse it’s up to a young farm girl Ella and young soldier Jack to save the day.

✔ Likable characters. A farm girl, a soldier, a hairdresser, … At first glance an ordinary people similar to you and me.

✔ Covers some serious topics like fear of progress and racism. Through the story, L. Penelope made these topics easier to understand for young adults. If you start lecturing to your kids how they should not have a negative attitude toward someone just because they are different, they will probably just hear ‘Blah blah blah’. Now, you can give them Song of Blood & Stone instead.

"It must be hard living in a land with so much sameness that any deviation at all stands out."

What I Didn’t Like?

✘ Obvious plot twists and revelations. I thought that there was no way it would be so simple, but unfortunately, it was.

✘ Love story took over the second part of the book. When everything was getting more intense, I was annoyed that the main topic was the main characters’ feelings instead of the battle happening around them.

✘ The worldbuilding was muddled. Like in fairy tales, if you started to poke it, it would start to fall apart. Why all people from Elsira feared change and modern technology so much?

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Song of Blood & Stone had a lot of potential. While there could have been more world-building and less romance, I like the themes covered in this series, so I will give it a chance and read a sequel.
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This was as delightful on reread as it was the first time, I also enjoyed seeing the subplot with the sisters, and am curious to see how that ties into future books.
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After a chapter or two to really get into it, I began to enjoy this book. Jasminda was an interesting character who had to survive much hardship. When Jack almost fell into her lap, the book really picked up steam, and I enjoyed the journey the two of them had to go on, from war captives to magical caves, etc. Then, however, they made it back to "civilization" and Jack's military comrades. And at that point the book became just not as good, in my opinion. A lot of the "magic" was lost once they got to the big city, and the romance between Jack and Jasminda overwhelmed the story. To go back to my earlier analogy, the book lost steam at that point. I wasn't sure where the author was going and it seemed like some depth to the characters and story was missing. When the book reached the climax, the author's descriptions seemed almost matter-of-fact and therefore everything was a bit anti-climactic. While overall this was a good book, that was almost the problem with it--it was just "good" when it could have been great.
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A sleeping Queen, A false God and a young couple caught up in the makings of another brutal war, this is Song of Blood & Bone. Jasminda and Jack, our main protagonists are from completely different worlds but manage to come together in a world that seems to be destined to keep them apart.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised reading this one and that’s only because it featured young/new adults. I’m not a major fan of this genre but if I continue to come across more stories that feature characters such as Jasminda, Jack and the rest of this cast of characters, then I can stick around for a minute of two.

I truly enjoyed how this author was able to mix the world of magic and also encompass such serious topics of race, social status, and divisive propaganda. I tell you to read a story that reflects our current time in this Country is just…something, you know?

L. Penelope was able to bring all of the things I mentioned above together very well. The world building took me some time to catch onto and I do wish the author had just given us a tad more information on the countries of Elsira and Lagrimar. The breakdown of the magic world and Earthsingers was outstanding though.

I look forward to falling in love more with the world of Earthsingers and can’t wait to try books two and three.
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"Song of Blood & Stone" had a great premise and a beautiful cover, so I was looking forward to diving into the first book in Earthsinger Chronicles. Unfortunately, this book wasn't for me.

I enjoyed the first chapters, but I got more and more confused and honestly bored out of my mind as the story progressed. Don’t get me wrong, there were many intriguing elements in the worldbuilding and the characters were interesting (at least at the beginning), but there was just too much info dump for me and too many elements in this fantasy world. There was a certain magic system with spells and Songs (written with a capital letter, I don’t know why) and songs could be trapped or stolen and I have no idea how it all was supposed to make sense! The characters were childish and they all merged in my mind after a while. 

There was an instant attraction between Jack and Jasminda, the main characters in the story. It is really disappointing when the characters just meet and there is the instant attraction between them. This time it was even more ridiculous than usual, because Jack was laying on the side of the road, badly hurt, his bullet wound was seriously infected (black with infection and oozing, to be exact) and he still had enough stamina to notice Jasminda's good looks. And Jasminda was an outsider and in general a misunderstood special snowflake with amazing superpowers.   

I think that this novel was too long and there were too many characters and too much unnecessary information. It was like the author wanted to put everything she ever wanted to write about in one book. The style of writing also didn’t win me over. What’s more, the quotes from “collected folktales” at the beginning of each chapter seemed quite silly. They were written in a pretentious way, like there was some wisdom hidden in them, but it was just whimsical nonsense.  

Anyway, maybe the book will appeal to other readers.  

I received "Song of Blood & Stone" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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I think this is a reading first for me: the version of the first book in the Earthsinger Chronicles I read is billed as an "expanded edition", adding substantially more text (around 50,000 words) and a secondary storyline to a novel which has previously had both self-published and traditionally published incarnations. Having not read the previous editions, I was slightly apprehensive about what these additions would do to the story structure and how to handle them as a reviewer, but I was rewarded with a book whose dual stories work well together in terms of pacing and complementary worldbuilding, and despite the fairly limited interactions between them, I wouldn't have known this was an "expansion" without the note in the title.

At the heart of the novel is the story of Jasminda, a mixed race woman living near the border between the lands of Elsira and Lagrimar, countries which have been in a magically-induced standoff for decades following open war. Looking Lagrimari and able to use "Earthsong", a kind of magic particular to that land, Jasminda is treated as an outside within her Elsiran community and following the death of her parents she's now struggling to maintain control of her family's land in the face of greedy distant relatives. When a group of Lagrimari soldiers show up, assuming by Jasminda's presence that they're in their own country and bringing a rather handsome and valuable prisoner with them, Jasminda is thrown into unfolding events between the two kingdoms, with epic results.

Song of Blood and Stone took a while to get going for me, and it wasn't until the second half, when Jasminda and Jack arrive at the capital of Elsira and some fairly significant plot shifts (and romance progressions) take place, that I started to wholeheartedly enjoy the reading experience. Once I got there, though, I found this to be a satisfying fantasy romance which leans into its tropes effectively, while still providing a novel worldbuilding backdrop for its protagonists to grapple with. Particularly neat were the opening sections to each chapter, which build an animal-based mythological pantheon for Elsira through snippets of different fables. Best of all, there's already a sequel available for those who enjoy this entry into the world of Elsira and Lagrimar.
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Received this book from the netgalley in exchange for the honest review.  Thank you to publisher for giving me this opportunity. Unfortunately I did not like it. I didn’t care about characters or the story itself. I dnf it at 40%.
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Characters 9
Atmosphere 8
Writing style 8
Plot 6
Intrigue 6
Logic 7
Enjoyment 8

I really think this book is coming from our current situation. With everything that is happening with refugees in the EU, I've found myself angry and thinking about my country politics against saving peoples lives. I loved how much this book could start a discussion and how much I've seen of myself in all these characters. We need hope for our future and for a better world. But I need to talk about the book, not our World, right? 
Even if I've found the message OUTSTANDING, I think the delivery was lacking. I've found myself wishing it was more suspense-driven and less world-building focused. For half of the book I wasn't connecting with what was going on, and really is a shame. I tried to listen to the audiobook but found so many differences with the arc, so I think the pacing was corrected in the final product.
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Thanks so much to Netgalley for providing me a digital ARC of this.

I liked Jasminda and the concept of Earthsong but the romance element was a little eye roll-y at times. I would have enjoyed some additional world building as well. I wasn't left with a clear sense of what sort of world this is.

I would consider reading a sequel but I was not in love with this first one.
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Song of Blood & Stone is the first book in a series by L. Penelope. Originally published in 2015, this reformatting and expanded edition published 16th July from Macmillan on their St. Martin's imprint, is 528 pages and available in special paperback format. Earlier editions are available in other formats.

The thing that first struck me about this book and this world was how rich and enthralling the world building and sense of place were. I was intrigued from the first page and read the entire book in two sittings. It's not often that I find a book which literally makes me lose track of time, but this one did. On the surface, it is a coming of age story with romance and magic set against a backdrop of epic fantasy.  Underneath the surface, it's a story which deals with universal themes. The author deals competently and honestly with loss, racism, xenophobia, sexism, ignorance, violence, threat, and inequity. I was unfamiliar with the author previously, and am inspired to go immediately and read all of her back catalog which I can find.

I did not have the original version of this book to compare with the updated release, so I can't speak to the differences in the manuscripts. A comparison of the page counts in the earliest and latest editions shows an approximately 200 page difference. Even allowing for typesetting and formatting differences, that is significant. The cover states that the newest version includes bonus material including new scenes.

This is a beautifully written novel. The language is relatively clean (shite, whore, etc), however there is physical abuse, sexual threat and implied rape, blatant racism, sexism, etc. All of it is used in context and despite being potentially depressing (and horrifying), after having read it, I was left hopeful, with positive feelings and a strong desire to read the next books and find out what happens.

Although there is a strong romantic subplot, it never tipped over into the maudlin for me. Protagonist Jacinda is strong and sensible and very likable. I was really rooting for her throughout.

Five stars. Looking forward to more.
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Love, love, love. I adore fantasy romance and this was just so good. This was an expanded edition and it dragged on a bit but I didn’t mind. Can’t wait to read the sequel.
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This is a fascinating tale about love, betrayal and jealousy about the haves and the have nots. This is a story of one land that was split into two because one twin was born brimming with magic and another one silent no magic at all. It's a story about a love so deep that the twin with magic tried to figure a way around to give her silent brother the gift of magic that eventually perverted the gift and caused a land to be sundered into two divided by an iron clad mantle. 
Jasminda through her mixed parentage has a week gift of earth song. Circumstances lead her into helping a prisoner Jack and catapults her into the center of the world stage where this mantle is failing and the Langrimar are trying to cross and conquer the hitherto silent people the Elsirans. As she and Jack make their escape from his captors she comes across other magical people and finds that with some amplification she can wield stronger magic and also see in visions the story of the twins and how the land was divided into two. Thanks to a corner stone she has she becomes the focus of the emperor of the Langrimar. 
A second thread weaves through this story of an ordinary couple and an extraordinary baby. It is unclear how this will play a bigger role in the future at this time but I'm sure things will become clearer in future books.  There is a great deal of suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat as the story plays out to an extremely satisfying conclusion.
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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*

This was enjoyable, yet not a very surprising read. The main elements are: two countries divided by a magical barrier, a girl fighting for her home, a wounded soldier fighting for his life, and a sister fighting for her sister's child. There is also a not surprising romance in there.

Yet the characters are more interesting than you would first think. The world building has a lot of potential, the underlying ideas concerning racism are super interesting, making this more than just your random fantasy novel. I grew to like all characters even though there were no surprising plot twists. Sometimes it's nice to be caught up in a well written story with a prince. :D

I am looking forward to #2!

3,5 Stars
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