Thursday, January 8, 2015

Early Critique: "Song of Blood and Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1)" by L. Penelope

I received this ebook for free via NetGalley, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This critique is my honest opinion.

To Be Published: January 13th, 2015

If you clicked on this review just to see the cover, I don't blame you- I did the same myself. Not only does it feature our diverse heroine, it also makes me want to frame it for my library due to its gorgeousness.

Moving on to the book itself, Song of Blood and Stone wasn't what I expected it to be- it was better. I often find myself lukewarm about books with awesome covers, but this one is a winner- if you like fantasy romance, of course. I had suspected the fantasy would be a lot lighter (as is the case with most fantasy romance) but once halfway through I began internal comparisons to the Tairen Soul series- which is basically epic fantasy romance. Although there doesn't appear to be any other races than human magic users and human non-magic users, there is a certain level of worldbuilding that one would expect from traditional fantasy.

The Plot:
Jasminda is used to being on her own, when, on the way back from picking up supplies in town, she comes across an injured delirious man who says he's a spy. She helps the man (named Jack), but he insists she hide when his supposed 'captors' are heard down the road, and soon finds he was telling the truth all along. Will Jasminda be able to free him, or will she become ensnared in a prison of her own making?

About the magic users: it appears to be a boon to have dark skin in this book, because the Lagrimarians are the only perceived magic users in the start of this book- using something they call Earthsong, a non-destructive magic that can't be used to kill. Because of that (or maybe not?), there is a certain amount of racism in this book against the magic users, who are derogatorily called grols. Jasminda, being a magic user, is subject to that hatred, and is often looked on with suspicion. Although her mother was from Elsira, her family were outcasts due to the intermarriage, and lived in a rural/deserted area near the border with Lagrimar.

Jasminda and Jack are an unlikely pair, and face undue scrutiny due to their different skin colors. I can't say a lot about their situation without spoiling, but Jack is a hero I grow to respect more as the book progresses. He may make some awful mistakes, but by the end of the book, I was on his side.

Song of Blood and Stone is much more than its pretty cover, and has surprising depth without the massive page count I'm used to in fantasy. Romance may play a central role in this saga, but the plot revolved more around the fantasy aspects and didn't linger excessively on the love story. If you love romantic fantasy in the style of the Tairen Soul series, I recommend this book for you.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent fantasy romance reminiscent of the Tairen Soul series!

Content: I recommend Ages 18+ for sex scenes, mentions of rape, racism, and war violence, because I'm used to old style YA. I *personally* consider this New Adult.

Page Count: 257 pages


  1. Nice review! I was curious about this book but a bit turned off by the romance - I usually think a bit is okay, but I don't like it to be the main focus in whatever I'm reading. Glad it didn't overshadow the rest of the plot for you.

    And I actually have no idea what New Adult means, although it's a label I've seen around a lot. I should really looking it up!!

    1. New Adult is generally geared toward the college age set (18-22 yrs old). I've also heard it called YA with sex scenes- but because the hero/heroine appear to be 'of age' in this book, I don't feel the YA w/ sex scenes describes it very well.
      I never know what to expect when I pick up books on NetGalley labeled Sci-fi/Fantasy and Romance- sometimes it's all Romance with a fairytale type story, sometimes the book reads more like a historical romance than anything else. In this case, the point of the story, while leaning towards the romance, was not *only* a love story- the kind of romance I like. I'm glad I picked it up, but I was a little wary too- awesome cover art doesn't always equal an awesome book, unfortunately.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Miriam!
      ~Litha Nelle


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