Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of publication: May 1st, 2018
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Series: Earthsinger Chronicles
Song of Blood & Stone – Book 1
Whispers of Shadow & Flame – Book 2
Cry of Metal & Bone – Book 3
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.
The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.
I like fantasy. I like New Adult/Young Adult fantasy. I like romance. Why is it so hard to find a book that can focus on all three of those genres equally? I have had issues with books that combine the three genres together. I can’t find a book that competently blends all 3 of those genres. Don’t get me wrong, Song of Blood & Stone does a great job at attempting to combine them. But it didn’t click for me.
I thought that Song of Blood & Stone got off to a fantastic start. The author set the tone for the entire book perfectly. But, by the middle of the book, when Jasminda was in Elsira’s capital, the book started to falter. By the end of the book, I wasn’t engaged with the characters anymore and the storyline annoyed me. I am hoping that the second book will draw me back in because this book had so much potential.
I thought that Jasminda got the raw end of the deal. She was hated by the village because of her Earthsong. Her maternal grandfather wanted her to disown her family if she wanted help. To top it off, she ends up getting put in the middle of a looming war. A war that Jack tried to stop but didn’t succeed. Hatred of her other heritage, the Lagamiri ran deep in Elsira. Even in the castle, Jasminda wasn’t exempt from the hatred of the Elsiran people. I felt awful for her. It was a wonder that she didn’t crack sooner.
Jack got under my skin. I did think he was going to be a temporary character, at first. So when the twist in his storyline came, I was not ready for it. The author did a great job of portraying him as a tortured man. He was torn between the love of his country and the love for a woman that was half of the enemy. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the stress he was under. But, saying that, I found his actions later in the book awful. He did not stand up for Jasminda. He wanted to hide what they had. He did what he thought was right at the time (even though I thought it was wrong, wrong, wrong). Not going to say what it was but if I was Jasminda, I would have told him to take a hike or punched him in the face. Probably both.
The storyline of the Earthbenders of old was fascinating. This is one part of the book that I correctly guessed at what was going to happen who those people ended up being. It was still a surprise when it came out at the end of the book.
The storyline of the refugees touched my heart. I did liken it in ways to the waves of people coming out of Syria. People displaced because of who they are. They can’t go back because they will be put in harm’s way or killed. And they can’t stay where they are because people don’t understand and fear them.
There was chemistry between Jack and Jasminda. From the minute they met each other, sparks flew. The author kept those sparks keep fanning until they did the deed. Then I felt that the relationship went flat. But, considering what was going on at the time, I now wonder if that was the author’s plan. If it was, it was ingenious of her to do that.
What I didn’t like was that there were a couple of dropped storylines. The one that sticks out in my mind was the man who gave Jack the cornerstone that he thought was a map. It was speculated who he was. Then the storyline was dropped. Also, the mystery woman who the guard was talking to in Jasminda’s cottage. She was mentioned once in the book and then that was it.
The end of Song of Blood & Stone felt a bit anticlimactic. I kept waiting to see if there was anything more to Jack and Jasminda’s storyline once the Queen said what she said. I did like the small twist at the end considering how the True Father and The Queen Who Sleeps looked like. I laughed at that because those bigoted, ignorant people were fools. It was the end of the book that made me want to read the second book. I need to see where this story is going. And I am hoping that it will be better than this book.
What I liked about Song of Blood & Stone:
A) Great world building
B) Interesting storyline in the beginning
C) 3D characters
What I disliked about Song of Blood & Stone:
A) Storyline faltered towards the middle of the book
B) Jack’s treatment of Jasminda towards the end of the book
C) Dropped storylines
I would give Song of Blood & Stone a rating of Older Teen. There is violence. There are sexual situations and sex. The sex is not graphic and actually seemed rushed through. No language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.
There are trigger warnings in Song of Blood & Stone. They are: extreme racial prejudice and talk of rape.
I am on the fence about recommending Song of Blood & Stone to family and friends. If I did, I would include a warning of the triggers. While I would not reread this book, I am open to reading other books by the author.
I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Song of Blood & Stone.
All opinions stated in this review of Song of Blood & Stone are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**