Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope (2018)
NA Fiction | Fantasy | Romance | (TV-14)
“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.”
Expected Publication Date: May 01, 2018
pooled ink Review:
I was invited to read and review this book by St. Martin’s Press and when I checked out the book I was interested but not particularly excited (I admit I’ve taken a step back from fantasy lately). I went into this with no expectations but finished feeling absolutely blown away. Fantasy has consistently been my favorite genre and despite drifting away from it recently this book had me remembering why fantasy has been my long-standing favorite.
As soon as I sat down to read I started feeling intrigued, pulled in, and I remained that way through the very end. The characters (in particular Jasminda and Jack, the leading characters) are what kept me intrigued and committed to the story more than the determined plot and fantastical world-building, good though they were.
Jasminda is such a fantastic protagonist. She is fiery, determined, kind, and is not afraid of either battle or love. I absolutely enjoyed the journey of her story, and with it comes Jack. This book was told between Jasminda and Jack, something I truly loved for this story. Jack was a mystery to Jasminda. He looks like the enemy but exudes honor and kindness with every breath. He has a gentleness like a poet but a sharpness that commands soldiers. Despite knowing little about him their paths are thrown together and together they keep each other alive.
They live in a land divided into two. Once a united land of Earthsingers and the Silent they are now torn apart with an impenetrable border called the Mantle. On one side live the Elsirans. A people with red hair and amber eyes. A people with no magic, but great technological feats. They live in fear and disgust for those who possess magic, those like Jasminda. On the other side live the Lagrimari. A people with dark hair and warm eyes. A people born with magic but forced to surrender it to a tyrant ruler. They live in poverty and fear the Silent, those like Jack.
Jasminda is a rare case, a girl born with an Elsiran mother and a Lagrimari father. Despite being a born Elsiran citizen she is an outcast for her appearance and for possessing magic. And yet Jack sees her as a whole person, not just a skin color or as a witch. And in some ways Jasminda must learn to do the same with him.
Together they face brutes from all sides, flee enemy soldiers, rescue Lagrimari refugees, and combat cruel politicians. But their biggest enemy of all is the True Father, the tyrant who rules the Lagrimari people and who wants to tear down the Mantle to seize all the magic for himself. Jasminda and Jack work tirelessly against a rushing deadline to summon the Queen from her centuries long sleep to defeat the True Father and save the refugees as well as the arrogant Elsiran people.
With regard to the plot there were some weak or predictable moments, but there were also some really strong moments that had me immobile and reading in haste. Above all what had me so emotionally invested were Jasminda and Jack and at one point in the story I was holding my breath for what was to come when, wait for it, my Kindle froze!! What absolutely rude timing! But I managed to reboot it and race to the end where I felt such a bright mosaic of emotions until landing on this ridiculous feeling of giddy happiness.
This book is just the first in the Earthsinger Chronicles but fear not, it does not end on a torturous cliffhanger but rather ends with a promise for more (my favorite kind of ending). This book finished its purpose and I am enthusiastic to find out what adventure awaits Jack and Jasminda next!
Song of Blood and Stone is a true fantasy with the churning depth of history, humanity, and love. Intense, riveting, and spinning a tale that will have your heart captivated, this book is one for every fantasy lover’s shelves.
I nearly missed out on this story and I thank St. Martin’s for not letting it pass me by! It was just so good!!
P.S. I absolutely love the little snippets of “Collected Folktales” included at the beginning of each chapter!
Purchase here: Song of Blood & Stone
Similar Recommended Reads: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh, The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman, Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Gilded Cage by Vic James, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Meet L. Penelope!
L. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is the author of fantasy and paranormal romance with characters who match the real world. Her debut novel, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE, won the 2016 Self-Publishing eBook Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. The fantasy series was picked up by St. Martin’s Press for publication starting 2018.
She was born in the Bronx, just after the birth of hip hop, but left before she could acquire an accent. Equally left and right-brained, she studied Film at Howard University and minored in Computer Science. This led to a graduate degree in Multimedia and a career in website development. She’s also an award-winning independent filmmaker, co-founded a literary magazine, and sometimes dreams in HTML.
Leslye lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.