I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope
Release date: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
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.
This was a difficult book to review because while I enjoyed parts of it, others left me wanting something more, like it was incomplete and didn’t reach its full potential. It was definitely a book of ups and downs, which makes me rather sad because it could have been amazing.
The book had many beautifully written sections that were lushly described and almost lyrical. These fired up my imagination and completely engrossed me in the story. However, other parts were basically just tell, tell and tell. This character has a wonderful family, two brothers….but we never meet these people. We never actually get to see examples of this wonderful family. So many aspects of the book are written this way and if we were actually shown things rather than told, I truly believe it would have been more believable and I would have felt more of a connection to the characters.
Talking about the characters, they seemed too perfect to me. The female lead, Jasminda, was pleasant to read about. She was strong, brave and empathetic. Her love interest, Jack, was so kind and understanding. Together, their romance was very unbelievable, at least for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t like the whole destined to be together forever, true love conquers all thing? *shrugs* A lot of their interactions were kind of silly, with cheesy one-liners. The whole thing felt like a bit too much.
The book could have went in a very different direction and as a result missed out on opportunities to discuss racism and xenophobia. Jasminda lives in a world where the people appear to be predominately white, like her love interest Jack. The beginning of the story kind of touched on how she and her people were discriminated against and how hard it was for her and Jack to be together, but the message isn’t clear. It gets lost in the love story, which completely dominates everything else. Yes, it’s fantasy, but I wish more fantasy books would focus on topics that impact the real world.
The last few chapters in the story felt quite rushed and were basically a set-up for the sequel. While it had moments of amazingness I don’t think I’ll be picking up the next book anytime soon.
About the Author
L. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.