Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Review: Song of Blood and Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L Penelope

Song of Blood and Stone by L Penelope

My rating: Small star Small star Small star Half

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Song of Blood and Stone by L Penelope blurb

Song of Blood and Stone is a New Adult fantasy romance steeped in politics and religion, and bound together with magic, of countries at war, oppression and prejudice. It will push your boundaries even as you fall into the storytelling.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. When I decided to read it, it was because I wanted to challenge myself and read something out of my comfort zone. I don’t normally read much New Adult. I prefer older characters. I was quite shocked at how young both Jack and Jasminda were. I did not have any expectations going in besides a bit of anxiety about whether I'd enjoy the book or not, but in the end, I think I mostly enjoyed it. The thing with reading something outside of one's comfort zone is feeling uncomfortable. The feeling never entirely goes away. But I think doing something like this helps us grow as a people. Challenging ourselves is a good thing. At the end, we can say we learned from it and determine if it's a path we wish to continue to follow.

For the most part, the writing was decent. It did not inspire me in any way and I found the tone and pacing of the story a bit bland and sedate. Even when there's action, there isn't a sense of urgency and a build of emotion. That changed a little towards the end and that is what led to my final rating for this book. The climax of the story was truly climactic. And the story itself did keep me intrigued enough to keep going to the end.

To me, this is a highly political book and the politics in it jumped out at me. Perhaps, in-keeping with today's climate this may be fitting but personally, I prefer politics to be left out of my reading choices for entertainment. It's probably inevitable that politics leaks into some stories but subtly done, it's not terrible. This book however touches on many issues. Prejudice and racial discrimination based on the color of a person's skin. The handling of refugees seeking a better life in neighboring country. The attitude towards same sex relationships and how the people in those relationships are treated. And even a little touch on the Dreamers and how they are being deported. I'm not a particularly political person even though I have a basic understanding of today's political environment. I understand having a voice and having a platform. I understand using it, but this book was too much. I spent a good part of the story trying to leap over the political messages and attempting to simply enjoy the story. It was challenging.

At its core, this is also a romance. A story of an interracial couple struggling for their love and happiness amidst prejudice and disapproval. Perhaps that's also another political message Ms Penelope is trying to send. That said, I liked Jack and Jasminda. They struggled and fought for their people, their country and their love.

Jack was great although I wondered how he’d achieved so much at so young an age. He's strong, honorable and noble. Even when faced with terrible odds against him, he doesn't give up. He fought for his country and his people with grit and determination. He's strong enough to own his feelings for Jasminda and hold her close to his heart even as he is being torn apart by responsibility and obligation, even when those whose supposed loyalty is a lie and betrayal is around the corner. I loved that he fought every step of the way to protect and cherish Jasminda in the face of great opposition. That he respected her and loved her.

Jasminda was all innocence, strength and determination. Even as she endured prejudice and ill-treatment most her life because of the color of her skin, she remained kind and compassionate, and perhaps it was the strength from enduring a lifetime of prejudice is what gives her the wherewithal to accomplish the things she did and none of those things came easily to her. She didn't have to help the battered soldier by the road but she does. And what she does changes her life forever. She didn't have to take on the responsibility to help a lost and displaced people but she does. It is her strength and kindness that leads her to do great things. That makes her an equal to Jack despite her humble beginnings.

I think this story ended strong. I'm glad I persevered through Jack and Jasminda's journey but I'm not sure if I'd dip my toe further into Ms Penelope's work. I think I'd recommend this to a certain kind of reader who may enjoy it but I'm not sure who that would be. That would take some quiet conversation, and knowing the person's reading tastes and political leanings.

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L Penelope

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  1. I don't know if I will be able to finish this one. It's very bland and not engaging me at all. And I don't like that ALL the people who want secure borders are being depicted as vile and immoral.

    1. I found it kind of bland too but I enjoyed the romance between Jack and Jasminda. I think that was what kept me going. I wanted them to have their happy ending.

    2. I didn't feel like there was much eomance. The relationship needed to be developed more.

  2. I've read a few reviews for this one at several blogs. Not sure it's the right one for me at this time. Thanks for the great review.