Song of Blood and Stone by
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
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 Lagrimar 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 its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save the land 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.
ARC provided by St Martin’s Press via NetGalley for an honest review.
First off, this book is not YA, I know it’s shocking that I read an adult book. I think the cover looks YA and the summary made it sound that way, so my thinking was that it might have YA appeal or even New Adult. And to some extent it does. But there are some very mature scenes in this book, so I would caution you to consider that before recommending it to someone under 17. If it was a movie I would give it an NC17 rating for sexual content. There is a pretty intense attempted rape and some pretty explicit sexual content. That said it was still a good story that I would recommend to adults that like fantasy romance books.
I do have some mixed feelings about this book. I liked the characters and the overall plot, but I spent a lot of time somewhat confused about some things. About a quarter of the way through I did consider not finishing it. But I always feel guilty about doing that when it is an ARC, so I pushed through and I am glad I did, because it got better. I thought that I would list what I liked and what I didn’t about this book.
What I liked:
- Both Jack and Jasminda were wonderful characters. They both realize what a messed up world they live in, that the prejudice people feel about the Lagrimarese is wrong, but as individuals they feel that they have little power to change things. That said they are still very strong willed and try their hardest to be together. Their romance was very sweet and I really liked them together.
- Once I got into the story, I really liked it. It was a little slow moving at times, but the overall themes of prejudice and good versus evil were nicely done.
- Most fantasies tend to be set in a world that feels more like medieval times. This world has a mixture of magic and technology. But not modern, more like mid 20th century. So there are cars and phones and such, but no computers.
- I liked the little snippets of folktales at the start of each chapter.
What I didn’t like:
- The magical system is not well explained. It is interesting, but I really didn’t get it. Possibly because Jasminda’s earthsong was weak and untrained, so she didn’t get it either at times. Some of the things we learn at the end of the book about the magical system and how this world was set up would have been more helpful at the start of the story.
- This book really needs a map! I was so confused about where they were at the start of this book and where they were traveling to. And why if they were already in Elsira they had to travel through caves to get to Elsira with the refugees they met from Lagrimar. Even when I reread that part, thinking I had missed something, it didn’t help. A map might of helped this confusion.
- There were some secondary plots that seemed unnecessary or were not explained well, to the overall plot. They also didn’t go anywhere in the end.
- Jasminda has these visions that helped explain the backstory of this world, and I liked them, but I almost felt that this backstory needed to be a whole prequel to this book, which maybe would have helped my confusion about some of the plot points in this story.
Overall, I liked the story even with it’s flaws and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good romance with their fantasy.