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

May 3, 2018
Song of Blood & Stone, (Earthsinger Chronicles #1), L. Penelope, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: St. Martin's Press on May 1, 2018
Format Read: ARC edition (370 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy/ Romance
Series: Book One of the Earthsinger Chronicles
Source: Giveaway Win
Rating: FOUR POINT FIVE STARS
Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1)
~Amazon~
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.

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Attempted Rape, Violence

REVIEW:

Jasminda and Jack go on a journey full of magic and romance I enjoyed. In this fantasy the layers of Jasminda and Jack are slowly peeled back as they face danger and fall in love. Jasminda is a wonderful protagonist who wants to find a place to belong in Elsira although her Lagarimi heritage gives her healing powers and a distinctive appearance. She goes on a adventure with Jack to help Elsirian's rise up against Lagarimi's mad King, the True Father. Jack is a soldier who wants to bring peace between Elsira and Lagarami, while in danger he finds Jasminda who shows him kindness and steals his heart. I don't usually read books that include romance, but the author did a great job describing a relationship slowly develop, with steamy sex scenes. There are brief folk tales before each chapter that give interesting and quirky tales describing lessons.
Never give a gift with your eyes closed, said the Master of Sharks to the rich man. For you may part with more than you intend. -Collected Folktales
The world building was fantastic, describing how Earthsinger magic can be used in imaginative ways and political manevering. The Queen who Sleeps is the rightful ruler of Elsira, but a Sovereign rules the kingdom until she wakes. Jack and Jasminda set out to figure out how to wake the Queen and discover the secrets that have led to the True Father reigning over Lagarimi. They meet other Earthsingers on their journey who describe the destitute way Elsirans live under the reign of the True Father.  Elsirians who escape him are treated with disdain and left to survive in refugee camps once they reach Lagarimi. The plot leads us to twists and turns I wasn't expecting and the characters had me rooting for them the whole book. 
And what of justice? the lawmen asked the Mistress of Serpents. Justice is a beautiful woman, who when courted by numerous suitors, chooses whom to wed by having the men draw straws- Collected Folktales.
The story really picks up during the last third of this book, and the fantastic writing kept me on the edge of my seat. The mature topics and humor made this a book I wold recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy. The ending leaves so much more to be explored in the coming series, and hints to more secrets to be uncovered. I can't wait to continue reading this series.
Recommended for Readers who
-enjoy fantastic world building and magic
-relish in political intrigue
-enjoy epic adventures with a powerful female protagonist

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 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.

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