Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Series: Earthsinger Chronicles #1
Release date: May 1st 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

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 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.

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, I love the diversity of the characters (the cover model is beyond beautiful), and I like how some subject matters could be related to real life societal issues. For instance, the main character is mixed with both Elsira and Lagrimar and she doesn't necessarily fit in with either side. The place where she was born shuns her and Jasminda feels isolated, not only for being of both worlds but also for possessing Earthsong. Even her own relatives reject her, with the exception of one that has her own problems as well, and that can also be related to. 

There is also the aspect of power and leaders wanting to gain control at any cost, a refugee situation that is super heartfelt, and the issue of Jack hoping to be a great ruler that will gain the genuine support of his people and fellow political peers. Jack also struggled with matters of his heart; loving someone he's encouraged against and being told to choose another for the sake of his kingdom. 

So a lot of things were taking place and I liked the various layers. The whole concept of Earthsong and the overall story is different and rather refreshing. But my biggest issue was not fully understanding certain details about this world and some characters mentioned. Often times it would go right over my head and I'd find myself a bit lost. Another problem I had was with the majority of the focus being on romance and not so much on action or adventure, which I had initially thought the book was from that opening chapter and the bit of magic that came to play. But those issues aside, it still made an interesting tale and I liked how it ended for all involved.

About the Author
L. PenelopeLeslye 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 fantasy and paranormal romance. 
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. 


  1. I don't normally choose to read fantasy, but I saw this book at the bookstore this weekend and wanted to pick it up. The cover is definitely gorgeous and it sounds like a well conceptualized story as well.

    Thanks for the review, Shane. Might have to pick up a copy on my next bookstore run.

    1. It definitely is an interesting story and nothing like I've read before. Just wish I didn't get confused so much and that there was more action.

  2. Ah I saw different reviews for this one, some good and other not that good. Too bad just that it wasn't a bit more for you

    1. Yeah, it's different for everyone. Hope you still give it a try.

  3. I went back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to read this one. It looks really good and that cover is gorgeous but I wasn't sure. Sorry this one was confusing at times.

    1. Still hope you read it. It's not a bad story. I just had a few issues but who knows, maybe it'll be a different reading experience for you.

  4. Hmm interesting review! I really like the sounds of real life themes being translated into the fantasy and it being handled very well. I'm not a huge fan of a romance taking over the plot though or being the focus when it is supposed to be a different genre. But I think I will probably pick this one up, still.


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