Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not impact my rating or review.
Ehh I was just bored while reading this. There is a reason why I went screaming off to read books by Rosamunde Pilcher. I kept hoping that the story would improve, but it did not. I read elsewhere this was originally a self-published book (back in 2015) that was re-published again this year. I don't know why that was, maybe the publishers were hoping to hop on some of the Young Adult fantasy with characters who are POC. But unlike with two books this year that I really enjoyed (The Belles and Children of Blood and Bone) this needed edited. I was initially intrigued by the main character (Jasminda) but I didn't get her or her powers after a while. We have her love interest Jack who just felt underdeveloped. There are two other books in this universe that I have no interest in trying to read.
"Song of Blood and Stone" starts off with Jasminda going to town and finding out that her maternal grandfather is going to offer her a lot of money to not claim her mother or use her name. I remember going huh when reading that whole thing. We start off with a quick exposition dump about this world we are in with Jasminda wondering what she's going to do (she doesn't want to give up her mother, but needs the money to save her family farm) when she comes across a young man who is being hunted by soldiers. Jasminda ignores him at first and heals him with her gift (Earthsong) then runs and hides when the soldiers find him again. Jasminda realizes that the soldiers are going to have to stop at her farm and she does what she can to intervene to help Jack. This eventually leads Jack to realizing that he needs Jasminda's help to use her Earthsong to fight off someone called the True Father (yeah I rolled my eyes too).
I can honestly say that though this book is tagged as Young Adult, it is really New Adult. I thought the age for this novel should definitely be in the late teens and older range. You have sex scenes in this one. There's also a scene where you have to worry that Jack is about to raped by soldiers. Also Jasminda is also almost raped. Reading about her potential rapist's penis made me gag. Jasminda goes through standard romance land trope of being a virgin, but the sex is so powerful and there is no pain. I maybe laughed at that whole thing.
The writing was okay, I just thought the chapters were really short. I didn't get Jasminda's song at all. I just went with it. Also no fault of the author, but every time I read "Earthsong" I started to think of Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series.
I thought the flow could be improved since it felt like each chapter ended on something important happening.
The world-building could be improved. I really didn't understand what was happening or why Jasminda's powers were called Earthsong. I seriously thought there be singing (sorry) or something happening. I mentioned this in one of my updates, I started to compare this book to the "Witch Song" books by Amber Argyle. I mean at least in those books the main character was actually singing.
I also think that Penelope did not go far enough in her book with showing the differences between the Lagrimari and Elsirans. We know that Jasminda is a young WOC. Jack is a young white male. Jasminda even mentions that Elsirans have reddish hair and pale skin so I was all oh okay, we have a predominately white race and one that is not. I hoped that we would get some discussions about race or something in this book, but everything is glossed over. I assume that the author wanted us to think about race though with the Lagrimari having abilities and the Elsirans not, but honestly, I started to think about "magical negroes" and what that means and cringed inside.
Having a biracial romance in this world seems like a very big deal (and it definitely is in our world) so I wish there had been some discussions about it.
The ending just sets things up for the second book in the series called "Whispers of Shadow & Flame."I really didn't even understand what had happened or why and was pretty dumbfounded on how things end up for Jasminda and Jack.