Thank you to Patchwork Press for providing me with an egalley copy of the book for review.
“Song of Blood & Stone” is a book that is unlike anything I have read before and I make this claim with no hesitation. It’s a book that will be memorable to many people for different reasons and all because of one simple fact: it is a good book. Reading the summary one already gets the sense of how strong and spirited Jasminda is and how loyal and brave Jack is. The summary doesn’t lie in this case with what it promises to bring to the reader, and that’s such a refreshing thing to see.
However I didn’t absolutely love the book and for the simple reason that this was a little out of my regular reading range. I love fantasy but don’t really gravitate to books like this one where the world building often feels a little iffy to me, the way it did in this case. To those who love this level of fantasy and unique world building, this book will be perfect. For me however it lacked something, a detail I can’t quite put my finger on, because every time I thought of Elsira on the map and then later when the other neighboring countries were brought up I wished Penelope could’ve expanded a bit more in that aspect. It would’ve made the world feel a bit more complete.
While the writing in this book is very good I will admit that the beginning felt a little dull. The pace of the book picks up about a quarter of the way in and especially when we find out about Jack’s identity (which I totally foresaw). It also, I must say, doesn’t add much newness to the fantasy genre. The biggest plus for this book then is its characters which will win you over without a doubt, at least partially if not completely. Jasminda is a rare example of a strong female lead that keeps her morals intact and acts upon them. The fact that she’s a character of colour and has this ability that people discriminate against adds another layer of depth which I really enjoyed exploring. Her and Jack’s romance was one I supported and rooted for along the way (even though it did feel just a tad bit predictable in the beginning when Jack began to describe just how amazingly soft her skin was).
The verdict, then, is this: “Song of Blood & Stone” is a book worth reading. Its intriguing story and resolution are worth sticking around for and will surely win you over. It’s not an award winner or a bestseller, in my opinion, but one that will find its target audience and receive much well-deserved love from them. My only slight worry is seeing that this is the first book in a series and wondering where the story will go next – Jack and Jasminda’s story felt complete to me and I hope the author will take us somewhere new next time while still possibly exploring the world of Elsira, just with a different set of main characters. It’s a continuation I’d gladly stick around for. In any case, pick up this book for yourself – it’s a refreshing change from the cliché YA novels out on the market today, and has a depth to it you won’t be able to ignore.