Saturday, March 24, 2012

Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper (Review)

Publication.Date  February 28th 2012
Published By:  Tom Doherty Associates (TOR)  | 
WebsiteElspeth Cooper

Songs of the Earth - Goodreads
My review copy:Finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

The Book of Eador, Abjurations 12:14, is very clear: Suffer ye not the life of a witch. For a thousand years, the Church Knights have obeyed that commandment, sending to the stake anyone who can hear the songs of the earth. There are no exceptions, not even for one of their own.

Novice Knight Gair can hear music no one else can, beautiful, terrible music: music with power. In the Holy City, that can mean only one thing: death by fire—until an unlikely intervention gives him a chance to flee the city and escape the flames.

With the Church Knights and their witchfinder hot on his heels, Gair hasn’t time to learn how to use the power growing inside him, but if he doesn’t master it, that power will tear him apart. His only hope is the secretive Guardians of the Veil, though centuries of persecution have almost destroyed their Order, and the few Guardians left have troubles of their own.

For the Veil between worlds is weakening, and behind it, the Hidden Kingdom, ever-hungry for dominion over the daylight realm, is stirring. Though he is far from ready, Gair will find himself fighting for his own life, for everyone within the Order of the Veil, and for the woman he has come to love.

"Now that your honor is satisfied, will you for the love of saints get dressed?" Camping gear joined the pile in a clatter of tin plates. "Or were you planning on greeting the witchfinder in a robe that barely covers your stones?
I was raised to believe that no one is so far gone that they cannot be redeemed.
They didn't understand it, and folk always fear what they don't understand.

     Exquisite. A near perfect blend of fantasy, action, adventure and magic. Finely imagined and beautifully told, Songs of The Earth by Elspeth Cooper is one greatly enjoyable and entirely captivating debut fantasy novel. I had a wonderful time reading it. Thanks to Cooper's excellent and engaging storytelling, it didn't take long for me to become totally immersed in the plot. All the characters were carefully depicted, with a mixture of qualities and flaws that really made them jump off the page. The settings were vivid and painted with an exceptional care for details. I could almost feel the cold wind on my skin and hear the glorious song of power and magic. And it felt amazing. And it made me crave more. Mesmerizing - that would be the word. But also adventurous, at times scary and disquieting, thematically poignant, moving, even slightly philosophical. Beautiful. It was, in every sense of the word, an epic story and an exciting beginning to a promising new series.

Suffer ye not the life of a witch and shun ye all works of evil lest they imperil thy soul.

      Gair can hear the Song. Which basically means he is a witch. He can touch the songs of the earth and weave magic. Unfortunately, the world he's been born into is a cold and unforgiving one, where practicing magic equals besmirching the sanctity of the Suvaeon Order and is punishable by death. And no one cares about Gair's loyalty to the Lady and his many years of service to the Church. All that matters is that he has performed acts of witchcraft for which he must be punished. Burned. While Gair is doing his best to stay alive, the magic inside him is breaking free and he has to do something with it, has to learn how to embrace it and get it under control, otherwise he'll burst. His only hope lies in the Guardians of the Veil, a secret and well-hidden society that holds the knowledge of the Song. In order to learn how to master his gift, he has to find them, and he has to do it quick. And that's only just the beginning of the many dangers and adventures he'll have to face.

      This was, hands down, one of the most wonderful fantasy books I have read in the past few years. I wasn't even 50 pages into this book before it downed on me that I am beginning something truly extraordinary. And the feeling stayed with me all the way to the end, leaving me impressed, amazed, slightly dazed and ultimately satisfied. Cooper's writing style is nothing short of spellbinding. It draws you in, holds your attention, gets you emotionally involved in the characters' story and leaves you breathless. And begging for more. There's no denying the fact that this lady have nailed her debut in a way that you really don't see very often. For that, and for the way she she brought all her characters to life and made me care about them, I am giving her a well-deserved standing ovation.

      I'm not even sure what I loved more about this book - the way the story was driven by the beautifully fleshed out, convincing characters, or the way the events smoothly unfolded, allowing me to take pleasure in exploring all the intricacies of the plot. Or maybe it was the whole new concept of magic that won me over, or perhaps the chilling witch hunts and inquisition. Or maybe I'm just a total sucker for thrilling adventures and epic quests, sprinkled with danger and occasional humor. Whatever it was, it was good.

     Gair's journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance was also very interesting to read about. His whole life he's been taught that magic is a sin. Every prayer he has learned was meant to steer him away from it. But when he heard the music, he couldn't resist opening his heart to it, it felt too good, too euphoric not to give in. And he struggled with that a lot. When we meet him, he's still not entirely sure whether he's a sinner, well-deserving of the punishment he's about to receive, or just an innocent victim with a gift. He has to face the cruelty of the world around him, all the while battling demons of his own. Trying to find his place in the world. And it was absolutely fascinating to be able to accompany him on this journey and see him transform from a scared, confused man with not much hope for the future, into a strong, confident, powerful character, ready to take on whatever new challenges are thrown his way.

      All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Songs of The Earth and I hope you realized by now that this is a title that simply must be on your shelf. I can't wait for the next installment!

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


T said...

I've literally had a copy of this book sat on my TBR pile for a couple of months, and I've been putting it off, but after reading this, I think I'll bump it up a couple of places :)

Thanks for a brilliant review, and I hope I enjoy this as much as you clearly did!

Amy said...

This book sounds really awesome!! I love books that just take hold of you and you get completely lost in them. Wonderful review!!!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

This sounds absolutely brilliant..your review has me so excited to read this..adding to my list!!!!!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Evie, this sounds FANTASTIC. Your excitement and love for this book just bubbles out of your review, and tells me that I have to add this to my TBR for sure. I love fantasy/sci-fi/etc and I haven't read nearly enough of it in the past few years. WONDERFUL review, chica!

Asheley T. said...

Gracious, this looks delicious.

roro said...

tnx evie

Anonymous said...

This book sounds epic. After reading the review I just need to read it!

Kelly said...

I don't think I heard about this book before. I just saw it flashing on your home screen and the cover drew me in. Your review sounds spellbinding (no pun intended). I look forward to reading it now!

ChristasBooks said...

I love hearing about new fantasy titles! The cover of this one instantly caught my eye on your slider and it sounds like a really good read. Thanks for the review!

Ashfa said...

Oh my!! This looks excellent. And what a smashing title too. Great review.

T said...

I recently read this one, but somehow I didn't enjoy it as much as you did, which is a shame because I still agree with a lot of the points you've made! I think for me it was mainly the fact that it didn't move fast enough.

Either way, great review, and I'm glad you enjoyed this!

Jaime Lester said...

This is the first that I have read about this one, though I have seen the cover on your reviews page for a while. It sounds like a good read. I think I might just check it out for myself. Thanks for your review!

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