Sarah Ash was gracious enough to send me a copy of this book over the summer when I mentioned on my blog that it was one of two that I had not been able to track down in the US. The best part about that is Songspinners will soon be coming to ebook format, along with her other two UK only novels, and everyone should be able to enjoy them. Despite having read this book nearly every night since I got it, I just recently finished it due to tiny print difficulties and my eyesight not quite being what it used to be. In fact, my copy actually has a signed apology for the tiny print, so I’m rather hoping she will forgive me for the lateness of my review. For those of you planning to read Songspinners in the future, you’re in luck, because the ebook will hopefully not have issues with tiny print and this is a rare gem of a fantasy novel that should not be overlooked.
Songspinners is a great read for music lovers, fantasy lovers, and people who just want a book with an interesting, character driven narrative. The book takes you into a world where music can do incredible things, a world that’s not entirely different from our own. Ultimately, it is the transformative power of music that saves the day. There is no traditional hero with a sword… well, not one that you would be expecting at any rate.
The novel revolves around the intertwining lives of Orial, a young woman who appears to be suffering from the same “disease” as her mother, Amaru Khassian, a talented composer whose skills have gotten him into trouble with the ruling power in his home country and no longer has the use of his hands, and Acir Korentan, a religious soldier who was tasked with the job of bringing Khassian back for judgment. The brilliant part about the narrative is how these three perfectly ordinary people end up changing the world through their interactions with each other.
Perhaps what I love most about the book is that it is made perfectly clear that religion itself is not the oppressive issue, rather it is the corrupt people wielding it that are causing all the suffering.
If you’ve read any of Sarah Ash’s other works and enjoyed them, I highly recommend Songspinners. I would also recommend it to someone who is just looking for a good, innovative fantasy.
On one last note, the back of my copy has a snippet of a review from a Paul Di Filippo, who states ‘A romance worthy of Dumas…’ I have to question if he read the same book I did. Yes, Orial’s little crush was sweet and all, and then you had the little ice and fire dance between Korentan and Fiammis, but neither one could actually be called the defining romance. While there is a romance, that snippet makes it seem like it is the most important aspect of the book that it would slap you in the face or something. In fact, I went into the first couple of pages thinking there was going to be some sappy romance between Orial and Khassian that was going to flood the pages until I drowned in it. I should have known better, considering the author, but it was an early book and I had my doubts. One of these days, I will learn to stop trusting cover blurbs.