Schaffer explores a young boy’s coming-of-age story in a superpowered, rock-heavy fiction full of music, mystery, and hidden strengths. Lonely and asthmatic, Cameron Foster is an unlucky kid – his foster mom Ethel is an alcoholic, and he's bullied daily. But Cameron’s extraordinary talent for guitar keeps him going. When he meets a mysterious woman decked entirely in leather, Cameron’s life changes forever. His virtuosity attracts the attention of a secretive organization of extraordinary musicians with plans to change the world. As the life he knew disappears, Cameron must learn to fight for himself to discover his hidden power.
Schaffer endears the reader to his underdog protagonist by delving into Cameron’s character and dramatically stacking the deck against him. However, Schaffer hinders engagement by merely summarizing what is at the heart of
Gods of Sound: the music. Guitar performances and competitions dominate the story, but instead of bringing the music to life with vivid descriptions, he states the songs on the setlists and moves on (“ with lightning fast fingers he played the beginning of an intricate classical song for Spanish guitar, gracefully slipping into the last two minutes of the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California,’ then into part of the heavier ‘Black Dog’ by Led Zeppelin.”) Consequently, readers are thrust out of the story, forced to look up the songs if they want to understand the scene better. Without capturing the power of the music, Gods of Sound falls shy of being the exhilarating, rock opera-esque adventure its audience might crave.
Still, Schaffer delivers a fantasy-fulfilling adventure that succeeds in the promise of most young adult novels: It immerses its readers in an entertaining world while mirroring their own coming-of-age journeys. Guitar lovers will appreciate the rise of a young and talented rock star, and YA fans will enjoy this hero who persists against every obstacle to find his real family.
Takeaway: Guitar lovers will enjoy this high stakes coming-of-age story that pairs the supernatural with the power of rock.
Great for fans of: Robin Benway’s
Audrey Wait!, Sarah Nicole Smetana’s The Midnights.
Production grades Cover: A- Design and typography: A Illustrations: N/A Editing: B- Marketing copy: A
Vibrant and fun, GODS OF SOUND marks a genre debut for Schaffer and one he's pulled off rather well. There is a serious undertone to Schafer's novel, too, as he delves into the perplexing subject of bullying. A gem of a read that not only entertains but is insightful and encourages much in the way of reflection. GODS OF SOUND is sure to find many eager readers and is highly recommended.BOOK VIRAL reviewed by Vincent Dublado
I love this book! I found myself unable to put it down. I liked that the main character, Cameron Foster, had real-life problems that a lot of kids deal with such as being bullied and not having a lot of friends.LIT PICK, May 12, 2021 (reviewed by Heromine493, Lexington, Ma)
Gods of Sound: The Perilous Path of Cameron Foster is an exciting cross between a slice of life and urban fantasy. Written by QM Schaffer, this young adult novel takes you into the life of ten-year-old Cameron Foster, a guitar prodigy whose soft-spoken and painfully shy demeanor has made him a target of school bullying. Along comes a leather-clad girl who finds talent in Cameron and who seems to act like a badass fairy godmother for the young boy. When Cameron faces a personal tragedy, the leather-clad girl, who is eventually introduced as Hillary and then goes by the name of Senza, takes Cameron under her wing. Cameron then hangs out with a group of musicians and finds himself under the influence of a billionaire named Ziam Zen Ziam or Z3 for short. The billionaire has found a way to harness sound into such an intense amount of energy that it can topple walls and knock holes through almost anything. Cameron will never play his guitar the same way as before.
Gods of Sound is a brilliant combination of two reliable themes. It borrows from that common theme about a young underdog who goes into an apprenticeship with a seasoned master. It also borrows from countless stories in which everything will depend on the young hero's choices. Yet what is remarkable about QM Schaffer's work is that it all comes together as something fresh and original. Moreover, the name-dropping of old-school rock bands and musicians is a brilliant tactic to introduce curious young readers to artists that they may not be familiar with. Schaffer has created passionate characters, and you will really believe that young Cameron is a fanatic when it comes to romancing the guitar. For all the fantastic events that unravel in this novel, it is still about a character who represents something greater about himself, and you must read his story to get to know him.
Readers' Favorite - Vincent Dublado