Want it by Monday, October 22?
Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
Same Day shipping in Manhattan. See Details
"Wonderful characters, unique setting, and an engaging romance set against the backdrop of ancient magic. I can't wait to see what L. Penelope will do next."--Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author
L. Penelope's Song of Blood & Stone is a treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save the land and to uncover the secrets of the Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.
The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.
"Prepare to be hooked. Song of Blood & Stone is brimming with captivating lore, unique magic, and plot-turns you never saw coming. L. Penelope has written your next fantasy obsession." --Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author of The Loom Saga
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A young man beseeched the Mistress of Eagles, How may I best honor my ancestors?
Eagle replied, You could carve your history into the side of a mountain to hold the tale longer, but only those standing before it may read. Or you could write your history on the waves of the ocean so that it may carry your story to all the lands of the world.
— COLLECTED FOLKTALES
Jasminda had wished for invisibility many times, perhaps today she'd finally achieved it. To the best of her knowledge, Earthsong could not be used for such a thing. But when she'd walked into the post station ten minutes ago, the postmistress had promptly disappeared behind the curtain. Now, the clock on the shelf ticked on. Jasminda's fingers drummed in time on the scarred wood of the countertop.
The bell above the door interrupted the duet. Jasminda's back was to the newcomer. A sharp intake of breath greeted her, and she didn't bother to turn around.
Not invisible, then.
The open door let in the sounds of horses and carts rumbling down the tightly packed dirt road, before closing, leaving the shop in silence once again.
With the arrival of the new customer, the proprietress reappeared, smiling warmly, while at the same time shoving an envelope and a large parcel wrapped in brown paper to Jasminda without even looking in her direction.
According to the postmark, the letter had traveled all the way from Elsira's capital city of Rosira on the western coast. The return address was a solicitor's office. Not the piece of mail she was expecting.
"This is it?" Jasminda's voice pitched higher with each word. She held up the envelope. "Everything since last month?"
"It's all that came in," the postmistress said brusquely. Jasminda sighed, her body deflating.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the rigid way the new customer held herself, leaning her entire body away at an awkward angle. The woman was graying and stooped with age, which made the contortion act all the more laughable. She'd pressed herself into the corner of the small shop, carrying on as though she were sharing the space with a rabid animal and not a nineteen-year-old girl.
Unable to help herself, Jasminda closed her eyes and focused on the well of power within her. By itself, her Song was nothing but raw potential, a match waiting for a strike. But when the rush of Earthsong swept over her, the match caught fire, burning bright.
She extended her arms and scrutinized the deep, rich tone of her skin, so different than everyone else in the town, than just about everyone in the entire country of Elsira. The energy rippling through her gave her a deeper connection to her body. She became even more aware of her skin, how it knit together over muscle and bone. Silently, she sang a spell to shift its color to match the muted, less vibrant shade of the astonished women before her.
"Better?" She looked up, wearing a sweet smile as a mask.
The older woman made a sound like a cat struggling with a hairball and stumbled back, grabbing at the doorknob several times before catching hold.
"Grol witch," she muttered, then wrenched the door open and fled. The little bell jingled mercilessly.
The postmistress shot her a murderous glare and backed away, once again retreating behind the curtain separating the front area from the back.
Jasminda's brittle smile crumbled. She released her hold on Earthsong, and her skin changed back to its natural hue. She really shouldn't have wasted her power; she was weak enough as it was. There was no telling what she might meet on the journey home, and she couldn't afford to exhaust herself.
Frowning, she ripped open the unexpected letter from the unknown solicitor. She scanned the text, but the words inside were so formal she could barely make sense of them. A telephone exchange and number were printed on the letterhead. Jasminda had never phoned anyone before — hadn't had anyone to call — but the legal language on the page was gibberish, and she needed to have someone decipher it.
The letter and documents included must have something to do with the tax lien against the farm. Could this be the good news she'd been hoping for? Perhaps the tax bureau had turned the case over to the lawyers for her appeal. She didn't know how these things usually happened.
"How do I phone Rosira?" she called out. The post station had installed a public telephone kiosk six months before. Jasminda approached it warily.
The postmistress fought the dividing curtain in her rush to the front. "Who does someone like you have to call in the capital?" Her deep-set eyes narrowed.
"How. Is. It. Done?" Jasminda pressed her lips together, forming a barrier against other, harsher words she longed to say.
The woman paused, hands on her hips, before relenting. "Pick up the handle and click the lever a few times until the operator comes on. She'll tell you how much it'll be."
"Thank you." Jasminda smiled tightly and followed the postmistress's instructions. The operator's staticky voice announced that the call would be five tenthpieces. Jasminda dumped her change in the slot then waited long minutes for the call to be connected.
Once through to the solicitor's office, she had to wait again to be directed to the man named on the letter she'd received, a Mr. Niqolas Keen.
"It's really very simple, miss." His tone was clipped as if he was in a great hurry. "You sign the paperwork in front of a witness, alert us, and forty thousand pieces will be wired into your bank account."
"But why? What's the money for?"
"Your discretion. Your maternal grandfather, Marvus Zinadeel, has recently decided to act on long-held aspirations of running for public office. He's a wealthy merchant with good prospects, you know." Jasminda did not know.
"However, if news of his late daughter's ... er, unfortunate marriage were to be discovered, that would substantially harm his chances of electoral success."
Jasminda swallowed the rage building inside her. "So you want me to sign these papers which say that my mother was not my mother, and then be discreet for how long?" "Forever. You would not be able to reveal your maternal parentage for the rest of your natural life."
A cold emptiness spread inside her. Forever? Tell no one of her mother's kind eyes and gentle touch? It wasn't as if she had anyone to tell anyway, but the idea chafed. "And the price my grandfather is willing to pay for changing history is forty thousand pieces?"
"That is correct."
Jasminda stared at a spot on the wall, a crack in the paint, just an insignificant blemish. At least for now. Things like this started small, like a cough or a bout of dizziness easily hidden. Then they grew, expanding without warning, narrowing vision, causing periodic vertigo. All of which you assure your loved ones is nothing, a mere inconvenience. Until one day you are caught with such an attack while on the second floor of the barn loft, doing an activity you've done for many years, and fall to your death before anything can be done to save you.
The paint on the wall wasn't ruined yet, but it could be, just as easily as a mother's life.
"Miss, are you still there? Have we been disconnected?"
Jasminda nodded, knowing he couldn't see her. Her voice was small when she spoke. "And if I don't?"
Papers shuffled around on his end. "I understand that you owe a substantial amount in back taxes on the property that is still deeded in your mother's name. Mr. Zinadeel's funds would certainly take care of that expense, would they not?"
The icy sensation seeped through her pores to numb her skin. If her appeal had been rejected, her only option was to petition the board in person — in Rosira. Impossible. This offer could be her last chance. She owed twenty thousand pieces she did not have. "Yes," she said through gritted teeth. "But —"
"Very well then. Once we have word the paperwork is in the post, the money can be yours the same day. An easy way to solve your problem, true?"
Easy? To sign a paper and suddenly, as if by magic, have no mother. At least not legally. Jasminda didn't know all the implications of such an action, but her heart told her it was wrong. And yet how could she face losing the farm?
She told the solicitor she would consider signing the papers and ended the call. As soon as she stepped out of the booth, the postmistress was there, wiping down the handset and receiver with a cloth smelling of cleaning solution.
Jasminda wanted to smear her handprints on every surface, daring the woman to scrub her presence away. Instead, she scooped up the wrapped package on the counter, cradling it to her chest. The books inside were precious, an escape from the drudgery and loneliness of farm life and the affronts of her rare visits to town. They were her only way to experience the world.
While the postmistress was busy cleaning, Jasminda left coins on the counter to pay for her delivery. The only crime she'd committed thus far was being born, she would not add thievery to the imaginary list the townsfolk had created.
With a silent curse at the jolly bell, she left the shop, exiting onto the main street.
* * *
Her steps were heavy as she approached the blacksmith, whose shop was at the end of the short row of buildings in the tiny town. She entered the warm space and rested her parcel on the counter. Old smith Bindeen turned from his forge, wiping his wrinkled brow, and smiled at her. Against her wishes, her heart unclenched. Bindeen had been the closest thing to a friend her papa had made in town and was the only one who didn't make her feel like a five-legged dog.
"Miss Jasminda, it's been a long time."
"As long as I can make it," she said with a crooked grin. She gave him her order, and he gathered the supplies she needed: nails, an axe head, shotgun shells, door hinges.
"Weather's turned a bit cool, hasn't it?" he asked.
"You feel the storm coming?"
He patted his bad hip. "Old bones speak mouthfuls."
She nodded, peering out the shop's front window at the rocky peaks standing guard over the town. "A bad one's brewing. Should hit the mountain tonight. It probably won't make it down here at all, but best be careful."
"How bad d'ya reckon it'll be?" He avoided her eyes as he spoke, but his limbs held as much tension as hers did.
"As bad as two years ago." Her voice was quiet and steady, but her hands clenched into fists involuntarily. She didn't want to get lost in the memory of that last terrible storm. Of searching the mountain paths for Papa and her brothers. Of never finding any trace of them. Mama had been gone for nearly seven years. Papa and the twins for two.
Jasminda cleared her throat to loosen the hold of the past and peered at the old man. He'd lived in this town his whole life, perhaps he knew something she didn't. "Do you remember my mama ever talking about her people?"
Bindeen scratched his chin and squinted. "Not that I can recall, why?"
"No reason." Her voice sagged along with her shoulders.
Mama's family had disowned her for marrying Papa. Now they wanted Jasminda to disown them. People she hadn't even met. She hadn't thought she could get more alone than she had been the past couple of years. But she had been wrong.
The old smith pursed his lips and gathered her purchases. "That'll be fifty pieces."
Jasminda frowned. She'd always trusted Bindeen, unlike most in town.
"I'm not tryin' to cheat ya, young miss. The price of everything's gone up. Taxes, too, especially on what comes imported. It's the best price I can give."
She searched the man's face and found him sincere. Using Earthsong would have confirmed his intentions, letting her feel the truth in his heart, but she didn't bother, instead counting out the money and placing it in his hand.
"If ya have any of that magic cream of yours, ya can make some of this back, eh?" He flexed his empty hand, thick with muscle from working the forge for decades, but gnarled with arthritis.
"It's not magic — just goat's milk and herbs." She fished around in her bag and dug out a jar, handing it to him and pocketing the money he gave back to her.
"Works like that magic of yours is all I know."
She held the blacksmith's eye. "You're not afraid of Earthsong like everyone else. Why?"
Bindeen shrugged. "I fought in the Sixth Breach. I've seen the power of those grol witches." Jasminda flinched at the epithet, but Bindeen didn't appear to notice. "I've been in sandstorms in the middle of a wheat field, pelted with rocks and hail and fire. It's only by the Sovereign's sweet mercy it can't be used to kill directly. Even so, that Earthsong of yours ... there's plenty of reason to fear it. But I've also seen your father put a man's bone back in its socket and heal it up good as new without ever touching him."
Jasminda swallowed the lump in her throat. Her papa's Song was so strong. He'd been a good man, bearing the insults and scorn of the locals for decades with his head high.
Bindeen's eyes crinkled. He patted his good hip. "This joint he fixed is the only one on me that doesn't ache." His voice thickened. "Most folks hate easy and love hard. Should be the other way around, I reckon."
"Hmm." Jasminda placed her newest packages into her overstuffed bag, unwilling to dwell on what couldn't be.
"Get home safe now," the man called.
"Thank you. May She bless your dreams."
"And yours, as well." He bowed his head with the farewell as Jasminda left the shop.
The sun was hours away from setting, and the journey home would last straight through the night. She knew the steep mountain paths well enough to negotiate them in the dark; her main worry now was beating the brewing storm.
Something about the scent of snow in the air gave her an ominous foreboding. Had the bit of her axe not been worn to a nub, she wouldn't have risked a trip to town so close to the storm at all.
She'd reached the edge of the street and was just heading onto the path leading up into the foothills when approaching hoof-beats made her turn.
A huge, black Borderlands pony rode up to her, the county constable astride. "Jasminda, have you been causing trouble again? I just got an earful from that woman what runs the post station about you."
The constable was a jovial, red-faced man whose great belly laugh seemed to echo off the mountaintops. He treated Jasminda like a mischievous child, but at least on most days seemed to realize she was not a criminal.
"No trouble, sir. I just picked up my mail and made a phone call." She willed patience into her bones. She could not handle the opinions of one more Elsiran today.
The constable snorted, then raised his eyebrow. "I believe the magistrate wanted me to remind you about the auction next week. You'll need to be out of that cabin of yours by then. Make way for whoever the new buyer will be."
"I still have seven days to pay the taxes, sir." The wobble in her voice shamed her.
He straightened the bill of his cap, chuckling. "Well, that's right, missy. I suppose you can magic up twenty thousand just like that." He snapped his fingers, and his laugh deepened. "If that witchcraft can spin straw into gold, then we've been fighting on the wrong side of this war all these years." His sizable belly shook, and the pony tossed its head, appearing amused as well.
Jasminda narrowed her eyes. "Thank you for the reminder, sir. I really do need to be heading home now."
"We don't want things to get ugly now, missy. Just clear out like you're supposed to and everything will go real smooth-like."
She wanted to rage. Where exactly was she supposed to go? What was she supposed to do? But pride kept her lips sealed and good sense kept the fury out of her expression.
"Well, on with ya, then," he said, shooing her before turning the pony around. "The sooner you leave town, the sooner these old hens will stop worrying me to death with their nattering."
As horse and rider sauntered away, Jasminda took her first full breath. Once they were out of sight, she turned on her heel and marched up the path leading home.
Still her home, at least for a few more days.
She'd only been walking for a couple of hours when something laying in the path made her stop short. At first she thought a discarded pile of rags had somehow blown up the mountain.
Then she realized it was a man.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Song of Blood & Stone"
Copyright © 2018 L. Penelope.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Song Of Blood & Stone wasn’t quite the book for me. It was very much a New Adult romance book set in a fantasy world, as compared to the YA fantasy adventure/political intrigue story I expected. I’m not sure if it was the writing, the characters, or the haphazard world-building but something never clicked for me. I was confused for around the first 30% about which country each character came from. The world itself was also puzzling. At the beginning, I thought it was more of a historical setting. Then planes, trucks, and other modern things appeared. It felt very incongruous to me, like the world didn’t fit together quite right. The romance was love at first sight, a trope that I’m not usually a fan of. Additionally, I never really felt the connection between Jasminda and Jack. Since the book was centered around their romance, not being able to connect with their relationship made it difficult to become invested in the book. Also, there was a graphic attempted rape scene that turned me off the book, particularly because an attempted murder would have worked just as well in that instance. While Song of Blood & Stone wasn’t the book for me, I do think that many readers will enjoy this one. The plot was interesting but it was too focused on the romance for my taste. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I greatly enjoyed reading this one. Not only was the fantasy world written well and different, but the characters had excellent chemistry and the plot flowed to make the reading enjoyable and quick. The world building is excellent and different. The story alternates in between with Jack and Jasminda’s point of view, but also there are some chapters that tell the background story of how their world was created. I enjoyed these alternating chapters. It provides better structure of the setting, it provides the mythology and a better understanding of the “True Father” and “The Queen who Sleeps”. It’s well written and everything comes together seamlessly. The plot itself is also excellent. I love the concept of “Silents” and “Songbearers” and both are living side by side but marred by war and prejudice. And did you ever see the hate towards Jasminda throughout the book. You get angry at her treatment but Jasminda bears it and she does it well. The plot is pretty fast paced and it’s feels like a fast read – not to mention the fact that it’s very interesting. There’s a good mix of fantasy, action, and romance. What wasn’t really necessary was the Lizvette part. It made that aspect predictable and it didn’t really mesh well with what was going on with all the other things. It felt like it was placed there for filler reasons (I mean, we all know who Jack was going to go for a this point…) Now for Jack and Jasminda. I LOVED both of them together. They had this chemistry going on and you could feel it throughout the novel. It was heart wrenching in various parts of the book and you wanted to reach out to them and MAKE them go together (Jack you deserve some slaps of stupidity for some of the stuff you said). They’re both great characters and Jasminda’s development throughout the novel was excellent. Despite the changes she went through she didn’t lose her sass and her ferocious independence (love how this exasperates Jack by the way lol) Definitely looking forward to the second book of this series! The ending was great (and I’m sure there’s way more battles to come)
Song Of Blood And Stone revolves around a girl with magic powers (termed as a song) and a skin color that makes her stand out from the crowd of non-majis. The world here can be divided into two groups: one with magic powers strong enough to change wind directions or speed, called the Lagimaris and the second with no songs but powerful people nonetheless, called the Elsirans. Both the cities are separated by a magical wall that prevents a cruel leader from breaching a clause to not take over the Lagimaris. I really liked this book for quite a few things. One, the main protagonist, Jasminda, is a strong, confident female who does emotionally break at times but stands up again. She’s built to be the loneliest person because her parents and brothers are all dead, leaving her behind to suffer the abuse of people around her, pointing her out as a grol witch because of her Earthsong (magical power). Not only this, she’s not financially stable and struggles to keep her house at the farm because of the unpaid tax debt. While her character arc was resonating a saddened vibe, her personality was quite balanced between a strongly opinionated but sensitive human. The world set up is interesting, though the world building isn’t the best. Some things might get confusing and it takes time to get completely engrossed in the fictional setting. However, the myths or legends created in this world are intriguing--there’s a saviour waiting to be awoken called the Queen Who Sleeps and is considered almost equal to God; sometimes Lagimaris might receive this Queen’s orders in their dreams and that’s how a war is fought. So, needless to say, hardt work has been put into the story. There are a few topics that aren’t particularly ‘dealt’ with but they are given a limelight to show the harsh realism in this fictional world and I think that deserves appreciation. Like I already mentioned, there are racism induced actions against Jasminda so that’s a struggle for her in itself. Though, the way her character dealt with it is different and definitely not everyone can relate to her responses so I won’t say much about it. There are refugee and interracial issues highlighted. At one point, refugees are being shot by the military unless a senior officer steps in, which shows the brutal reality of the hardened stigma surrounding refugees--they aren’t the country’s own so why should they be treated fairly. Similarly, Jasminda belongs to the Lagimaris but lives in the Elsira and this sets up another reason for her to be picked at. A true biracial struggle that leaves her feeling isolated. The male protagonist, Jack, might not be my book-boyfriend material but he was admiring, no doubt. It’s so difficult to write about him without spoiling anything..ugh. Anyway, he’s a wounded soldier found and treated by Jasminda who soon falls in love with her. His personality is that of a gentleman and he’s intelligent--uses reasoning and logic while keeping up his morals. Each chapter has these two to three lines of collected folk tales that somehow resonate with the chapter’s content. This impressed me, definitely! The writing is a first person, alternate PoV that’s pretty beautiful at times and a pleasure to read. However, the story had so many tropes! Some of them were my pet peeves so while they don’t affect an overall reader’s point of view, they do affect mine. For example, insta-love and the evidently chosen one trope. The romance between Jasminda and Jack was fine for
Jasminda is a daughter of mixed parentage. She inherited the gift of Earthsong, which is feared in her home country Elsira. Jasminda has lost everyone and now her home is about to be taken away as well. When soldiers come to her door she has to give them shelter. The soldiers bring a prisoner. Jack is being treated cruelly by those who have captured him. Jasminda's Earthsong can heal him partially, but she isn't strong enough to make his wounds disappear entirely. She and Jack need to get away from the soldiers instead. Can she help him escape? Jack fears the True Father, whose Earthsong gets stronger because he steals the power of others. Jack has to prevent this man from taking over his country. Jack has no Earthsong and needs Jasminda's help. If they want to wake up the Queen Who Sleeps, the only one who can stop the True Father, they might stand a chance. Jasminda plays a key role in this mission, but Jack's people are looking down on her and she's in constant danger. While their love grows the aggression of others seems to peak. Will prejudice and hate prevent them from stopping a war? Song of Blood & Stone is a gripping and magical story. Jasminda has led a sheltered life, but she's wise, kind and brave. She doesn't hesitate when Jack needs her help. She's willing to make sacrifices to help others and that makes her an admirable person. Jack is a strategist with a kind heart. His clear vision and sense of duty made me like him very much. There's plenty of chemistry between him and Jasminda. I loved their beautiful deep connection and their wonderful love for each other. I couldn't wait to find out if their mission would succeed and if they'd be able to keep themselves safe. L. Penelope's world building is fantastic. I loved the way she writes about magic, it's original, creative and captivating. Song of Blood & Stone is well written, descriptive and vibrant. I loved the fierce main characters, the great message that love will conquer all and the raw and honest way L. Penelope writes about the different nations and their inhabitants. Song of Blood & Stone is action-packed, fast-paced and intriguing. It's a mesmerizing story filled with amazing power.
Song of Blood & Stone is a lovely read that definitely deserves a second look. Though some readers took issue with the predictable storyline and “too perfect” romance, it does not detract from the novel. Not all romance has to be riddled with drama and trouble just as a story does not have to have more twist and turns than a mountain road to be entertaining. Overall, this novel has everything: an interracial couple with a strong dark skinned female lead, an LGBT couple, a fantastical world, romance, and action. While the reader hungers for more world building and background develop, it still feels like a complete story.
This is a powerful book that sucks you in its first page. Song of Blood & Stone is really well written and delves into very important topics of race, privilege, power, corruption, and a refugee crisis without over burdening the fantasy story. Song of Blood & Stone is set in a fantasy mountain region where two enemy countries border one another. The people of Lagrimar have dark skin and magic, whereas those that live in Elsira are fair skinned and are without magic. The Mantle is a magical and invisible wall that separates the two lands, erected five hundred years prior and keeps (for the most part) the people with Earthsong on the Lagrimar side and those without on the Elsira side. There have been breaches in the past which resulted in war and a limited number of Lagrimari stay in refugee camps in Elsira; but the refugees are not well regarded. They are judged by the color of their skin and feared due to their place of origin. Jasminda is an orphan living in the mountainous and isolated area near the Mantle in Elsira. She lives an isolated life because she does not find a lot of kindness due to the color of her skin: her mother was Elsiran and her father Lagrimari. Jack is a soldier that went behind enemy lines to gain vital information to save his country but nearly dies. Their paths cross by happenstance and Jasminda heals him with her Song. The book is told through their alternating points of views as they together try to save their country before it is too late. The worldbuilding develops both all at once and slowly. The reader is thrust right into this world, but at first I was incredibly confused. Even after the end of this amazing book I do not really have much of a mental picture what the world looks like. While the description of the physical world left much more open to interpretation, the backstory and mythology is vast. Each chapter begins with a brief folktale reminiscent to Aesop's Fables, which I LOVED, and through dreams the reader gains a better understanding of how the world got to its present state. I really enjoyed this method of storytelling and its pacing was good. I adored the characters and their budding romance. Jasminda and Jack are both well developed, haunted by guilt but strong in the face of it. Jack also witnesses the way that Jasminda is treated and begins to use his privilege. The only thing is that the circumstances of their romance seemed a little... fairy tale? I don't know, they just started making googly eyes at each other and longing to touch them without much of an internal dialog to lead up to it? It felt a bit sudden and forward for them to be overly affectionate with one another. But barring the circumstances of how the romance budded, I am here for it! Magic is called the Earthsong, and it appears to be both the manipulation of the Earth as well as oneself. It can heal, it can change one's appearance. I wish that this were explained a little better, especially how it is practiced and cultivated. cw: attempted rape, racism, war I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
I've always had my eye on this book when it was self-published and now I'm kicking myself for not jumping on this series sooner. From the way fantasy was blended in with issues of prejudices and racism to how the romance was done, everything just blended beautifully. It's a slow burn that brings you in bit by bit with the world building, relatable characters and a cliffhanger-ish epilog that makes you wonder what is going to happen next. At first, I was going to give it a four star, but giving it a couple of hours to think about it I have to give it five. The ending somewhat felt rushed and had a deus ex machina moment but still seemed to flow wonderfully. I almost cried ( Tbh the fact that I was listing to Celine Dion 'The Power of Love' during the climax could have had something to do with it. But blurry eyed is blurry eyed all the same.) (Received via NetGalley, in exchange for a review)
Jasminda has lost her entire family. She now lives alone in Elsira, where her powers as an Earthsinger are met with fear and disdain. She keeps to herself, avoiding the nearby village as much as possible. The people there dislike her because of her magic, and also because of who here parents were. Her mother was Elsiran and her father was from Lagamiri. The two lands are separated by a magical mantle, which has only been breached a few times in history. Every time, a breach was followed by war and death. One day while walking home after an agonizingly awful trip to the village, Jasminda sees soldiers with a prisoner. Jasminda realizes that they are from Lagamiri and don't realize they have crossed the mantle into Elsira. They have been ordered to bring the prisoner, Jack, back with them. In talking to Jack, Jasminda learns that the mantle between the two countries will soon fall and that the True Father plans to attack and destroy Elsira. The True Father already takes the Earthsong of his people to make himself stronger. Ancient evil gains strength and threatens the lives of everyone. Can Jack and Jasminda discover how to stop the coming destruction? I enjoyed this book. It was a magical fantasy story, with some very interesting world building. The idea of Earthsong powers is so creative and beautiful! I definitely like the creative story idea. At times I felt the story got a bit confused....like a few too many ideas got mixed into the pot. And I found myself wondering why the story seemed a lot like a medieval type fantasy but then threw modern technologies like telephones into the mix. But, those little things really didn't pull me away from the story. I enjoyed the action, the mystery of the magic, the stones and the backstory of the two different cultures. Song of Blood & Stone is the first novel in the Earthsinger Chronicles. There are three books, but each one is a stand alone story. This book was first independently published in 2015, and is now being re-released by St. Martin's Press. The cover art is gorgeous!! The artwork definitely is what first drew me to this book....then the fantasy theme pulled me the rest of the way in. I very much enjoyed this book! I definitely want to read more by L. Penelope. I'm definitely very curious what the other two stories bring to this series. I liked the characters in this first book. I hope the other characters are just as interesting and varied. **I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
"The blue of the day's sky and the black of the night's are different, but one is not better than the other. We need both." I was pleasantly surprised by this one, I found the story to be so satisfying. It ended up being exactly what I needed to read! If you're looking for a fantasy novel that pushes the boundaries of young adult into new adult without being overly explicit, this is the book for you. And that cover!? Look at how beautiful that cover is! This story follows two main characters, Jasminda and Jack. Jasminda, half Elsiran and half Lagrimari is an Earthsinger. All she desires is to live a life of peace, away from others on her homestead in the wilderness. Jack is an Elsiran soldier, disguised as the enemy, desperate and in seek of a way to end the centuries old war between Elsira and Lagrimar. Chance will bring them together, but it seems as though destiny keeps them there. The first third of this book was somewhat slow. I was a little unsure of what I was getting into and had a lot of questions. I liked the story and found it interesting, but it really didn't reach out and grab me. However, after that first third, the ball really gets rolling. The setting, pace and feel of the story changes tremendously and I read nonstop until I finished it, I couldn't put it down! The world created in this story is rich and vast, I hope we get the opportunity to learn more about the lands beyond Elsira and Lagrimar in future installments. Additionally, one of my favorite parts was the "Collected Folktales" included at the beginning of each chapter. They were very reminiscent of Aesop's Fables and were so unique, clever and even charming. I looked forward to reading them as each chapter ended and another began. The story itself includes many elements I absolutely adore and I was very proud of the characters regarding most of the choices they made. Each of them stuck to their convictions and never followed paths that I felt were out of character. Jasminda and Jack are both very admirable in their actions, despite a few moments I was irritated with them for avoiding what was staring them straight in the face, but hey - that's what makes books interesting! I *really* wish I could give you more about the story and my thoughts on it but I would be spoiling a major reveal by voicing half of what I want to say and it's just not fair to do that! So I'll just include a few elements I loved: traveling, courtly intrigue, mysterious histories, forbidden romance, and more! Also, WE NEED MORE POC fantasy and sci-fi main characters written by POC authors!
This book is well rounded, with great characters that are relatable, and it keeps you wanting more. Can't wait until the next one!
This book has a good premise but was lacking in description and world building. There are two countries bordering each other constantly at war. I wish there was more written about each country. Their culture’s, landscapes, and people. I also there had been physical descriptions of characters. Without the cover picture it wouldn’t have been clear that the heroine was a woman of color. While it was made very clear that Jasminda looked different from her countrymen, it wasn’t clear what made her stand out so much. Jasminda was a very likeable character, as was Jack. The instalove did annoy me, and although they were adults a lot of their romantic interactions and misunderstandings felt like YA. The ending was a little to neat and easy for my liking but I’d rather that than a cliffhanger. I liked the book well enough, but I didn’t love it. It’s the kind of story I would recommend if your looking for a entertaining but mindless read. I will most likely be reading the next book in the series, and hopefully the second one will have more details and complexities.
A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps. Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war. Review: This Author created a very unique and inventive story! I thought for a first book in the series it is a great start. The difference of the story was very engaging. The whole back story of the True Father and Queen was very interesting (and would make a great story of its own, prequel maybe?) and liked how it was woven throughout this story in flashbacks and then the exciting conclusion. Jasminda is such a strong and intriguing character. She has had a lot to deal with in her life and she is still trying to survive and succeed. Jack is what you want in lead character; handsome, good moral compass and passionate. As a couple they had their problems, but not too many compared to other couples in books. That would be my only issue with the book, is that really they came together pretty easily and were a little predictable. I loved the diversity of the people and couples in this story. The Author is also very good with her descriptions and setting, it made me feel like I could see this world. Again, great first book in the series, cannot wait to see what happens next. 3.5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of the book provided by the publisher.*
Said the Master of Jackals to the soldier, “A victorious warrior fights for one of three things: a righteous cause, a broken heart, or a noble death.” Song of Blood and Stone was unexpected. I knew I was getting a fantasy story about power struggles, destiny, and a bit of romance thrown in. I wasn’t expecting modern social commentary to be weaved effortlessly and poignantly into this historical fantasy. Song of Blood and Stone follows Jasminda, an outcast Earthsinger, who teams up with Jack, an injured spy, to heal their warring Country and discover the mysterious secrets surrounding the Queen Who Sleeps. Things I Liked I mentioned it above, but I really enjoyed the social commentary that was present throughout the book. Penelope tackles topics like immigration and refugee rights, racism, oppression, and controlled media. Though these topics are explored in the fantasy setting, they clearly draw from real-world issues. I though the issues were handled with care and addressed, but never belittled. The story also never got preachy, which I appreciated. The prologue hooked me from the start, along with the folktale quotes at the beginning of the chapters (which if you know me, is no surprise I loved them!) created this fantastical atmosphere that was easy to get lost in. I really liked the flashback visions we get of Oola, Yllis, and Eeron. I feel like they not only helped establish the worldbuilding and history of Elsira and Lagamira, but also established tension and conflict between the countries that made the actions seem authentic. Things I Didn’t Like I personally found the romance to be a little heavy handed, especially in the beginning of the story. Jasminda and Jack have an almost too perfect relationship. There wasn’t anything bad about their romance, but I didn’t find myself swooning either. The story was also heavily romance-leaning. I’d say it felt more like a romance in a fantasy setting thana fantasy story with a romance in it. The writing didn’t grab me the way I wanted it too. I thought it was a little simplistic and focused. I didn’t feel like it ‘set the scene’ for the story, the scene was already there and the story was just happening over it. Now I don’t need super flowery prose to be invested in a story, but I would have liked more. Especially because I loved the Folktale collections that created a fantastical element, but otherwise there wasn’t much. I thought the end battle was a little too easy. While I appreciate the tension setup, I feel like it was over too quickly to have a meaningful or successful payoff. Song of Blood and Stone was a fun fantasy surprise with a surprising amount of depth. I enjoyed the worldbuilding and many of the personal moments that allow the characters to shine. Song of Blood and Stone is a story about power struggles, destiny, and conviction. I received a copy of the book from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I first found this book, and read the synopsis, I thought it sounded really interesting and unique, and I immediately wanted to give it a try. And I was not disappointed. It was original, the plot was great, if a little slow paced, and the world was really interesting. It was a bit predictable, which lowered my rating a bit, but it was still a very enjoyable read and a definitive recommendation! I liked the characters. I really liked that the characters – Jasminda and Jack – were so different, they’d grown up in different ways, and even though they were both from the same place, they had very different views of the place. I think it added more depth to the story, and plus, they’re both very likeable characters. They were interesting to read about, and I really enjoyed reading about them. The plot was good. It was a bit slow at times, but it was interesting and different, and it hooked me from the first page, so it honestly didn’t bother me too much. There were so many question marks in the beginning that I had to find out the answer to, so I just kept reading and reading… and then it was over. Unfortunately, it was a bit predictable, and I figured out most things a while before it happened. The very best thing, though, was the world. It’s very unique and it was what drew me to the book in the first place. And it didn’t disappoint. The world-building was good, the author told just enough to catch the reader’s attention, but not too much that you felt overwhelmed. It was the perfect amount at the perfect time, leaving the reader interested and needing to know more. It was amazing. It was a bit more explicit than most Young Adult, though. I was actually very shocked when I went into the book and read some scenes, and I think for a YA book it may not be entirely appropriate, at least not without some warning, so that annoyed me a bit. It also means that I would recommend this book to older youths, because it does have some very mature content. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was very unique and original, and I really liked the characters. The highlight of the book was the world-building, which was absolutely incredible, and it hooked you from the first page. The only minus was that it was more mature than I’d expected from a Young Adult book. But I would definitely recommend it to Fantasy fans!
I enjoyed this one, but I couldn't help but feel something was missing. Some spark or chemistry or something to push it from good to great. Song of Blood & Stone is a fantasy lite read that centers around Jasminda, a bi-racial Earthsinger, and Jack, a military man that is more than what meets the eye. I did like the two of them together and felt their connection. Their romance feels like a slow burn (even though it really happens pretty quickly) and it added a good dynamic and subplot to the story. This is a story laden with political unrest, mirroring many societies of today. There are the Elsira (light skinned, no powers) and the Lagamiri (dark skinned, wield magic through "song") who have been on opposing sides of an on again, off again war. For the most part they live separated by the Mantle, an impenetrable wall of sorts, that has slowly been cracking. Many Lagamiri seek asylum in Elsira, trying to escape the True Father, but conditions aren't much better for them in Elsira as they are persecuted and largely unwanted there. With the True Father threatening war again, Jack and Jasminda must find a way to prevent it. I would have liked to see more detail about Earthsong and the magic the Lagamiri possessed. I was often confused or unsure of exactly what it entails. The epilogue ends in a way that it sets up the next book and I am interested in seeing where the story will go as this original conflict (that of the True Father) was resolved in this book.
4.5 /5 I really enjoyed this new fantasy! L. Penelope ‘s writing is beautiful and the characters are the best part. In this story there are two countries, divided by a magical border called the Mantle. In one country you have the Lagrimari, people with dark skin and magical abilities called Song. In the country of Elsira, the people are light skinned with no magical abilities. These countries have a strong prejudice against each other and it has caused a number of wars., and they are currently on the brink of another. This is where the main characters come in! Jasminda is an orphaned half Lagrimari and Elsira, though she appears Lagrimari in both skin color and magical abilities, she lives in Elsira and she’s treated like ‘a dog with five legs’ because of her appearance and the people’s hate for Song. She lives next to the border and crossed paths with Jack, an injured Elsirian spy, and helps him on him mission to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father, a Lagrimari leader who takes his people Song to make himself stronger. This story is fantastically magical and the star-crossed romance is just beautiful! There are so many plot twists and it was such and fun journey, I’m so excited for the next book to this trilogy! I’d like to warn readers that there is graphic sexual scenes and attempted rape, I would say this book is under the New Adult category. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did, happy reading!
I like fantasy. I like New Adult/Young Adult fantasy. I like romance. Why is it so hard to find a book that can focus on all three of those genres equally? I have had issues with books that combine the three genres together. I can’t find a book that competently blends all 3 of those genres. Don’t get me wrong, Song of Blood & Stone does a great job at attempting to combine them. But it didn’t click for me. I thought that Song of Blood & Stone got off to a fantastic start. The author set the tone for the entire book perfectly. But, by the middle of the book, when Jasminda was in Elsira’s capital, the book started to falter. By the end of the book, I wasn’t engaged with the characters anymore and the storyline annoyed me. I am hoping that the second book will draw me back in because this book had so much potential. I thought that Jasminda got the raw end of the deal. She was hated by the village because of her Earthsong. Her maternal grandfather wanted her to disown her family if she wanted help. To top it off, she ends up getting put in the middle of a looming war. A war that Jack tried to stop but didn’t succeed. Hatred of her other heritage, the Lagamiri ran deep in Elsira. Even in the castle, Jasminda wasn’t exempt from the hatred of the Elsiran people. I felt awful for her. It was a wonder that she didn’t crack sooner. Jack got under my skin. I did think he was going to be a temporary character, at first. So when the twist in his storyline came, I was not ready for it. The author did a great job of portraying him as a tortured man. He was torn between the love of his country and the love for a woman that was half of the enemy. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the stress he was under. But, saying that, I found his actions later in the book awful. He did not stand up for Jasminda. He wanted to hide what they had. He did what he thought was right at the time (even though I thought it was wrong, wrong, wrong). Not going to say what it was but if I was Jasminda, I would have told him to take a hike or punched him in the face. Probably both. The storyline of the Earthbenders of old was fascinating. This is one part of the book that I correctly guessed at what was going to happen who those people ended up being. It was still a surprise when it came out at the end of the book. The storyline of the refugees touched my heart. I did liken it in ways to the waves of people coming out of Syria. People displaced because of who they are. They can’t go back because they will be put in harm’s way or killed. And they can’t stay where they are because people don’t understand and fear them. There was chemistry between Jack and Jasminda. From the minute they met each other, sparks flew. The author kept those sparks keep fanning until they did the deed. Then I felt that the relationship went flat. But, considering what was going on at the time, I now wonder if that was the author’s plan. If it was, it was ingenious of her to do that. What I didn’t like was that there were a couple of dropped storylines. The one that sticks out in my mind was the man who gave Jack the cornerstone that he thought was a map. It was speculated who he was. Then the storyline was dropped. Also, the mystery woman who the guard was talking to in Jasminda’s cottage. She was mentioned once in the book and then that was it.
An enjoyable read. This book is a fantasy novel with warring countries trying to break through/defend a magical barrier between the lands. It has basic technology like electricity and radios which is unusual in books that seem more high fantasy. Unusual in a good way as I enjoyed the update. This is the story of Jack and Jasminda trying to save their world from a vicious magical All Father who drains people's magic to add to his own. It has fights, a romance subplot, sibling rivalry, bad soldiers, good soldiers, confused Sisters, and a magical Queen stuck in a sleep spell. I would recommend this book. I've already recommended it to someone. I received a digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. It has an expiration date so I consider it no different than if I had borrowed it from the library. A good book, the start of a new series--I believe book 2 comes out this fall--that would be a good addition to any fantasy, urban or paranormal fantasy collection
Song of Blood & Stone is the fantasy I've been searching for! L. Penelope reduced me to a babbling mess with her story full of rich, beautiful characters and thrilling world. Jasminda and Jack's story is powerful and will strike the hearts of epic fantasy and romance fans! Even though Jasminda is a citizen of Elsira people only see her Lagamiri heritage. Her dark skin and Earthsong power, weak though it may be, sets her apart from society and in a dangerous position as threats of another breech spreads across the country. Jack is on a mission to strengthen the Mantle that separates Elsira and Lagamiri in order to keep the True Father from descending on the people of Elsira. Jasminda and Jack find each other on a mountain pass with a terrible storm brewing overhead, and from there the story unfolds with layers of fantastic world building and a plot full of intrigue. Song of Blood & Stone offers readers an engaging read with compelling characters. I devoured this story as Jasminda quests to awaken a Queen and protect those without power. Even though her Earthsong is weak, she's willing to risk it all to save her country and that makes it so easy to root for her. Jack is stuck between following his heart and duty to his people. I admired his character for the choices he made as he went against what was expected of him. It showed that he was confident in his path and a true hero. Jasminda's story is so relatable and relevant that readers will have no trouble imagining this story in their mind's eye. Jack and Jasminda face an impossible attraction to each other, but their love is a conquering force that drives this story and will move readers to eat it up in one sitting! The hype surrounding Song of Blood & Stone is very well founded. It's a perfect harmonization of romance, action, and fantastic world-building that you won't be able to walk away from once you start! I'm completely hooked on L. Penelope and excitedly looking forward to the rest of the Earthsinger Chronicles! *ARC provided in consideration for review*
pooled ink Reviews: 4.25 Stars I honestly was expecting this to be just another fantasy story like hundreds of others I've read before and in some ways it was, but in most ways it was so much more and I found myself absolutely in love with it! There were definitely some weak moments in the plot but overall I was vibing it and became so completely invested that I was reading through the night unable to put it down (This is a good example of reading a book in the right place at the right time!). SONG OF BLOOD AND STONE is a true fantasy with the churning depth of history, humanity, and love. Intense, riveting, and spinning a tale that will have your heart captivated, this book is one for every fantasy lover’s shelves. **Read the full review on Wordpress: Pooled Ink
Song of Blood and Stone was at times difficult to read because of the themes it explores. I'm not going to lie some of those themes set my blood to boiling, not because of the execution mind you but because I've experienced varying degrees of it. Despite getting my hackles up I found it to be quite an enjoyable read. I loved the romance and that it was thought provoking. I also loved the world it's set in which is different yet very much reminiscent of this world we live as it highlights issues currently plaguing us. I liked this author's voice and I'm definitely looking forward to not only reading the next book in the series but also more of her work. I recommend this book to lovers of Fantasy. ARC provided by publisher through Net Galley in exchange for a honest review
Despite a slow start, "Song of Blood & Stone" was a breath-taking new adult fantasy that left me wanting more. We begin with Jasminda, a "half-breed," being the daughter of an Earthsinger from Lagrimar and an Elsiran woman who was part of the Sisterhood who took care of refugees (how her parents met). The two kingdoms are separated by both skin color and power- leading to stark racism. The Lagrimari are dark-skinned but have the power of Song, which allows them to connect to the earth and alter it, uncover emotions, heal, etc. The Elsirans are light-skinned but devoid of any power. They fear the Lagrimari for their power and call them grol witches. Lagrimar is ruled by The True Father, an evil man of immense power who steals his people's Songs for himself and has a large harem to produce soldiers and more people from whom to drain power. Elsira is ruled by a king and council, but they all believe in the Sleeping Queen, who is worshiped and prayed to almost as a religious figure, but is supposedly their first Queen who is asleep and will one day be awakened. As people who are of either country's descent can be readily recognized by skin color, there are immense prejudices between them. Although the countries are separated by a magical barrier, The True Father is constantly working to breach this barrier and invade Elsira. Jasminda lives near the border between Elsira and Lagrimar. Her Elsiran mother died years before and two years ago, her father and twin brothers (her brothers were born without Song and so appear Elsiran) went missing. She lives alone on their farmland, which she is at risk of losing due to back taxes supposedly owed. Her life changes drastically when she is on the way back home and comes across an injured Elsiran soldier close to death. Although her song is weak, she uses it to heal him a little to stave off death. The soldier, Jack, is followed close behind by Lagrimari soldiers who do not realize they have crossed the border. They commandeer her house. Seeking to save Jack and herself, she soon finds a mission larger than herself when Jack asks for her aid to strengthen the Mantle, the magical border between the two countries. However, they will first have to find a way to escape the Lagrimari soldiers who are a product of their cruel ruler. As the story evolves, we move far away from the sheltered life Jasminda lived on the outskirts of the countries and learn so much more about this fascinating world. I would heavily classify this story as new adult for a graphic attempted rape scene and later very detailed intimate sex scenes (consensual) which make this fit less into the YA category. There are also some very interesting political statements that reflect on those that face our own country. I won't say too much about it because I found this story to be full of twists and turns that I did not see coming, and I would hate to spoil any of it! I also would like to commend this story for the diversity of characters- a main character with dark skin, interracial couples, and same-sex couples make appearances throughout. There is a whole host of wonderful characters, and I am so excited that this will be the start of a series- I can't wait to explore this world more! This is also not to mention that there are other countries which seem equally fascinating in this alternate world which are not fully explored (hopefully in future books?). I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for a beautiful romance and fa