Sunday, December 18, 2022

#BookReview: Ruinsong by Julia Ember

Synopsis: In Julia Ember's dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Her voice was her prison...
Now it's her weapon.

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence has been forced to torture her country's disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen's bidding.

But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen's footsteps and become a monster herself.


Rating: 4 Stars
My Review: The magic system was A+!! I loved the fleshed out magical system and wished that the rest of the story would have been giving the same amount of care.  I really think this might be closer to 3 stars but that magic system just won me over.  The rest of the story was kind of weak but man I am just so in love with that magical system.  I know I keep talking about it but it was just so freaking good.  

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Since childhood, a ruthless queen has trained Cadence to use her magic as a weapon. Against a backdrop of eerily topical politics, Cadence struggles with her conscience and complicity in helping her queen stay in power by intimidating and silencing dissidents, and in a world where magic is based on song, those out of the queen's favor are often silenced—their vocal cords are severed. It's a task she's had since she was taken from her family at six, at the time a matter of survival. But when she's reunited with childhood friend Remi, Cadence starts to question just how responsible she is for the queen's campaign of intimidation. As the two young women are drawn to the possibility of covert and eventually open rebellion, their friendship rekindles and eventually turns to romance. Ember's novel unfolds at a leisurely pace, which may frustrate action-seeking readers, but the characters and their motivations are complex and nuanced and need the time to develop. Cadence's struggle, in particular, is relatable. Remi grapples with an emerging class consciousness and desire to leverage her privileged position to help those unable to help themselves. This is a solid fantasy that weaves queer romance with themes of social justice. Both Remi and Cadence are described as white, a number of other characters are Black, and among the non-noble classes, queer relationships are accepted. VERDICT An engaging fantasy novel that will push readers to draw parallels between the narrative and contemporary events and conflicts and, hopefully, empower them to use their own voices to stand up for what they believe in.—Erin Downey, Boise Sch. Dist., ID


"Underground rebellions, bardic magic, and ruthless tyrannical queens make this a book you don't want to miss." -- Hypable

Phantom of the Opera-inspired fantasy builds on an interesting system of song-based magic; the approach to LGBTQ acceptance is also intricate ... fantasy fans looking for a traditional take with a lesbian twist will likely want to pick this one up." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

"An engaging fantasy novel that will push readers to draw parallels between the narrative and contemporary events and conflicts and, hopefully, empower them to use their own voices to stand up for what they believe in." -- 
School Library Journal

"A lushly written, immersive fantasy tale about how monstrous we're willing to become to protect ourselves -- and how difficult it can be to learn to fight back." 
-- Rebecca Schaeffer, author of Not Even Bones.

"A darkly shining jewel of a story set in a fascinating new world. This queer romantic fantasy will replay itself in your mind long after you've finished, like an unforgettable melody." 
-Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of Reign of the Fallen.

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