The Song that Sings Us – A Review

Blurb:
When animals talk, it’s time humans listened.

Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash are separated.

In a thrilling and dangerous adventure they must all journey alone through the ice fields, forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue each other and fulfil a mysterious promise about a lost island made to their mother.

My Review

Harlon lives with her mother and two siblings, Ash and Xeno, in an isolated cottage in the mountains. They live in a society ruled by the Automators, people who hate nature and only want to subdue and use it for their own devices. Ash and Xeno are listeners, they can hear the thoughts of animals and this skill has been outlawed by the Automators. The story opens with a force of Automators coming for the family and the three children have to escape. Their mother stays to fight off the attackers and there follows a thrilling account of the children’s escape down the mountain on snowboards.

Very soon, the siblings get separated and they end up trying to bring down the automators in very different ways as they meet different groups of people who are rebelling against their rule. As they join the rebellion, the children also find that there are a lot of unanswered questions about their mother. Who was she really?

This is a fantasy adventure story with a very strong environmental message. The three children each have very distinct personalities and story lines which all combine at the end for the climax of the story. The novel is fast paced with lots of action as the siblings get involved with the different forces in opposition to the Automators. There is quite a lot of violence as the Automators are ruthless and don’t care who or what they destroy although this is not too graphic. I liked the different points of view throughout the story and the way the animals are given importance including a ship being captained by a tiger. Nicola Davies portrays the world of Rumyc vividly and it is easy to picture the oceans and landscapes where the story takes place.

This is a great teenage or YA read and I’m really grateful to Net Galley and the publishers, Firefly Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for this review.

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Vespertine – A Review

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

I have never read anything by Margaret Rogerson before but was drawn to this by the cover and the synopsis and I really loved it. The novel takes place in a world where the normal passage between life and a peaceful death has been broken and the country of Loraille is plagued by undead spirits (who are ranked according to the method of their death) who try to possess the living. Artemesia is a young girl who can sense spirits and so is a nun in training to become one of those who settles the spirits so that they pass on peacefully. Her world is shattered by an attack on her convent and her only help is a powerful spirit who has its own agenda. The character of Artemisia and the world she inhabits are brilliantly described and the whole world system works together so well. The novel has a dark, gothic feel (I got the feeling that the sun never shines) which really appealed to me.

I loved the character of Artemesia and her relationships with the other characters. The fact that she couldn’t relate to any of her fellow nuns and the definitely argumentative relationship with the revenant are all brilliant and believable. The growth of the relationships through the novel made it a real pleasure to read.

A big thanks to Net Galley and the publishers, Simon and Schuster for letting me have an advance copy in return for my honest review. The book is due to be published on Oct 5th and definitely worth a read if you like your YA novels with a large dose of the unearthly and undeadly.