Saturday, February 1, 2014

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule is one of the galleys I picked up at Midwinter. It releases in March, so if you find it interesting, you do not have too long to wait!

Sing da Navelli, daughter of a famous singer and a renowned conductor, is a new student at the Dunhammond Conservatory, a place seeped in mystery and legend and surrounded by a dark, deep forest. Sing is there for the music, not the mystery -- she sees Dunhammond as the place where she will finally come into her own as a singer, stepping out of the shadow of her dead mother's musical legacy. She knows that she can sing well, but her confidence is undermined by her own mental comparisons of her voice to her mother's, a problem that is exacerbated when the school puts on her favorite opera Angelique, and she is cast as an understudy to the lead. The opera, written long ago by the school's founder, is said to have been inspired by the forest around the school. It tells of the Felix, a creature that often brings destruction, but occasionally grants wishes to the most desperate. Is the Felix real? And even if it were, what would Sing wish for?

This book does a good job of creating atmosphere and tension. I found the setting strong and the competitive nature of the music conservatory well described. Sing is a complex and not always likable character, but her motivations are clear and realistic. On the other hand, many of the secondary characters are fairly flat, and the romance that comes in toward the end of the book seems hurried and abrupt. The author has chosen to write in present tense, using past tense only for the occasional flashback chapter -- a choice that may irritate some readers. However, if you can get past those quibbles, if you enjoy boarding school stories with music and magic, you might find this book a worthwhile read.

(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)

No comments:

Post a Comment