by Gillian Bronte Adams
Her solo is a death sentence.
Deep within the world of Leira flows a melody that was sung at the beginning of time by Emhran, the Master Singer. Now it is broken, buried, forgotten. But in each generation, a Songkeeper arises to uphold the memory of the Song against those who want it silenced forever.
When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her own mouth, her world shatters.
She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced to flee for her life, she must decide whom to trust–a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or a mysterious creature who claims to know her past.
With enemies at her heels and war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie soon discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on one orphan’s Song.
I’m pretty sure that when I first learned about Orphan’s Song, my first thoughts were that a magic system centered around music was so cool. And it is.
I am a musician and play several instruments and sing. So to see a magic system where music is the key factor was so cool. I love how Gillian wove tied the magic system directly to the plot, and also wove it into the worldbuilding. It was done so well.
Now I’ll talk about one of my other favorite things about this story: the characters. Gillian does a phenomenal job of developing her characters and giving them all unique and distinct voices. Aside from their character voices, Gillian does a great job with all of the other aspects of character development. Each of the characters has clear and believable motivations behind their actions. They also have great personalities. All of them were likable (or loathsome in the villain’s case).
Also, Amos is amazing. Read the book, and you will agree with me. Trust me. His insults are practically the stuff of legend and will have you smiling and laughing.
The worldbuilding is also super well done. Most of Orphan’s Song is set in the almost “classic” fantasy setting, but it’s not cliche and has its own aspects that make it unique. And we get hints of other parts of Leira that are explored in the rest of the series (but I won’t say anything else about them because of spoilers).
The plot is well done. In a sense, it is setting up the overarching plot of the series. But that’s what it is supposed to do as the first book in a trilogy–it’s the First Act in the Three Act Structure. And Orphan’s Song doesn’t feel like it is completely just set up for further books. It has its own plot, which mostly has to do with Birdie trying to avoid capture and figure out whether the Song is a gift or a curse.
I was given an audiobook of Orphan’s Song to listen to by the author, so these next couple of thoughts are going to be just about the audiobook.
The audiobook was well done. In my opinion, the narrator might have been a little too old though. She did a fantastic job with the adult voices in the story, but I thought she sounded a little too old for the younger characters. But, that might have been because she didn’t sound like my mental voice for Birdie (I’d read the series already before listening to the audiobook). However, towards the end of the audiobook, I wasn’t as bothered by her sounding older. So make of that what you will.
Overall, Orphan’s Song is a great beginning to a magical, musical YA fantasy that touches on deep truths and shines light in the darkness.
Cautions: moderate violence