Over the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a great deal of buzz for Gillian Bronte Adams’ Orphan's Song, the first book in her Songkeeper Chronicles, which just released. Why am I so happy? Because Gillian is an amazing blogger, and now published author, who definitely deserves the success! So, I’m excited to see her debut doing well. And now I have the chance to review it for all of you! I’ve decided to present my review in points instead of paragraphs, since I have a tendency to make my reviews exhaustingly wordy.
Part of my bookshelf with its newest arrival, Orphan’s Song
Here’s the description of Orphan’s Song from the site of its publisher, Enclave Publishing:
Who Will Keep the Song Alive?
Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.
When Birdie’s song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power.
Ky is a street-wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira.
- This story follows a split plot for most of the book, following Birdie and Ky separately. They have very different paths, and I found myself more interested in Ky’s, though I liked Birdie as a character.
- For me, the plot felt like it dragged until the third part, when the action really got rolling. I got much more interested at that point, and then it was too short!
- Despite its slowness at times, the plot made sense and introduced a lot of important elements that will make Book 2 much more action-filled, I think.
- Gillian does write engaging characters, which is a definite plus. I’m excited to see where their journeys lead.
- Birdie is downtrodden but courageous. Desperate to escape her life of drudgery and accompanied for much of her life by a mysterious melody, she may get a bit more than she bargained for. I’m curious to see her role as the Songkeeper develop, since I felt that element of the story wasn’t explained. Birdie grows a lot through the course of the story, though at times that growth felt a little fast.
- Ky is a thief who’s selfless when he’s not supposed to be, and his care for others is endearing. For an orphan who has looked out for himself for several years, though, I felt that he grew protective toward Birdie rather quickly. Nonetheless, Ky is my favorite character. He’s inventive, sweet, and courageous.
- Amos, Birdie’s self-appointed protector, is crusty and rather infuriating at times. He’s lived as a peddler for several years, trying to escape a past that collides with him as he rescues Birdie from her kidnapper. He cares fiercely for his “lass”, as he calls her, but he’s downright hostile to her questions about the Song. Though hints about his past were dropped rather liberally, they came together well to influence the climax.
- We get a glimpse into the minds of the enemy, the Khelari, briefly in a few places, and, honestly, I’m terrified of the ultimate villain, the Takhran. Gillian did a fantastic job showing the effects of the Khelari’s presence, even though they weren’t present constantly.
- I felt like the themes of courage and Providence were the most clear in this story, and they create a strong background for characters’ growth.
- Gillian Adams has created an interesting world filled with an encroaching dark army, a griffin, and, most interestingly, a line of Songkeepers. The idea that melodies fill the land of Leira fascinates me, and I’m excited to see it developed.
- There are definite elements of allegory in this this story. I’m curious to see where the author will take those, since I feel that allegories are too often predictable.
- I would have liked to see more action in this story, though others may disagree with me, since there is quite a bit. I just didn’t feel very invested in the conflict until near the climax. It seemed like more set-up than a self-fulfilling story. However, it is the first of a series, and, if it does act as set-up, then the rest of the series should be fantastic.
In conclusion, Orphan’s Song is not the best book I’ve ever read. But neither is it bad. It is a well-written debut with enjoyable characters and a fascinating premise. I encourage you to read it, because I have a hunch that the rest of the series will be incredible. I look forward to what you have next, Gillian!
Have you read Orphan’s Song? If so, let me know what you thought!