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Review--The Songkeeper Chronicles

Titles: Orphan's Song, Songkeeper, Song of Leira

Series: The Songkeeper Chronicles

Author: Gillian Bronte Adams

Genre: YA Fantasy, Christian Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

I’m absolutely in love with Gillian Bronte Adams’ The Fireborn Epic, so her first series has been on my TBR for a while now! I went into it expecting great characters, solid worldbuilding, and deep themes—and I was not disappointed.

Characters: Birdie is so sweet (though I do want the history of her name) and is such a relatable heroine. I love how she grows from a scared, naïve girl into a confident young woman. She effortlessly avoids the pit of annoying “strong heroines,” learning early on that her strength can only come from relying on others—and especially on her Creator. I enjoyed getting to know her!

I liked Ky from the beginning (because really, who can say no to a street thief who has to steal to eat and has to eat to live?). He also grows so much; it was exciting to see him come into his own in the Underground and learn what it means to be a leader. And he’s so sweet with his “little siblings”!

Amos is probably my favorite—the blustering, grouchy mentors always are! (He’s like the Markham prototype [from The Fireborn Epic; if you know you know]). He has such a great arc! I’d read a whole series about his backstory.

Content: There are many battles throughout the series, with a good amount of death. Characters are injured in various ways, some more disturbing than others.

The bad guy has bodies piled around his evil lair, with one of them hanging from a pole as his banner. I can’t say too much because of spoilers, but the sequences in his lair might be disturbing for more sensitive readers.

Characters utter fantasy curses (like “Delian’s fist”). Characters call each other names, and Amos is a master of generating insults.

Writing: I expected superb writing, and that’s what I got. Adams has an incredible ability for weaving a story, pulling together multiple viewpoints and plot lines to create a cohesive whole. The story engaged me from the beginning, and while it wasn’t one that I couldn’t put down, it kept me interested, thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading.

And the biblical undertones to the story… wow. The ending of Book 2 gave me chills.

Also, the whole thing felt a bit like the opening of The Silmarillion, where Ilúvatar sings the world into existence and then shows Melkor how even the disunity he creates is all part of the larger melody. And in some ways, it was almost like Leeli from The Wingfeather Saga gets her own story through Birdie. Whether these were intentional nods or not, I appreciated them.

Summary: This series is a fantastic read for fantasy fans aged 13+. The first book almost reads like middle grade, but the intensity of the final two definitely raises it to YA. It’s a beautiful story of learning to hear God’s voice, of submitting to His will even when it doesn’t make sense, of trusting Him although we can’t see what He’s doing. I highly recommend.

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