Strange Sweet Song book Adi Rule
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Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Pages: 336

This book was featured in my earlier post, Dollar Dollar Tree, Y’all! Yes, that’s right, I bought this book at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar. That makes me so. Effing. Happy.
I want to start by saying I have spent a fair amount of time around theater kids, and I felt the book adequately portrayed how jaded and jealous and bitter kids can become really quickly in this environment. Especially if their parents are, you know, those parents. 
Before someone gets bitchy, I know. This is not about theater kids. This is about music school kids. If there’s a fucking difference in how the kids act/treat each other, please let me know.

To Give You a Quick Description:

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary?

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

The Characters are Pretty Great in That They’re Terrible

Sing, the MC, is mostly unlikable. She is jealous of/rude to her “friends,” (I’m using the term loosely), and for someone who criticizes divas at least 100 separate times, she’s willing—in two alternate timelines, nonetheless—to use her father’s fame to steal a part from another, more deserving singer because why? Because Sing’s crush likes her. For me, this was awesome. I love when an author manages to make me like a book, even when I can’t stand the MC. Plus, as I’ve said above, I only think her behavior made her more realistic. That is exactly how an opera kid with famous parents would act.

The Mythology is Different and Interesting

It’s nice to read an Urban Fantasy from the last few years with no vampires, werewolves, angels, or demons. We get wish granting and animal/human transformations in ways I had not previously seen them. Most importantly, the “monster” (another loose term) in this is like a giant space cat, and I fucking dig it.

The Writing Was, for the Most Part, Gorgeous

Almost musical, which is apt. Which is why it hurts me to say, and this is probably not fair, but the third person, present tense narration really bothered me. I assumed I’d adjust to it at some point, but I never did. It was like reading a stalker’s journal about this girl. “Sing reads. Sing adjusts her necklace. Sing wears knee-socks.”

I’d Recommend

the book to anyone who has experienced the opera/theater/music school lifestyle.

Adi Rule's book, Strange Sweet Song

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. I may want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/cat. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.



8 thoughts on “Strange Sweet Song Is Maybe Not So Sweet

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  7. Jorie says:

    Hallo, Hallo Savanah!

    Ooh my dear – not quite the takeaway you were hoping for – and I agree – there are certain groups of people who share cross-similarities with one another. Mind, I might have expressed myself different to state the same but in the vein of argument, I agree with you. You’ll smirk into a snort of laughter though if you read my Fly in the Ointment sections of my blog – as I tend to ought authors who use strong language – as fellow bloggers – I respect the way you articulate yourself same as I hope others accept how I blog my own opines. Which of course is neither here nor there – unless after visiting my blog you rolled your eyes over that section and thought ‘oy?’ I felt I should say a few words…

    What I wanted to comment on directly though – is the weird way in which we can LOVE the world-building but not attach ourselves emotionally to a character! 🙁 This is something I can relate too – it is like all other bookish turn-offs – you might have a good baseline in one part of a story but if the whole of it’s parts do not fuse together, you only have portions of what you can readily say “I loved this but overall, it was not my cuppa”. Or on my blog – if a book fails to ‘woo’ me and for whichever reason the story is a no-go, the art on the cover is merely ‘artwork’ at that point; to be admired for it’s contribution as illustrative design but the story inside is meant for another reader who is better suited to it’s contents. Ah! So you see – we’re both bold in how we declare our remarks! lol I even have a “Stories Seeking Other Readers” List…

    PS: In regards to shifter stories, I sometimes find myself most impressed by how the ‘shift’ occurs and to whom the shifter self-identifies to the most; inveritably not the human side of the ledger!

    1. Savanah says:

      I will definitely check out that section of your blog! And I understand, I do tend to express myself with more profanity than most in the book world but that’s my nature and I decided, upon making my blog, I wouldn’t change the way I speak for reviews. I ramble here the same way I do in real life, strong language and all 😉

      Stories Seeking Other Readers! That is so cute omg. I can’t wait to dive deeper into your blog. And I know! It’s insane to me how I can love one aspect of a book but not anther. This one was all over the place for me. It’s gorgeous, well-written, with annoying characters I don’t root for in a tense I can’t stand. Now, when I review such a book, I tend toward pro/con lists. I think they make it easier for me to express how I feel about my mixed feelings.

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