Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
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
the book to anyone who has experienced the opera/theater/music school lifestyle.
*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.