Ruinsong by Julia Ember

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ruinsong is a fast-paced novel of a world where magic is contained in your voice. Cadence is a talented corporeal singer forced into the service of a cruel queen. Remi, her friend from childhood, is a fierce young woman who must bear the yearly torture the queen inflicts on the noble class. When the two meet again after years apart, their lives and the world be changed forever,

The storyline of this novel is incredible compelling, and I think Ember created a world in which readers will want to return. But I had a hard time deciding its audience, honestly. The content feels like young adult, but the sentence structure and characters feel closer to middle grade. It’s a difficult one to recommend, though I know there is an audience out there for it.

Also, the story is quite bleak and violent with nothing that brings levity to the book. There is very little characterization; we do not know the characters’ motivations and needs and we only get small snippets of their history. The main romance plays out mainly in the final chapter, and I wish there was greater development of their relationships with each other and the people around them throughout the story. More well-rounded characters that learn and grow through the story, and lighter moments of characters interacting would have made the darker plot points more effective and chilling.

I do love the world that was created. The exiled community, the nobles who must suffer every year, the world where magic is in your voice. It is beautifully imagined and unlike anything I’ve read. If you care less about characterization and love fast-pacing, dark plots, and LGBTQ+ representation, this is one to pick up.

Have you read this one? What do you think? Any tips for who I should suggest this to at the library?

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan for providing me with an ARC of this title.

Published by Kristi

Hi there! I am Kristi, a book obsessed human with strong opinions. Join me as I read across genres and do the work to find you the best of the best books.

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