Book Review: Ruinsong by Julia Ember

Ruingsong

Author: Julia Ember

Publication Date: 24 November 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy (retelling)

Pages: 368

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Fierce Reads)

In Julia Ember’s dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Her voice was her prison…
Now it’s her weapon.

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

Ruinsong is a brilliant dark fantasy that features enchanted songs and a slow-burn sapphic romance. The story follows two young woman. Cadence is the queen’s new Principal singer who uses her magical songs to torture the queen’s enemies (mainly the nobles). Remi, the daughter of a Viscount, wants nothing more than the queen’s torturous reign to finally be over.

There are so many things that I just loved about this book. The world building is lush and incredibly intricate. The author takes her time immersing the readers into this world where you are entranced by the beauty of music but then jolted awake when the magic takes hold and destroys its beholders. It was amazing, frightening, and original.

I loved the entire conversation surrounding queerness. There are those who are accepting (the mages) and those who aren’t (the nobles). There’s a scene where Remi laments about being noble born because she just wants to be able to walk around the market and wink at a pretty girl if she wants to.

I thoroughly enjoyed both Remi and Cadence. Both of them are complex and fully developed. I loved their banter and chemistry. As far as side characters go, I wish that we would’ve seen more development for both Nolan and Ren. We only got snippets of both rather than the depth we see in some of the other characters.

Lastly, I love that the author is transparent about race when describing the characters. The characters race is always mentioned first then the details of their appearance comes next. This is something that I wish that more authors would do.

I can honestly keep talking about this one, so just pick it up and give it a try.

Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing a review copy through NetGalley. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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