Welcome to my review of Songs of Insurrection!
Thanks to Caffeine Book Tours for gifting me this Advanced Reader’s Copy as part of my participation in the blog tour. This book was very much not what I expected. It was a lot more and it is surprising how invested I am now in the series. I hope you check it out!
Trigger warnings: Torture, misogyny, racism and racial microaggressions
Title: Songs of Insurrection
Author: JC Kang
Publication date: January 5th, 2021
Publisher: Dragonstone Press
Age group/genre: Adult Fantasy
Blurb (Blog Instruction & Information)
Princess Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see her as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her voice.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend Tian and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
Purchase Link: AMAZON
We start this book out in the place of the emperor, Tianzi. Kaiya is the princess and she is about to be handed over in marriage to a man that she does not want nor know. She knows he is pompous and self-absolved like every other suitor. Her father has allowed her liberties to learn music and freely live her life.
She was called up to meet Prince Hardeep, a foreigner who was not necessarily accepted in the palace. Hardeep has come to seek an audience with the Emperor but the princess as been sent. That is enough for him to know that he would not be getting an audience with the emperor. Whilst his meeting his important he has found a more valuable resource in princess Kaiya who has a voice that could charm a dragon. A dragon that has long been asleep. They both have a common goal at that point. They both want the Dragon Scale Lute! A lute that is said to be made from the scales of an ancient dragon. A dragon long believed to be asleep. He hopes that she can play the lute wake the dragon or soothe the emperor in order to save his people. With this happening, Kaiya begins to feel more for Hardeep than she has ever felt for anyone else in her life and that includes Tian who she once childishly promised to marry.
At the same time, Kaiya’s childhood friend Zheng Tian who is a member of the emperor’s spy clan and his ‘friend’ Jie discover brewing rebellion. Jie who is half-elf has skills that were useful in fighting the rebellion. Kaiya must decide if she is willing to use her voice to fight while questioning the morality of using the power she holds for destruction.
Personally, this book was a bit hard for me to read which is why I gave it less than 4 stars. The world was very hard for me to picture because we kept jumping from scene to scene without exploring the geography and scope of every space. Hardeep was a very interesting character but I wish we spent more time with him. Kaiya was a well-written character in my opinion but the problem was I could tell when I was in and out of her head and that is a major problem when the story runs across different perspectives. Even with all that said, I will be reading other books in the series but what the hell was that ending?!!!!! It was amazing to read about the myths imbibed into this story. The dragon wakes!
I gave this book 3.8 out of 5 stars
JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor, and technical writer to pen epic fantasy stories.
He currently lives in New England, where he works remotely for a social justice theatre company.
Thanks so much for reading.