BOOK TOUR Review: “Songs of Seraphina” by Jude Houghton

A review by Domoni.

I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

After their mother disappears three young sisters, Charlemagne, Cairo, and Pendragon, are sent to live with their grandparents in England by their distraught father. The girls were raised in America away from their father’s family and have no memory or relationship with them. So when they arrive and meet the eccentric relatives, strangeness abounds and the sisters are plunged into a life that is hard to understand and danger that they cannot perceive. Each sister will have an encounter that shows them how their lives are tied to another, from another time and another world. They will have to accept the reality of the war that tore their old world apart and is coming for the new one.

The sisters are reluctant to stay with the odd grandparents they do not know. Being cut off by their father while trying to accept their own grief and confusion has been difficult, but the strange circumstances each sister encounters affects the sisters and distracts her from her loss. The oldest sister Charlie wants to look out for her younger siblings, but doing so has her volunteering for a bizarre ritual at a wake for a boy she doesn’t know. In a few minutes, she lived a whole new life. A disciple of the Golden Lady now, she becomes obsessed with the memories she dreamed and the Ogg, her grandmother. She no longer notices what’s happening with her siblings or seems to care that her father hasn’t contacted them.

Penny, the youngest girl, has always had a strong intuition. She has dreams that terrify and feelings that guide her.  When the strange young man interested in her sister Cairo gives her a crystal, she experiences a vision of the past that puts her into her father’s life as a child. His experience of the war that destroyed his family and world fills Penny with confusion and dread that she struggles to understand.

Cairo, the middle sister, has always been favored by those around her. She is a beauty to be sure, but she attracts kindness and care from everyone she meets. When she immediately meets a strange young man on the first day in England, she lets the attraction take over and make her choices for her. Or perhaps those choices are made by Song, the “imaginary” friend whose voice has been in Cairo’s head her whole life. Song shows Cairo her life in the other world and how she was chosen by her lord. Is Cairo chosen too? Now all three sisters must understand what is happening, but will they figure it out before those who took their mother come for them?

I enjoyed this story. The writing is well done and the story is unique. Each sister is vibrant and strong. They have distinct personalities that are easy to envision. The odd family and characters around them are interesting and well crafted. The world is clear and vibrant. It is easy to imagine the estate in England and the ancient otherworldly villages and experiences of the girls’ minds. I liked that this was not a story focused on love or romance so much as family bonds.  It was sometimes hard to understand the time jumps and strange changes at first, but they became clearer as I continued on with the story.  This book is wonderful for young adult audiences who enjoy fantasy.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Songs of Seraphina

Songs of Seraphina by Jude Houghton

 Genre:
YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Tenebris Books, Grimbold Books
Summary from Goodreads:
Some battles bleed so much, and for so long, that the earth never truly forgets their dead. Some
battles are born of oppression, and some of greed, and some simply because it was written in the stars.
Three sisters—Charlemagne, Cairo and Pendragon Agonistes—are sent from America to England to live with their eccentric grandparents after their mother disappears and their father falls to pieces. But before the girls have time to find their feet, Charlemagne is married off to a dead man, Penny takes a nap and wakes up as a boy, and Cairo is swept into a dangerous romance with a man who wants her for more than her considerable charm. With the girls
wrapped up in a conflict they barely understand, they don’t notice that their grandmother is transforming, or that the two demigod assassins who took their mother are now coming for them—if one of them can get over his crisis of conscience.
In this richly painted tale, at whose heart is the unbreakable bond of family and blood, the world of Seraphina collides with our own as three unique girls are dragged into twilight lives past, fighting for vengeance, retribution, and the survival of their exiled people.

About the Author

Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. Working across the globe in fields as diverse as journalism, data entry, sales, management consultancy and babysitting, Jude has partially succeeded in putting an English and History degree from Oxford University to good use. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.

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