Title: Elantra: Song of Tears, Lady of the Dawn
Author: Christine Schulze
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Intended Reading Group:
3 Keys to My Heart
The Elantra, the queen of our people, dwells high in the clouds alongside the Moragon, her king and husband. Daily the laughter of the Elantra fills the sky, causing a magical rain to drizzle down, its spell providing Adelar with all it needs for its success, its happiness, and its prosperity. Lies. Children's fairy tales.
I have become a fan of Christine Schulze ever since I was given the opportunity to review Bloodmaiden. It's no secret that Schulze is an amazing fantasy author. She has the ability to build worlds that will come alive on the page as you read, and that happens to be my favorite part of this genre. So when I was offered Elantra: Song of Tears, Lady of Dawn for review I snapped it up.
Let me first explain that this is the third book in a series. The Gailean Quartet is composed of four books, and I just happened to read this one first for review. Christine Schulze explains that each of these can be read as stand-alone novels, however they mesh the best and make the most impact when they are read in succession. I can't deny I wish I had read the first two before reading this one. Although I did thoroughly enjoy the story, I feel like it would have been even more immersing with prior knowledge. I plan to go back and change that, but for now this review is based on reading this as a stand-alone.
Elantra centers around Crispin, a young boy who is growing up in Adelar. He is at that point where he is ready to become a man, and attends a ritual to make it official. However Crispin soon finds that he would much rather have stayed a naive young boy. Finding out the truth of what makes Adelar such a great kingdom, of the suffering that must be paid to make sure they are happy, makes him hard and angry. It is with this new knowledge that Crispin draws away from everything he's ever known and heads off to save the maiden, if he can.
In terms of world building, once again Christine Schulze shows off her prowess at creating vivid and compelling kingdoms. Adelar and it's surrounding lands are explained in rich language, and it's easy to get lost in these worlds. However, like with all fantasy novels, the places that Crispin visits soon get a little muddled as they expand and overlap one another. For instance there is a race of people in this story called Cheebs who live in their own land. Perhaps I was reading too quickly, but I was soon confused as tho whether they were in an alternate dimension, or just a neighboring land. I'm going to check that on the second read through, but I was lost.
Character wise, I enjoyed Crispin, Lil Gail and all the other people who populate this land. I thought Schulze did a great job of bringing them in separately to introduce them, and then allowing the reader to get to know them as a group as well. I did wish I would have gotten to know a bit more about the current Moragon, since he was such an important part of the story. Still, that was minor compared to anything else. Overall I thought the characters were very beautifully written.
I know I'm rambling and this is a long review. It's tough to aptly explain a fantasy book such as this. There are so many elements that all combine together to make it a great read. From the sweeping landscapes, to the vivid characters, to the back story that is built to give these people their home, it's all there in black and white. I wish I could do more justice to Elantra: Song of Tears, Lady of Dawn. As I said I plan to go back and read these again in order. I'll most likely revise this review then.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.