Cels Reviews: Elspeth Cooper—"Songs of the Earth"
The Book of Eador, Abjurations 12:14, clearly states: Suffer ye not the life of a witch. For a thousand years, the Church Knights have obeyed that commandment, putting to death any who are found guilty of hearing the Songs of the Earth. Even if it means it’s one of their own.
Songs of the Earth rings all the bells and tones of a traditional fantasy epic: A brave hero to save us all, magic and misinformation and a world similar to our own, but so very far removed. Teeming with a Dark Ages-Esque theme and brimming with knights and the iron rule of the church, Songs of the Earth sets us down in the thick of the darkest day in Gair’s life so far.
As a novice knight who can hear the music and harness the power that resounds within the notes, Gair amazingly escapes the trial with his life intact. Not all are happy with his sentence though and Gair must flee the knights and the witch finder who thirst for his blood. Gair doesn’t have time to learn to control his rapidly growing powers yet, if he doesn’t, disaster will be the only outcome. His only hope is the Guardians of the Veil—a super-secretive Order, almost in extinction thanks to the Church. And just to top off a seat-of-his-pants wild ride, the Veil between Gair’s world and the world that lurks in the shadows is weakening and Gair has a date with destiny.
Now, while this a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable quest, it doesn’t contain that ring of “freshness” you usually receive when you enter into a new world of wonder and magic. It does feel a little like you will know exactly what issue will pop up next for Gair, but there are passages of such vividly rich action that save the weaker plot points. Unfortunately, the character descriptions are vague, and, for those of you who love to have a mental picture like I do, you are likely to find this a little annoying.
Some sections did get a little too bogged down in religious dogma for my liking but it does still fit with the story and adds to its development. The character development is strong and Gair’s journey to awaken his true self is so heartwarming that you will be left with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Cooper has put a lot of thought and energy into capturing the action and magic for the reader with the way she has woven her words. It will embed itself in your subconscious and you could find yourself spending your sleeping hours journeying along with Gair.
All in all, Songs of the Earth is a lovely journey of self-growth, with plenty of magic thrown in; and it is a wonderful way to while away a few afternoons. This debut novel shows real promise for what could become a mind-blowing trilogy.
Song of the Earth is the first in a trilogy, with Trinity Moon and The Dragon House to come. Author info can be found here.
Songs of the Earth—Elspeth Cooper
Published April 2011, Orion Books
Paperback, 467 Pages