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Songspinners Paperback – 2 Jun 1997
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Orial lives quietly with her father in the grounds of their sanitorium, secretly acting out a forbidden ritual in her mother's memorial in the necropolis. But Orial does not know that her mother was not of this world and she may have inherited the talent that killed her mother.
About the Author
Sarah Ash studied music at Cambridge University and trained as a composer before she found her real metier in words. She now lives and works in Beckenham, Kent.
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I thought I should put in a brief synopsis, as no editorial reviews of "Songspinners" seem to have found their way onto this site. There's a lot to like in this book. A number of the characters are appealing or at least amusing; their varying motivations are believable and fit well into the story. Ash has a good gift for visual description, and the accounts of the Undercity and polite society in Sulien (think eighteenth-century Bath in England) are beautifully brought to life. There are secrets to be uncovered, something I always like in a book, and the resolution of the story was appropriate.
Yet I would have liked to like "Songspinners" more than I actually did. Like "Moths to a Flame", it just all felt very thin, somehow . . . I find it difficult to identify just what I felt was missing - real depth of character and setting, perhaps?
I assume this is one of Sarah Ash's earliest books. I hope her talent continues to develop from this promising beginning.
The story is one of the entwined fates of three people: Orial Magelonne,a young woman with a musical heritage forbidden to her since her mother's mysterious death; Amaru Khassian, a crippled opera composer fleeing his country pursued by a fanatical religious order; and Acir Korentan, a soldier-priest of that very same religious order who must alternately hunt and protect the composer he is sent after. In the wake of a brewing revolution that crosses international borders and shakes the foundations and beliefs of two very different countries,the three must overcome their own prejudices and disabilites as they draw closer to the truth behind the ancient culture of Songspinners.
"Songspinners" is an epic of a stand alone book, wherein Sarah Ash wrangles a cast of interesting characters and creates entire mythologies, countries and cultures with ease. Her characters are by no means two dimensional human beings, and the subjects touched upon in the book are thought-provoking, vast, and socially relevant. "Songspinners" is Ash's second novel, and is a vast departure from her first novel "Moths to Flame" both stylistically and conceptually. There were no points in Songspinners when I was tempted to say "Well, I wish she would have done THIS instead..." as I said sometimes while reading "Moths to a Flame".
Personally, this is my favorite novel by Sarah Ash. "Songspinners" even overshadows her very popular Tears of Artamon Trilogy.