Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Strange Sweet Song by Ari Rule

Title: Strange Sweet Song
Author: Ari Rule
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: St. Martin's (March 11, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
A young soprano enrolls in a remote music academy where nothing, not even her mysterious young vocal coach, is as it seems.

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school's production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary?

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Lyrical, gothic, and magical, Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule will captivate and enchant readers. 







This is one of those wonderfully strange but frustrating reads.

The ones that actually keep you up at night wondering what you just read and leave you scratching your head going. “Huh?”

This has a very definite almost goth feel to it. The atmosphere is dark and strange and very mysterious, almost too much so at times.


I admit, it took me awhile, a long while (about half way through) to truly warm up to this book and that might have something to do with the fact that the jump between Sing, the Felix, and George was somewhat confusing. It took me awhile to place them and really catch on. I still am not sure if this was initial or if I am just really slow but it made the first half of the book feel slightly disjointed and me feeling disconnected. 

Once I got “it” then the story got a little more interesting and I settled into it much better. I still don't think this will be a book for everyone however, I think it might be one of those, you either love it, hate it, or are completely indifferent to it.

As for which one I am? I still am not sure. I was however, intrigued by it after I got past the rough patch. Did I love it? In a way yes I did. The writing was beautiful and the storyline unique and even lived up to its title as being strange but at the same time, I wish I would have connected with it more. I think if I would have from the very beginning this would have been such a wonderful beautiful story and truly stand out.

Sing was a hard character to love. I wanted to feel for her and all that she was going through but instead I found myself not really caring. The main love interest was...nothing special and certainly not swoon worthy and that didn't help either. I wanted so much more from this story. 

It had potential though and in the end I did end up liking it and feeling something for the story other than indifference. In fact I think I felt more for the Felix and Nathan than anyone else and I am not sure if that is what the author intended or not. Again, I am sort of left wondering if I read this right. If I truly got all this story had to offer.

Would I try something else from this author in the future? I think I would because like I said, I see the potential there and I really did want to love this, flaws, confusion in the beginning, and all. 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review*

50 comments:

  1. I have also read books that didn't much do anything for me at the beginning, but I enjoyed in the end. I can see you being conflicted about this one though, even the book description is a bit confusing for me! I think this is one of those books you have to be in the mood for or you'll end up hating it but I'm glad to hear that the writing is beautiful. Awesome review kindlemom! :)

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  2. The writing and dakr, Gothic atmosphere sound like something I would also enjoy. It's too bad it was a bit hard to connect with Sing though. I think I'll keep my eye on this author - it sounds like Ari Rule has great potential. Thanks for the lovely review, Ali! :)

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  3. I don't think this book would be for me. I would get frustrated with the lack of emotional connection with the characters. Also, if it took you almost half way to actually get into the book, that's not a good sign for me. It's a shame because I love that cover.
    Lovely review, Ali.

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  4. Hm. Not sure about this one Ali! I completely understand the feeling you describe - I've read a number of books that were strange and intriguing but also left me trying to decide whether I liked that they were strange and intriguing or not:) I'm glad you were able to settle in a bit after a rocky start at least, and that overall you would try this author again!

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    1. I think only other reviewers can really understand just how hard it is to review and rate these type of reads. ;) Thanks so much Jenny!!

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  5. The story is intriguing, but I don't know about this one. I love strange new worlds, but not necessarily when they leave me frustratingly confused. Mainly, I like when I know what's going on, but the character in the novel doesn't. I think it helps me connect with the story faster and better, while letting me sympathize with the main character.

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    1. You make a really good point Natalie! I am fine with it if it is a mystery but otherwise, I like my bearings!

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  6. I absolutely know what you mean about wonderful but frustrating read. I'm glad you might try something else by this author even with the confusing parts. I do love the cover color.

    Great review!

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  7. What a beautiful cover... Though from what I read from your review I am not very interested in picking it up. I don't have patience for books that are slow in the beginning ;)

    Cucie @ Cucie reads

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    1. It can be heard to stick with them sometimes but I think, overall, this was worth it. ;)

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  8. It sounds like all the POV switching might prevent me from getting into the story like you. I'm glad you were able to eventually get into it more. Curious about this one, but it's lower on my TBR list. Lovely honest review!

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    1. It was a curious read for sure. You might really like it though!

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  9. These types of books frustrate me. I am a reader that likes to have it all spelled out and understood, none of that make your own mind up.. I think I will pass on this one.

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    1. It eventually is spelled out in ways, it just took a long time to get there I think. :)

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  10. Wh0a, the gorgeousness of that cover!
    I love how the atmosphere sounds like, but like you I'm afraid I might not be as into the characters as I should to really love this to bits (I dislike POV switches). It sounds like it has a lot of potential though.

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    1. It does have an amazing cover for sure! And the POV's weren't too hard towards the end. ;)

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  11. Hey Ali, great review and I know exactly what you're saying. I do love that very fairytale cover though

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  12. It's too bad that this is a stand-alone, otherwise I would have considered giving it a go in the hopes that the author would make up for this story's shortcomings the second time around.

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  13. The cover is gorgeous! That said, It doesn't seem like a book I could get into. I don't want to say it sounds kinda confusing or boring..but it kind of does. if that makes sense.
    That said, I have seen your TBR challenge list & we have a few of the same TBR books in common. Like the one from JL Bryan. If you get to it before I do you'll have to let me know what you thought :)

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    1. It was a bit confusing in the beginning.

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  14. I'm not sure if I could get into this one. I'm glad you found some enjoyment in it though!

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  15. The synopsis drew me in and I am sorry it took so long to connect, sadly I have begun DNFing books at about 100 pages if I haven't slipped in

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    1. I hear ya, I usually do but I was intrigued enough that I had to know how it ended. ;)

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  16. It sounds like you need to bring your patience with this book. Though that cover looks stunning! I like the contrast of red. :)

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    1. A little bit yeah, that is a great way to put it Joy! I agree, the cover is amazing!

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  17. The atmosphere sounds intriguing, I love something like that in books. I didn't know about it but sorry to hear that it was complicated to get into the story... Always the most difficult thing.

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    1. It is hard when that happens. Thanks Melliane!

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  18. I like a Goth feel in a book but this one just sounds okay.

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    1. I really do too and I wish this would of had just a bit more of that feel to it.

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  19. This would not be something I would like I don't think-thanks for an honest review :)

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  20. AH! funny! For me it was the contrary: I liked it at the beginning, thought it was super interesting, and then my interest just dwindled. Great review though :)

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  21. Kudos for sticking with it. I don't know if I would have. If a story cannot grab me within the first couple of chapters, then I move on. Glad to hear you were a little more invested once you knew what was going on.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

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    1. I do that sometimes too but if it is interesting enough, like this one was, then I usually will continue the story. ;)

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  22. There are so many books out there similar to this one when it comes to the gothic feel and the usually WTF premises... and most of the time, I end up really, really not liking them. I'm glad that at least halfway through you were able to start enjoying it... although I am not sure I would have the same patience as yours when it comes to books like this, though >_<

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. Those premises and pretty covers really do promise so much don't they?

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  23. Well that sounds pretty curious. I'm a dnf-er fairly easily if one doesn't grab me right away but that might have me wondering enough to carry through. Hrms. The cover is very pulling. Loving that.

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    1. It really does have a very alluring cover.

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  24. This sounds good but the whole frustrated and confused thing doesn't. I have a feeling it wasn't you and I'd be just as confused. I'm glad it got better though. I really have to care about the characters to enjoy the book and this one sounds iffy. Nice review. :)

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  25. Hmm, I'm not much into the gothic feel but it's kind of intriguing but I don't seem to understand the premise at all. Although, your review kind of cleared things up for me. But I'm not sure if this is a book I'll pick up. Thanks for sharing, anyway! xo

    New bloglovin follower, btw! :)

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

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