Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet SongTitle: Strange Sweet Song
Author: Adi Rule
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Publishing Date: March 11th 2014
Pages: 336
Genre:  YA Gothic Romance
Series: Stand Alone
Source:  ARC 


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 was a beautifully written story. The romance was very sweet, the story was fantastical, and the ending was pretty amazing. The pacing lacked a just a tad for me but for the most part it was a very exciting read. 

Sing is a singer. Her mother was a famous soprano and her father a famous conductor. She is off to boarding school for musical talent. A very famous music conservatory. The school was once occupied by the author of her favorite opera, the opera her mother had the lead for when she died, the opera her father doesn't like. A story that involves a murderous mystical Felix Sing loves the opera and when the school decides to present the opera, Sing wants the lead and will do what is needed to have that lead. There is more to the story of course. There is the Felix, who really does exist in the woods outside of the school and a very mysterious and creepy apprentice. Everything is strange, creepy, and a bit romantic at this school and Sings wants to explore it all.

I loved the story, I loved the setting, I loved the writing. The pacing was a bit slow at times in between the main story. The story is told in multiple POVs.  Sing's, The Felix, and the Maestro's. Sing's the most present in the story and the most normal. The Felix's was just creepy and freaky, and the maestro's was a bit mysterious. The story involved romance, mystery, and a bit of horror. It was a bit gory at times too. 

The setting was beautiful. A real Gothic feel, old school, woodsy, gargoyle statues.  I got the feeling that I was surround by moonlight and fog most of the way through the book. The author did a wonderful job at bringing the darkness and the romanticism to life. I was able to feel it as well as see it. 

The story moved along really well at the beginning then slowed down a bit towards the middle. Too much on the opera casting, the mean girl, and the school drama. That was a bit boring for me. I could have done without it dragging on, although it was important to the story it was just too much. Once the story took a turn for the romance, I was all in again.  The romance was sweet, passionate, and too short. Not enough of this wonderful relationship in the story. It was more towards the end but it was well worth the wait. I loved it. My favorite part of the entire book. 

The main character, Sing, wasn't one of my favorite characters. She wasn't the worst, but she had her moments of self pity that made me want to slap her or pull my hair out. When she wasn't in the self pity stage she was really likable and cool, and she was in this state for most of the book. The few moments she was annoying kept me from loving her, but I still liked her. 

Nathan was just amazing. Of course he didn't really appear much in the beginning, however when he did make his appearance he did it with wow factor. Smooth and charming. Beautiful and romantic. So so wonderful. 

I think that I would have loved the book with no issues if it wasn't for the pacing issue and the lack of romance in the beginning. I know that the beginning was building up for the romance and that was very important. I just think it was a tad too much of the building and not enough of the good stuff. Still very enjoyable  though. 

Good Gothic Romance worth reading. 

I write in a studio apartment filled with books, cats, pictures of cats, musical instruments, video games, records, and a macaw who refuses to say, "Shiver me timbers!" despite the fact that it would be the best thing ever. When I'm not writing, I may be found playing Triple Yahtzee with my grandmother or singing in the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops, with whom I have also been a soloist.I earned my MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I also have a BA in voice from the University of New Hampshire. I am represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.


  1. Yay. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. The forest was so creepy and the Felix was too, but was so interesting. :)

  2. I'm glad you liked this. I sometimes like it when the romance comes in towards the middle but sometimes I don't!! Haha! Great review. I"m going to check this book out!

  3. Yes! I love gothic atmospheric ones, even better if it's a little gory. I would probably love it more for the lack of romance but if the romance isn't insta-lovey (which it sounds like it's not) and I like the love interest, then I totally ship the romance and want more of it. Shame about the middle but at least it picked up and you enjoyed it overall. I've been seeing it around a lot, and seen a few reviews so far that have all been nothing but good, I'll have to check it out soon. :)

  4. This book sounds quite interesting, but I must admit that I don't really love when books slow down a lot during the middle. I get really bored and start to switch off. Thanks for the great review :)


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