"They were coming."
I'll admit, it's not the most unique first line, but it certainly is intriguing, and conveys a certain amount of urgency as well. If you were wondering, it's the first line of Gillian Bronte Adam's novel Orphan's Song, which I'll be reviewing today. But first, a little about the novel:
Who Will Keep the Song Alive?
Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.
When Birdie's song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power.
Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira.
This book's premise intrigued me from the moment I first read it. Too bad then it was three months before it was actually published! But those three months passed rather quickly, and I eagerly purchased and dove into the story of Orphan's Song. It didn't take me very long to finish, as the story drew me in quickly and I was--to put it simply--enchanted with the characters. They nearly made me forget that they are fictional!
Amos the peddler was my favorite of all the characters, with his arsenal of creative insults (using words such as 'blaggardly' and 'boggswoggle', not to mention calling his stubborn donkey a 'fly-swoggled lollygaggin' worthless lump o' dragon bait' and other amusing things). Birdie was also a wonderful character and even more admirable than most orphan-raised-slave heroines: when it came to fighting, she didn't shy away from learning what she could and using what she could to help her friends, rather than just waiting for them to help her.
The characters were undoubtedly my favorite part of the book. Orphan's Song is the first of a series so I knew the plot would just be starting and there would be loose ends, but I was somewhat disappointed by the way the ending was resolved. The plot felt like...well, nearly nonexistent. As you can see from the blurb, Birdie's on the run from everyone trying to use her for her Song, but the only thing Birdie truly wants is a place where she can be free and happy; a home. There's nothing wrong with that, but with nothing to change her mind, that makes for a rather mundane plot, unfortunately.
Usually the hero/heroine will have a moment where they realize that they have to put aside their simple wishes for a greater cause, but Birdie never had that moment, and frankly, there was little reason for it either. Throughout the story there are hints about the importance of the Songkeepers and how Birdie must embrace her role as one...but we're never given a reason why other than 'she must'. And no one's being very forthcoming about anything about it, even though other plot twists and backstories were revealed.
I really enjoyed this book, but it also left me feeling rather...unsatisfied. The best way I can explain it is it's the same reaction I had after watching the first Hobbit movie: it was enjoyable, but it was really only getting started when it ended. And I know series usually have the plot stretched out over multiple books, but there's usually some small, individual plotline that's at least mainly resolved in each book.
But don't let my slightly negative comments dissuade you from reading it! Despite my disappointments, I would highly recommend you read this book, and that will probably just increase more when I read book 2, because Adams did a marvelous job of creating such lovable characters, and her writing is stellar. I'm simply even more anxious to read book 2 and hopefully learn more about this extremely secretive story. :)
Here is the link to the book on Amazon if you'd like to purchase it, as well as a link to the author's blog.