Reminiscent of such classic novels as A Wizard of Earthsea and The Hero and the Crown, yet set in an utterly original world where enchantment is worked by singing, The Singer of All Songs stands out from the choir of new fantasies for the warmth of its vision and the beauty of its voice.
Don't miss any of the Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy.
©2002 Kate Constable; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
"An impressive debut by an author who clearly has much to contribute to the fantasy genre." (Booklist
Although I have been an Audible listener for several years, this is the first review I have written. (Shame on me!) Anyway, I was moved to write this review because this was, I think, the most enjoyable listening experience I have had so far!! Really! This book is Fantasy, which as a rule, I don't usually care for because I can't always "get into the setting", but this one was different. I could go on and on, but when someone is singing or chanting a spell, you hear it in the background. When they are on a boat, you hear the water splashing against the boat and the boat creaks. I was totally drawn into the story and was very sad when it was over THis is the first of a trilogy, so I will be eagerly awaiting the rest!!! I think everyone would enjoy the book, but women will especially enjoy the book because of the main character, a young woman who is very independant and strong. Many fantasies are "geared" more for men, I feel.
I found this to be fairly routine fantasy writing (not that this is a bad thing) - I was somehow reminded of Ursula K. LeGuin's "Wizard of Earthsea" books. The sound effects mentioned in the other review were an interesting addition - I'm not usually a fan of hearing anything but the narrator, but here they were not (generally) out of place. The narrator's voice is pleasant, and although the story lags in places and does not make for particularly challenging listening, it is a reasonably enjoyable tour through an interesting world of magic populated with likeable and realistic people.
This is the second time that I've tried and failed to finish listening to this audio book. It's too bad, because I'm sure it's a fine story, but the background sound effects are so distracting that both times I've found myself unable to follow the story when they are at their heaviest. I'm a great consumer of audio books and have had this one in my library for over a year, but can't seem to care enough about the story to stick with it. I don't think it's the quality of writing that's turning me off - it's the constant noise distraction.
Plus, the singing is incredibly discordant. It hurts my ears. It's not pleasant to listen to. My hope is that the producer either re-does this book without the background singing, or at the very least requires the singers to sing in the same key. As it is, the effect is like nails on a chalkboard.
I'm planning on buying this book and reading it. I have a feeling it's a nice fantasy story, if slightly cliche, and I'd like to experience the book as the author intended it to be experienced. I'm afraid I can only give the audio version two stars.
An enchanting story. The sound effects can be a little distracting at times but otherwise this was one of my favorites, fresh and interesting throughout.
Well I just read the previous two reviews, and for both listners the audio background effects(FX) were a plus. FOR ME it was a huge distraction. I had to restart this story thrice, and finally gave up. It's one thing to have a little bit of music to get you started and to wrap things up. But this never stops, The reader stops for long segments of time to let the FX continue. If they would JUST READ the book they might cut a hour or so off the length of the novel and be much more interesting. ALSO this is listed as unabridged, and the last time I opened a book, It didn't sing along. This should be noted to the reader better, maybe even as classed as dramatized. I hope the publisher reads this review and releases an actually UNABRIDGED version so I can hear the story an not a lot of lame FX I'm not into. The story seem interesting. (fix the sequels too if they also need de-FX'd)
I like happy endings and realism that is realistic rather than gritty.
Puns aside, the journey of Calwyn and her friends, discovering their world, using (and learning when not to use) their magic, is an engaging and thought-provoking story. The characters are complex in their backgrounds and motivations, and they make--and learn from--mistakes.
We could call this book secondary world young adult fantasy (the heroine is a 16-year-old girl), though the story also resonates with the 12+ group and with adults. Themes of racism, power/powerlessness, pen/sword, fight/negotiate, and stewardship can be found in the series, as well as friendship and coming-of-age.
There are places where I wish Kate Constable showed more and told less, mostly when it comes to character motivations and interactions. The world itself is presented very well, and the magic system is just cool. I love the play on words with "enchantment" and Chanters.
The Singer of All Songs audiobook is enhanced with actual singing in the background in scenes where the magic is sung--and it works really well--it really added to the book!
The book has violence and hardships, but they are handled gracefully--nothing too gory or explicit.
The first book works as a stand-alone, and it is lovely. The latter two books in the trilogy add depth to the characters and themes. I listened to the series a few years ago, and just listened to it again over a long car trip. I'm sure I'll come back to it in the future.
Very plausible vehicle for magic! The different tonal environments which motivate different elements of magic is not a totally new idea, but the way this author describes it is quite original. The story develops right away--the magic is described rather than explained. This is always a good thing for the progression of a story. This is not really supposed to be about the introspective development of a character or character trait, so the characters are only developed insofar as they need to be for the plot. The plot itself follows a familiar, somewhat predictable pattern, but that does not preclude the enjoyment of it. The attractive appeal of this book--and series--really is the world and its magical manipulation through vocal song.
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