Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld (or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he'll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can't see him for what he really is.
Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.
Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village—a storyteller who'll be chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and she'll risk her life to take it.
The story of a girl who yearns for freedom, a boy determined to be more than what's expected of him, and the desperate journey that will leave them both forever changed.
Though YA Fantasy is not always my first choice in reading material, I am quickly becoming a fan, and books like Lena Goldfinch’s Songstone is one reason why. In just a few well-written paragraphs, Goldfinch captured my interest and made me concerned for the plight of little Kita. Matiko is a satisfyingly evil villain, and the threat to Kita feels sufficiently real to drive the story forward. Pono’s arrival adds another element to an already imaginative tale, and I found myself hurrying toward the end, just to see what clever solution Goldfinch was able to dream up. I was not disappointed. I give Goldfinch’s latest offering a hearty thumbs up!
Review by Elizabeth Ludwig
(E-book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest opinion.)
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