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Adam Stemple

Adam Stemple Adam Stemple is a musician, and son of award-winnng fantasy author Jane Yolen. Mr. Stemple keeps fans updated at his blog.

Singer of Souls: Simply a wonderful little fantasy novel

Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple

Singer of Souls is simply a wonderful little fantasy novel. It's especially impressive when you take into account that this is Adam Stemple's first adult novel (he previously collaborated with his mother, author Jane Yolen, on children's music books).

The story follows Douglas, a Minneapolis street musician who is addicted to heroin. Trying to get clean, he decides to go to Scotland (where his grandmother lives) to try and make a fresh start. In Scotland, Douglas makes a living as a street performer. His street act involves improvising lyrics about passers-by — creating a song about them on the fly. When performing in Edinburgh, one of the fey folk approaches him, and so Douglas discovers that he has special powers.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel. ... Read More

Steward of Song: Not as good as the first

Steward of Song by Adam Stemple

Steward of Song is the sequel to Singer of Souls, an excellent and original urban fantasy novel by Adam Stemple. I enjoyed the first novel very much, but unfortunately wasn't as impressed with this sequel. Singer of Souls had a great narrative curve, building up the plot and the tension very carefully, from a slow start to a gradual exposition to an explosive climax. I simply couldn't put it down. Steward of Songmaintains more or less the same pace all through the story, making this a less compulsive read.

Steward of Song also uses several points of view rather than the single POV of the first book: the story alternately focuses on Bridie and Scott, two siblings of Douglas (who was the protagonist of the first book). Until the very end of the nov... Read More

Trollbridge: A fun, quirky read…

Trollbridge by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple

Trollbridge is a quirky collaboration between a mother/son team: author Jane Yolen and musician Adam Stemple.

An amalgamation of the fairytales "Three Billy Goats Gruff" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (with a bit of Scandinavian folklore thrown in for good measure), it involves chapters that alternate between driven music protégée Moira Darr and trio of brothers Galen, Jakob and Erik Griffson, a burgeoning boy-band who have managed to wrangle a weekend away from their stage-managing parents. At different points each group arrives at a bridge in the small Minnesotan town of Vanderby: first Moira, who is among the annual Dairy Princesses chosen to have their likenesses carved into butter sculptures (a real Minnesota tradition) and then the Griffson brothers, enjoying the freedom from their overbearing father.
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The Last Tsar’s Dragons: Less than the sum of its parts

The Last Tsar’s Dragons by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple

The Last Tsar’s Dragons (2019) is frustrating, both as a reading exercise and in retrospect, when I think about how universally lauded Jane Yolen is and that Adam Stemple, her son, is a well-regarded author in his own right. So take a master storyteller and her progeny, begin with the political tar pit that was the Russian court in the last days of the Romanovs, and add revolutionaries and literal fire-breathing dragons into the mix…

What should, by all expectations, be a fascinating story meanders between various viewpoints, skips through its timeline with no clear indications as to when events are occurring with relation to one another, and makes absol... Read More

More speculative fiction by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple

The Seelie Wars — (2013-2014) Ages 8 and up. Publisher: Snail and Prince Aspen are unlikely companions. Snail is a midwife’s apprentice; Aspen is a prince held hostage to prevent a war. Due to a series of misunderstandings, the two find themselves on the run, having adventure after mishap after scary, fast-paced escape. When they reach Aspen’s kingdom, they learn to their horror that their actions have divided the country and plunged it into violence. Every minute counts: it is time for Snail and Aspen to figure out a way to stop the building war — together.

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