Song of Blood & Stone: Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One Kindle Edition by L. Penelope Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope fantasy book reviewsSong of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Originally, L. Penelope published Song of Blood & Stone under her own publishing house, Heartspell. In 2016, it earned attention from the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO), where a team of prominent fantasy book bloggers evaluate 300 enlisted fantasy titles and review the very best of them. Song of Blood & Stone was so popular St. Martin’s Press picked it up and is now publishing it mainstream with a few changes.

This book is a self-made success. L. Penelope sent it out into a massive vat stuffed with dross and chaff and it rose organically out of obscurity because readers loved it. And I’m torn, because I want to champion it, too, but I’m sorry, I can’t do it.

Song of Blood & Stone is a story about a mixed race heroine, who wields magic in the form of “earth song” in a world divided by a magic veil. Government on one side allows magic (with reservation) and the other side finds a way to siphon it away, ultimately enslaving and exploiting its possessors.

There is an interesting refugee component to the book, but it doesn’t shine. The author props it up — I think unsuccessfully — on the back of a sweet, but unoriginal and not compelling, fairytale romance. The result is a mediocre story that resorts to cheap devices to pull the reader through.

I’m not saying L. Penelope can’t write. Song of Blood & Stone easily clears the bar for mainstream publishing quality prose. The story is cohesive and highly readable, but L. Penelope didn’t really love at least half of her tale. Her prologue showed a lot of promise, but she didn’t follow through. Ultimately undemanding, fairytale adoring readers will love this book and the mixed race heroine adds a little bit of freshness, but I have to wonder what Penelope might have done if she really set her plot to serious rigor. The talent is there and I look forward to seeing future work.

I don’t usually spoil, but I have to ask, HIGHLIGHT HERE TO SEE SPOILER: Did anyone else notice the obvious real life parallel to a certain ginger haired, military serving No. 2 royal?

Publication date: May 1, 2018. L. Penelope’s Song of Blood & Stone is a treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save the land and to uncover the secrets of the Queen Who Sleeps. Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


  • Taya Okerlund

    TAYA OKERLUND's first career was in public service in the federal government. She previously lived in Japan and China and speaks both Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. More recently, she authored YA novel Hurricane Coltrane (WiDo, 2015) and currently reads and writes in spare moments between therapy runs and child rearing heroics.