The Songkeeper Chronicles series / by Gillian Bronte Adam. 3.15.2019

Songkeeper / by Gillian Bronte Adam. (The Songkeeper Chronicles, 2)

Enclave ISBN 9781621840695

Song of Leira / by Gillian Bronte Adam. (The Songkeeper Chronicles, 3)

Enclave ISBN 9781683700869

YA Grades 6-8 Rating: 5

Gilliam Bronte Adams continues her young adult fantasy series featuring the requisite orphan heroine, grouchy adult figure, mythical creatures, and allegorical references to Christianity.

In Songkeeper, young Songkeeper Birdie and former street thief Ky are captives on a slave ship, and Amos manages to eventually rescue them. Ky leads his Underground friends to safety while Birdie goes on a journey to a mysterious spring that only the Songkeeper can unleash to defeat the final darkness. But Birdie faces doubts about her abilities and her role. Her capture by the Takhran causes her to face her greatest fear: she is powerless and the Song is silent. Will her friends–her protectors–be casualties in the battle with Takhran? What awaits them all?

In Song of Leira, Birdie retreats into the mountainside after her journey into the Pit and the battle that ensued. The casualty count was high, and she sang many to their final rest. This strengthens her resolve to fight evil, despite the cost, rebuilding hope in many. Ky enlists Birdie’s aid to free the captives from the slave camps, but Takhran has singers of his own leading his army. When all looks darkest, Birdie answers the final call.

Adams’ well-developed world includes colorful characters and incredible creatures. Her second book has several plot twists and ends on a cliffhanger. Unlike some trilogies, this middle book doesn’t suffer from being just a bridge between the first and third book–it is strongly written and darker than the first book, with appropriate violence. The third book is also tightly written, complete with a final battle. Birdie has grown tremendously since the first book, as has Adams’ writing. Birdie recognizes that the Master Singer has everything in control, even when things don’t make sense. Birdie and Ky respond by putting one foot in front of the other, continuing to do what they have been called to do–to “fight the good fight.”

Recommended for high school libraries, young adults, and fantasy fans. Songkeeper won the Gold Medal, The Illumination Awards in 2017.

Carol R. Gehringer,

Earlier Series Titles Reviewed by CLJOrphan’s Song (Jul/Aug/Sep 2017).