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READ PDF Ý Songs of the Earth à Gair Is Under A Death SentenceHe Can Hear Music Music With Power And In The Holy City That Means Only One Thing He S A Witch, And He S Going To Be Burnt At The Stake Even If He Could Escape, The Church Knights And Their Witchfinder Would Be Hot On His Heels While His Burgeoning Power Threatens To Tear Him Apart From WithinThere Is No Hope None, But A Secretive Order, Themselves Persecuted Almost To Destruction If Gair Can Escape, If He Can Master His Own Growing, Dangerous Abilities, If He Can Find The Guardians Of The Veil, Then Maybe He Will Be Safe Or Maybe He Ll Discover That His Fight Has Only Just Begun Songs of the Earth is another great 2011 debut Harkening back to a traditional fantasy feel, it made me feel warm and comfy in its pages It felt both familiar and new, as there is a sort of Chosen One feel about its protagonist Gair, but nobody comes out and says it There is no prophecy he has to follow, no magical McGuffin to help him complete a quest It really isn t a prophecy driven book instead it s just good old school epic fantasy, in my opinion.The world building in Songs of the Earth is fantastic What really stood out for me were the pieces of scripture Ms Cooper created for the Eadorian Church They give an authentic and well rounded feel to at least the Church side of this culture and through some of the chapters featuring Ansel and some of Gair s discussions with Darin on Church history we get an even well rounded view The same can be said of Ms Cooper s magic system This too is well rounded, though still mysterious, with little of the actual mechanics of the magic revealed All we really know it s song based everything has its own musical signature and not everyone gifted with the ability to hear the Song, has the same aptitudes or strength in the powers at play I d love to see some details on the mechanics, but that s just because I love that sort of thing Another strong point is the different nationalities and races found in the book While the world of Songs of the Earth seems in a large part Western European inspired, with its Northmen and Leahn, who feel somewhat Scandinavian in appearance and a religion which seems to have some familiarity with the Christian one, there are other cultures out there, such as the Southern desert peoples where Aysha came from, the sea elves Masen encounters and the Astolan people, with their White Court and long lived people And before you say, oh no elves, let me stress that what I particularly loved about the Astolan is how they are introduced into the narrative without even any emphasis on any link to elves Ms Cooper even has Tanith joke about it, when they discuss inaccurate Astolan descriptions in literature, telling Gair about Astolan ears Completely unpointed, as you can see That line definitely made me chuckle out loud.Besides great world building, Cooper also manages to people her book with interesting characters Gair is a great protagonist, somewhat naive, but definitely not stupid or too innocent for his age I really liked his development he grows up over the course of the novel from a somewhat naive young man to someone who has accepted the blows life has dealt him and risen above them By the end of the book, Gair has a purpose and goal he wants to reach with his life and, though it might not be the wisest or most rational desire, I m sure following him as he tries to attain his goal is going to be interesting As stated above, there is a hint of the Chosen one about Gair and Alderan is the wise one to Gair s Chosen one He is the character who knows where Gair needs to go and what s next, but at the same time he is shown to be fallible and admits it ungrudgingly I liked the school setting of Chapterhouse where Alderan takes Gair, though we see remarkably little of Gair s education Instead of focusing on Gair s lessons, Ms Cooper chooses to focus on Gair s interactions and relationships with his fellow students, such as Darin, Arlin and Sorchal, and some of the Masters, such as Aysha, swords master Harlan, and Tanith, one of the healers I loved the friendship Gair forms with Darin and the rapport he builds with Tanith But I loved his relationship with Aysha the most Both because I m an incurable romantic and because, like Gair himself at first, I kept getting the feeling that it wasn t right, that it would mean trouble, but at the same time seeing how he made Aysha blossom, it was hard to resist the pairing.A storyline completely separate from Gair s was that of Preceptor Ansel and Chaplain Dalinor In their scenes we get to see some of the machinations within the Church and perhaps some of the motivations of its key players as well They made me think the Church wasn t all bad especially in the latter part of the book where Church politics came to the fore Ansel s and Dalinor s scenes were very enjoyable These are very clever and devious men, who need to defeat even devious opponents I truly adored the last scenes where we see them and I hope we will see of them in the next book along with the Lord Provost and Selsen.If I have to have one complaint, it s a minor one some elements were a little telegraphed For example, the trinket used by the bad guys to get an in inside Chapterhouse While I didn t know exactly what was wrong with it, I did know there was something wrong with it and so its ultimate role didn t come as a surprise Similarly, I knew Aysha s and Gair s relationship wouldn t end well, even if I didn t know why wouldn t end well In any case, the way this was resolved had me crying my eyes out, so knowing that something will probably happen, doesn t mean it won t have impact Besides, I can t help but think that part of the telegraphing is due to that sense of familiarity I mentioned before Songs of the Earth fits in a long standing fantasy tradition and as such some elements and tropes are bound to be familiar And this isn t a bad thing, as long as tropes don t become clich , but, for me, Ms Cooper never crossed that line Songs of the Earth is a book which made me both laugh and cry It made for compelling reading I whipped through it in sessions of 100 pages a sitting and just couldn t put it down The morning before I finished it I was bemoaning the fact I had to go to work as I wanted to finish the book I came home sat down and didn t emerge until I d finished While I may have been late in reading this first instalment of The Wild Hunt, I m sure I won t be as tardy with book two, Trinity Moon Its release date in April is too far away If you haven t done so yet, be sure to pick up a copy of this wonderful d but Christmas presents are just around the corner as it s one of the stronger ones of the year. I ve only been reading fantasy for about five years now I did read all of Tolkien s works and The Chronicles of Narnia when I was younger, but it wasn t until I read Christopher Paolini s Eragon that I got into the genre Then I read books like Naomi Novik s Temeraire, Robert Jordan s The Wheel of Time, Brandon Sanderson s Mistborn, James Clemens Banned and Banished, and Raymond E Feist s Riftwar Very different titles, yet all of them have two things in common they are all epic stories, and all have a very clear division of good and evil with straightforward protagonists to love and identify with.Conventional fantasyIt s been a while since I last read one of this type of book I used to love so very much Until I came across Elspeth Cooper s debut Songs of the Earth, first in a trilogy titled The Wild Hunt, that is The premise promises an interesting and original novel about a young man named Gair who lives in a Holy City and hears music with magic power Because of this, the church calls him a witch and he is sentenced to death When his situation seems hopeless, he hears of a secret order of magicians who may take him in If only he can manage to escape his execution.While I wouldn t call this premise inaccurate, Songs of the Earth soon takes a turn to the conventional epic fantasy genre The promised hopeless execution never happens Instead, Gair is banished early in the story and meets a mysterious man, Alderan, who takes him on a journey to the secretive order called the Guardians of the Veil From there, the story evolves in a predictable fashion The Veil that the order guards is a magic wall holding back a nation of evil creatures, and Gair is nothing less than a super magician who will need to learn how to use his magic in order to save the world.Lack of substanceAs I said, I used to love books like Songs of the Earth I used to marvel in the conventions of the epic genre, loving a good prophesied hero who would save his world from certain doom and would challenge the evil gods themselves I still do like those kinds of stories, and Songs of the Earth was a particularly easy read Cooper s style of writing is very compelling and her prose is of high quality However, I found myself longing for depth If anything, Songs of the Earth is a shallow book, lacking substance.This lack of substance is evident in all aspects of the story, but it is most poignant in Cooper s world building Or rather, in the lack thereof From the very start, with the introduction of the church, it is clear that we are dealing with an organization highly inspired by medieval Catholics, and Cooper does nothing to lead us away from this Places visited on Gair and Alderan s journey are described but lack the detail to set them apart from each other, and with the lack of other types of world building, I was left with the impression that this world is nothing but medieval Europe with different names and magic.Undefined magicWith the lack of world building, this magic is the only interesting element of Cooper s world It also seems to be a promising and original magic system music that comes from the earth itself and can be used to perform magic Unfortunately, it soon turns out that the magic is just your regular power or force, and the music is nothing but a way for magicians to perceive that force What s , though the magic at first seems like a scientific system like that of Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson, I had the distinct feeling that Cooper didn t want her magic to be subject to any rules In the middle of the book, as Gair s abilities are tested, he suddenly shape shifts into a bird and flies away These scenes of flying were some of the best written scenes in the book along with the amazing swords fighting scenes but that use of the magic came as a complete surprise and makes no sense whatsoever compared to anything Cooper previously established about the magic While I understand that the surprise of it might add to the appeal of the story, to me it displays a lack of foreshadowing and direction That s unfortunate, because a musical force of nature magic system holds great potential.Stereotyped and awkwardAnother element that had much potential but was poorly executed are the characters in Songs of the Earth Articles on writing good characters often mention that your characters should be very identifiable individuals, but should do something unexpected and out of character every now and then I m quite certain Cooper has read these articles as well Her characters are stereotyped to the point that they become dull Of course, if you put a bunch of different stereotypes together, they are all quite unique However, they lack anything to make them interesting The out of character things that I mentioned were very blatant For example, Gair would spend the entire journey hating the church for what they did to him, but then he would suddenly and randomly quote scripture to Alderan On top of that, the dialogue in Songs of the Earth felt stiff and awkward.Why should you read this book With Songs of the Earth, Cooper has proven she knows her way around words The action scenes and pacing were extraordinarily good Unfortunately, Songs of the Earth lacks the substance to set it apart This book shows promise, but I found it lacking in most areas I expect fans of Christopher Paolini or Terry Goodkind might enjoy this read, but fans of George R.R Martin, Steven Erikson and Joe Abercrombie probably won t. On they like this book to Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, all I have to say to this is not even close In Name of the Wind the beautifully written words jump out at you and the dialog flowed smooth, here in Songs of the Earthnot so much Don t get me wrong, Songs of the Earth did have some sun through the clouds moments where a sentence shined or the dialog was witty but it s missing something I am a huge fan of British authors with Kate Griffin s Madness of Angels getting a five star rating and I loath to say it but I missed the crispness, the sharp wit that I find in British writing. The problem with being a poor book hoarder is that the library eventually wants their book back I still hadn t managed to get into it and all my the renewals were used up It was make or break time I sat down determined to get lost in Songs for a night.100 pages later and I realized why I hadn t been able to get into it There s nothing particularly wrong about Songs There s also nothing right either It s like a whole bunch of tropes went out for lunch and forgot to pay the check Everything in Songs has been done by someone else, usually better It did answer a question of mine Yes, it is possibly to have bunches of new to the reader description and still be boring Good to know.