I am back with my favourite genre, fantasy, today as I join the blog tour for Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao today. Many thanks to Amélie and Harper Voyager for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonisers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and spends her days scavenging for remnants of the past. For anything that might help her understand the strange marl burned into her arm by her mother, in her last act before she died.
No one can see the mysterious mark, an untranslatable Hin character, except Lan. Until the night a boy appears at the teahouse and saves her life.
Zen is a practitioner – one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdon, whose abilities were rumoured to be drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Magic to be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.
Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep with. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world.
One of the reasons I love fantasy books so much is that they offer pure escapism from everyday life. A well-crafted fantasy novel makes the real world just melt away, and re-entering that world can sometimes be a bit of a jolt. This was certainly the case with Song of Silver, Flame Like Night, and actually I was pleased I finished it late one night, so that I could just go straight to sleep and delay my trip back to reality for a little longer.
The world building in this book is phenomenal with centuries of history, gods, Demons, and two distinct magic systems. I would love to see how Amélie achieved this without getting tied up in knots. Each chapter uncovers a new layer, carefully revealing all of this glorious detail as Lan learns more about the world around her.
Zen makes for an endearing hero, torn between loyalty to his school and protecting Lan, whilst keeping his own secrets hidden. I really enjoyed watching the relationship between these characters grow throughout the book – the way they interact with each other is just beautiful and took me through the entire spectrum of emotion.
To my shame, I know next to nothing about Chinese culture or the mythology and folklore of China, and I admit I was worried that I would feel like I was missing something while reading this book, but that was not the case at all, and in fact it has just left me wanting to learn more (and very much looking forward to the next instalment!).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amélie (yes, like the movie!) has adored putting pen to paper since she was in kindergarten. Born in Paris and raised in a multicultural community in Beijing, Amélie has bone-deep love for traveling and immersing herself in new worlds and cultures. She lives in New York City, working as a full-time financial professional by day, and writer at night.
She hopes to empower young readers with messages of acceptance, strength, and courage through her works, and to continue to push the boundaries of young adult literature by exploring new, cross-cultural themes.
Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for this magical book.