Songlines by Carolyn Denman
Genre: Clean YA Fantasy
Publication Date: August 20, 2016 by Odyssey Books
‘We belong to the Earth, Lainie-Bug. We were sent here in human form for a reason. If you don’t know what to do, then just be human.’
Right. Like that was ever a simple thing to do.
In the heart of the Wimmera region of Victoria, an ancient gateway to Eden is kept hidden and safe by a creature so powerful that even the moon would obey her commands – at least it would if she had any idea that she wasn’t just a normal girl about to finish high school.
When a mining company begins exploratory sampling near Lainie’s sheep farm, a family secret is revealed that makes her regret not having learnt more about her Indigenous heritage.
What she’s told by their farmhand, Harry – an Aboriginal elder – can’t possibly be true, but then the most irritating guy in class, Bane, begins to act even more insanely toward her than ever, until she can no longer deny that something very unusual is going on.
When Harry doesn’t return from his quest to seek help to protect the area from the miners, Lainie sets out to discover the truth of her heritage, and of the secret she’s been born to protect.
My spoiler-free review:
Songlines is the first book in the Sentinels of Eden series by Carolyn Denman. It was one of the most unique YA fantasy books I’ve read in a while!! It is set in the beautiful Australian countryside, and it’s full of bright, original characters that I just couldn’t get enough of! I must admit that I was skeptical after reading the synopsis, but I was pleasantly surprised, and I ended up rating this book 4.25/5 stars!!
Songlines was written by an Australian author and takes place in Australia itself, and several of the characters have Aboriginal ancestry. This was very interesting to me, since I live in the US and known next to nothing about Australia. I love that the characters and setting were different from what I usually read!
This story was VERY character-driven. It was a little slow and focused more on world-building and character development. The characters and the relationships they had with each other is what made me really fall in love with the story! I was so emotional at the end of the novel for so many reasons because I’d grown so attached to these characters!
The main character, Lainie Gracewood,is independent, driven, and had a very strong sense of right and wrong. Her best friend, Noah, is so fun and full of personality, and I love that he remained beside Lainie through everything. Tessa seemed so weak and girly at first, but she’s an incredibly brave character and has such a huge heart for people. Bane was amazing as well – he really grew a lot as a character and I loved him!!
As for the plot, I’m a Christian, so I’m very familiar with the Garden of Eden and the story of Adam and Eve’s sin.I love how the author took the story of the Garden of Eden and used it to make a very intriguing world and plot. She did not alter the story from the Bible; she just added onto it to create a YA fantasy that has elements of Christianity in it but that can still be enjoyed by readers from any religion. It took me a while to get used to the concept, but once I did, I really enjoyed it! It’s so unique!
The plot was so interesting!! There were times where it was slow, but these slow plot moments were necessary, and they were constructed in a way that built up the storyline to the next intense scene. It wasn’t a story full of action scenes or anything, but there were so many moments that had me gasping in surprise!! Carolyn Denman is a very talented writer. The only writing critique I have is that her writing could be a little confusing at times and not completely clear as to what was going on.
Also, THAT ENDING! I was NOT expecting it!! This is one of those times where I want to spoil everything so bad…
Of course, that ending left me desperately wanting to read the next book! So, I went right to Barnes and Noble and bought the second eBook. I can’t wait to read it!
As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book! I’m so grateful for the privilege to review it for this blog tour!! I highly recommend it if you’re wanting a beautiful YA fantasy novel with some characters that you will NOT forget! I have a feeling that when people ask me for some of my favorite underrated YA novels, this one will be on my list!
I hope you enjoyed my bookish babblings (they really are babblings, because I feel like this review is all over the place 😊), and happy reading!!
Carolyn Denman lives on a hobby farm on the outskirts of Melbourne with her husband, two daughters, and her parents. The fact that she always has at least three of her pets following her around at any one time in no way means that she is the fairest in the land. They probably just like her taste in music. As well as writing stories for Aurealis and Andromeda Spaceways magazines, Carolyn is also the author of the YA Australian fantasy series The Sentinels of Eden.
Author’s website: http://carolyndenman.com/
Blog Tour Organized by YA Bound Book Tours: http://yaboundbooktours.blogspot.com/