Review: Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Format: Hardcover
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 336 pages
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
A young soprano enrolls in a remote music academy where nothing, not even her mysterious young vocal coach, is as it seems. Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right. Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school's production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary? Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there. Lyrical, gothic, and magical, Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule will captivate and enchant readers.

I was so excited to begin reading Strange Sweet Song. With its gorgeous cover and interesting synopsis that, not only promised mystery and magic, but also music and danger, I was ready to be whisked away from my dull and stressful reality and delve into a world different from my own. Now, having finished the book, I'm happy to say that Strange Sweet Song more than delivered: its great writing, amazing characters, and fascinating plot made it just the escape I needed, and its now one of my favorite novels.

What really drew me to Strange Sweet Song was its setting in a private, highly-selective school for young, hugely-talented musicians. I've always loved music and singing and I really admire those who are passionate and talented in their artistic fields, so such a setting really appealed to my interests. So as I read Strange Sweet Song, I never felt bored by the plot and/or characters. In fact, I was very addicted to reading the novel, so much that I was able to finish it within a week, which is a huge accomplishment for a slow reader like me. The great writing style of the author Adi Rule was especially helpful, for it flowed so nicely that, as I read, I barely registered turning the pages. Also, despite my preference for first-person narration, the focused third-person in Strange Sweet Song was executed well enough for me not to be bothered by it too much.

I absolutely adored the characters in Strange Sweet Song--and brownie points for all of them for being such passionate and talented singers and musicians. I enjoyed meeting and befriending (more or less, depending on their motives) each and every one of the characters, most particularly Sing, her friends Marta, Jenny, and (to an extent, although I can't explain why without spoiling the novel) Zhin, and her love interest, who shall not be named for the sake of not spoiling the book. Sing's insecurity was so deep, I had a hard time trying to relate and sympathize with her sadness. However, this didn't hinder me from enjoying the novel and caring for Sing's character, and as Sing continued to question herself and those around her and grew and changed into someone stronger and braver, I fully supported her and rooted for her all throughout the book. I was glad to see that Sing had such great friends as she did, for they were all each charming, intelligent, and quirky in their own way. I really saw that Marta, Jenny, and Zhin each reflected a part of Sing's character that Sing herself struggled to understand and cope with, and her development through her association with them, as well as her love interest and the other minor characters, was very moving. As for the romance of the novel, I must say that I absolutely loved its very gradual development, and the moments between Sing and He-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named were so sweet.

In all, Strange Sweet Song was a fantastic read that I greatly enjoyed. Its appealing plot, characters, and writing made it the ideal read for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who also loves music and/or mystery with a touch of magic, however, it can be a bit of a slow read for those who like their highly-suspenseful and action-packed stories. Otherwise, Strange Sweet Song is a great novel that lives up to the tone and feel set up in its synopsis.


  1. It sounds very interesting. I love when characters have a hobby they're really passionate about. Music is something I like, and I know it means a lot for so many people so combining that with some magical touches and great characters is intriguing.

    Thanks for the review!


  2. Ooh, great haul this week!! Most of them are new to me, but I'm curios about them! I hope you enjoy them all!

    Thanks for stopping by my STS @ Addicted Readers! :)

  3. Ditto what P.E. said. Also, we had heard about this book a loooong time ago, from an editorial assistant who wanted to acquire it, so we've been curious and waiting to see what people think. Glad to know it's such an enjoyable read! We'll definitely check it out.


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