Ruinsong by Julia Ember

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Her voice was her prison… Now it’s her weapon. In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence must choose between the two. For years, she has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding. But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.




When I found out about this book, I kind of felt like I’d fallen off something. A queer book, a f/f book, where song is magic and a girl has been forced to do the bidding of a powerful and cruel queen, but she’s reunited with her childhood friend. And that friend has ties to a rebellion. Yes, and the cover in all it’s purple glory just cemented everything for me. I was very, very eager to give this book a shot. Trigger warnings: violent animal deaths, torture, blood

This book had a lot of good things in it. But, there were also some things that I wasn’t the biggest fan of. I didn’t hate, but I also didn’t end up falling totally in love with.

The pacing was the biggest thing that was off for me. To me, the whole book read like exposition. The whole book had a feeling of waiting on the edge, of things just about to happen. I was actually surprised to find myself in the middle of the book when the pace made it seem like things were still being set up. It was a weird feeling and I think it made the book fly by way too fast for me. Or maybe it just didn’t make the story progressions feel concrete enough for me.

The writing though was something I enjoyed. While it might have moved a bit too fast for my personal tastes, I did enjoy reading it. It was light and it sort of moved along like a breeze. I know that’s a weird way to describe it, but it was enjoyable to experience.

One of my favorite things about this book was the class dynamics. Nobles are hated because the queen had horrible experience with one of them. Now they are treated poorly and submitted to a horrible experience once a year, but they still have all the money and more they need to support themselves. Then there’s the commoners, hard workers and the queen thinks they’re the backbone of the country. There’s also mages, able perform magic through song, employed to the queen. The way these factions interact and how the power dynamics and are totally unique to this story was fascinating to see. To see the people who are usually at the top of society, keep their titles and their wealth, but be treated so poorly was seriously something to see. It was extremely well woven and written.

I enjoyed the characters. Cadence is guilt ridden and a powerful mage. She’s forced by the queen to do horrible things. Though I would have liked to see her blossom more, I did like her POV. She’s human. Remi was also really great. Fierce, stubborn, and a bit wild.

I feel like the pace didn’t leave enough room for a ton of character development to happen. I would have liked to see more of the relationships across the board. To see of a more slow burn between Cadence and the queen, to see Cadence and Remi really start to come together. But things moved so quickly and I feel like there could have been to all the characters.

The magic system was interesting. Magic comes from song and different people can perform different kinds of magic. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a series and I’m very eager to see where this aspect goes. Because I think there’s a lot more too it and lot hidden underneath what was shown in this book.

I didn’t love the ending. It felt more rushed than the rest of book. It sort of felt like it was trying to wrap things up like this was a standalone, though with the possibility to be more books. I would have liked things to be more open ended because it made everything seem a bit forced.

All in all, this book was pretty good. There were some things I didn’t like about it, but there were plenty of things I did like about it as well! If you’re looking for a book with unique class dynamics, a sweet f/f romance, a cruel queen, and magic system made of song, then this is the book for you!

Ruinsong comes out November 24, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!


2 thoughts on “Ruinsong by Julia Ember

  1. thank you for the trigger warnings! this cover is really interesting and the synopsis sounds AMAZINGGGGG but I can’t do with violent animal deaths. It makes me sick to my stomach. I hate when people don’t put those warnings out so I go into the book blind! It’s the worst. I’m glad you seemed to have enjoyed this for the most part. I might have to sit this one out. 😦

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

    Liked by 1 person

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