It’s my turn on the Blogtour Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao. The first in the Song of the Last Kingdom
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 a 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. Follow @ameliewenzhao on Twitter, Visit ameliezhao.com
About the book
Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers 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 mark 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 Kingdom, 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 within. 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
This is the first book in the Song of the Last Kingdom series and it’s a humdinger of a read. Nuanced, intricate and if read with enough context that has seeped into the fabric of the story and the characters it becomes an extravaganza.
The theme of colonisation is ingrained in this story of magic and demons. The way cultures, societies and people lose their entire identity when they are consumed whole by oppressors. Lan knows what it’s like to hide in plain sight, whilst the power of the oppressors squeezes the life and soul out of everyone and everything that doesn’t conform. It’s poignant, beautifully plotted and written.
Personally I don’t think Lan needs a romance to be character she was intended to be. Lan can grow, evolve and lead without the necessity of what some may consider a core must when the majority of readers will lean towards YA. Deliver Lan as the strong character they are and will continue to be going forward with a bit of Zen on the side. Taking this a slight step away from the constraints of YA and deeper into higher fantasy will probably take this series and the author up a notch.
I do think it’s important to step away from fantasy aspect for a second, then re-enter the worldbuilding of this story from a historical and mythological angle, and envelop yourself with the fantasy weaving the elements together. It’s a way to give the complex worldbuilding the justice it deserves – aside from that the author is cracking writer. I loved it and can’t wait for the next in the series.
Buy Song of Silver, Flame Like Night at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Voyager: pub date 2 February 2023│HB│EB│EA. Buy at Amazon com. Buy via Harper Collins.