Book Review: Sing Sweet Nightingale
By: Erica Cameron
Published By: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Page Count: 369
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy/Paranormal
It's not often that a paranormal novel can take me completely by surprise. There are so many things like witches and vampires that have been done numerous times. While I still enjoy witch and vampire novels, I do find that they are often predictable. It's always nice to find something that feels fresh - especially in the paranormal world. Sing Sweet Nightingale did have some predictable moments, but I found those largely existed within the way the characters interacted with one another while the paranormal spin truly felt innovative.
Sing Sweet Nightingale has a multiple narrators. I always find that when this is done well, it is a compelling narrative technique and allows me to form a deeper attachment to the characters. This was certainly true for this novel. While I did find myself gravitating more towards Hudson that Mariella, I did enjoy them both.
Hudson has always been misunderstood and under-appreciated by his parents. What they view as constantly getting into altercations with others is really his attempt to rescue people from dangerous situations. Hudson has no idea why he seems to stumble upon violence, but he does feel compelled to put an end to it. His lover's heart and fighter's fists often get him to trouble, but when it leads to the death of his brother, Hudson realizes that someone else may be pulling the strings and using him as a pawn in their deadly game.
Meanwhile, Mariella hasn't spoken in years outside of a dream world that is a sort of paradise for her. It comes complete with a handsome guy who makes her feel beautiful and loved. She doesn't mind that in her waking hours she cannot speak. She promised her beloved after all. But what if the man of her dreams means her harm?
Hudson and Mariella have more in common than they ever could have imagined. The two will be thrown together by fate and their adventures will provide many chills and thrills.
While I did enjoy many aspects of this one (largely the paranormal aspects), I did find that the beginning was a bit tedious. The information was crucial to setting up this world, but I did get overwhelmed and bored from time to time. When these moments set in, I found myself putting this one down for a bit and picking it back up later. Again, there is a lot of world building at the beginning and I always find this tedious. This is certainly a major case of it's not you, it's me. I do struggle with focusing on fantasy novels that spend a lot of time front loading the structure of their imaginary realms. I did find the dream realm intriguing, but I wish that I had learned about it more gradually as the story unfolded. The pacing just felt a bit off to me. In the end, I was so glad I stuck with this one because the middle and then ending are fabulous!
I think the characters and the Balasura lore are what truly make this novel stand out. I loved that Hudson and Mariella are not perfect people; they both have some major flaws and issues to work through as the story progresses. The supporting characters were also well written and likable. I won't speak on the lore because it's truly best if you experience it firsthand.
All in all, Erica Cameron has crafted an imaginative world that lured me in with its danger, friendship, and the quest to belong. I'm excited to see how this series will move forward in the next novel.
One Last Gripe: It took awhile for me to settle into this one - particularly Mariella's segments.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: the lore
First Sentence: I hate this park.
Favorite Character: Hudson
Least Favorite Character: Calease
Mariella Teagen hasn't spoken a word in four years.
She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.
Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.
Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.
Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella's life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.