Hello everyone! I hope you’re doing well! I’ve had a busy few days recently – I just turned 24 and I’ve been out and about visiting places and, of course, buying new books – so apologies that this is a day later than anticipated! Today I’m here with my review of Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley – a really fun sapphic fantasy standalone – as part of the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour! As usual, I’m so excited to be a part of this and I highly recommend checking out the other amazing posts too! But without any further ado, here’s the review!
Title: Sofi and the Bone Song
Author: Adrienne Tooley
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT+, Young Adult
Synopsis: In this gorgeous, queer standalone fantasy, a young musician sets out to expose her rival for illegal use of magic only to discover the deception goes deeper than she could have imagined—perfect for fans of An Enchantment of Ravens!
Music runs in Sofi’s blood.
Her father is a Musik, one of only five musicians in the country licensed to compose and perform original songs. In the kingdom of Aell, where winter is endless and magic is accessible to all, there are strict anti-magic laws ensuring music remains the last untouched art.
Sofi has spent her entire life training to inherit her father’s title. But on the day of the auditions, she is presented with unexpected competition in the form of Lara, a girl who has never before played the lute. Yet somehow, to Sofi’s horror, Lara puts on a performance that thoroughly enchants the judges.
Almost like magic.
The same day Lara wins the title of Musik, Sofi’s father dies, and a grieving Sofi sets out to prove Lara is using illegal magic in her performances. But the more time she spends with Lara, the more Sofi begins to doubt everything she knows about her family, her music, and the girl she thought was her enemy.
As Sofi works to reclaim her rightful place as a Musik, she is forced to face the dark secrets of her past and the magic she was trained to avoid—all while trying not to fall for the girl who stole her future.
Sofi and the Bone Song is Adrienne Tooley’s sophomore stand-alone YA novel which follows Sofi who has trained her whole life to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a revered Musik – one of the only people in the land able to compose and play songs on her preferred instrument, the lute. However, on the day that the choice is made as to who is to replace her father, despite Sofi’s technically perfect performance, a beautiful girl who has never even held a lute in her hands – Lara – sweeps into the audition, somehow gaining the title of Musik. That same night, Sofi’s father is found dead. Desperate for answers and to gain the title she feels she is entitled to, Sofi travels alongside Lara across the country as she performs in various inns, and discovers more about herself than she ever thought that she would.
Since her debut release, I have been dying to read Adrienne Tooley’s words, and I’m so glad I was finally able to! This is a vibrant and exciting YA novel that features some of the most intriguing characters I’ve read about in a while, as well as a slow-burn hate to love sapphic romance.
I really enjoyed Tooley’s world building and her creation of the Kingdom of Aell – a land shrouded in permanent winter with heavy regulations on the use of magic. I think she did a wonderful job of drawing the reader into Sofi and Lara’s world and the iciness – both literal and metaphorical – that surrounded them. I also really loved Sofi and Lara as main characters and the juxtaposition between them both – Sofi is unflinching and loyal to her love of music, it is what she cares most about and will let nothing get in her way of her achievements, whereas Lara is soft where Sofi is all hard lines, she believes in herself and in love and won’t let the harshness of everlasting winter get to her. As well as that, they complimented each other so well – they are both so strong-willed and passionate and I really did love them together. Alongside that, Adrienne Tooley also managed to get me to care for the side characters, even though we didn’t see a whole lot of them throughout the book (and the casual queer rep throughout was so great!).
That being said, I did think that, despite the romance being slowburn, there needed to be more time spent on the friendship in between the hate and the love parts of it. As the reader it felt like for a good three-quarters of the book there was a sense of dislike, albeit one-sided, between the characters, then there was maybe 60 pages or so of friendship and then all of a sudden, romance. It didn’t feel like enough and as a friends-to-lovers supremacist, I needed more!
I was also a little sceptical at times that this book needed to be a duology for the amount that Adrienne Tooley wanted to explore, but upon finishing the novel, I think that a standalone was perfect for the story! As the synopsis states, I do think that this is perfect for fans of An Enchantment of Ravens, and I also think that those who loved The Flames of Albiyon and The Winter Duke will also really enjoy Sofi’s story!
Overall, this was a really exciting and fun read, and I loved how music and magic weaved into this sapphic fantasy story. I can well and truly say that I am a fan of Adrienne Tooley’s writing and I’m already excited to get started on her debut novel!
About the Author
Adrienne Tooley (she/her) was born and raised in the desert suburbs of Southern California. She grew up in the theater, earning her B.A. in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. She and her wife currently live in New York City where she works in hospitality tech. In addition to writing novels she is also a singer/songwriter and has released several EPs which are available on Spotify & other streaming sites. Her debut novel, SWEET & BITTER MAGIC, is out now from S&S/McElderry. Her second novel, SOFI AND THE BONE SONG, will release from S&S/McElderry in 2022. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @adriennetooley.