One Book – Two Views: The Architect of Song

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Review from Sally:

The architect of song was not my cup of tea. Which makes me a bit of an oddity as there are lots of rave reviews around.

I just couldn’t connect to any of the characters and didn’t come to care about any of them. The writing was often very good – very descriptive, edgy, macabre and almost poetic in its lilt at times. The opening chapter just swept me in and I thought I was going to be in for a treat. Then, without warning, the writing turned silly and gushy – only to return to the original writing style. There was no continuity which annoyed me.

Set in Victorian times the author succumbed to the over the top gothic melodrama that seems to go hand in hand with this era – but was to angst ridden for me. And I felt that the romance part was just a little … well … odd and failed to convince me it was heartfelt. I am not a fan of Insta love at the best of times.

To be fair I gave up just before the half-way point as I just couldn’t get into the story. Maybe in the second half things improved – in fact it must of as there are some really good reviews.

Review from Serenity:

After making my was through Howard’s Splintered series, I loved what I saw and couldn’t wait to read another by her. Too bad this one just didn’t quite make it to the level of Splintered.

Set in the Victorian Era, The Architect of Song is the story of a deaf girl, Juliet, who falls in love with a ghost. Or does she? There is quite a bit of turmoil and angst in this book and I felt like it took away from the fabulously unique plot that Howard set up.

For one, Howard promotes this (here) as a story “comparable in pacing to gothic classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights”, but I respectfully have to disagree. Yes, there were some huge, amazing twists, but the story itself read like many other YA books out there. Which leads me to problem number two…

The only thing that makes this New Adult is the age of the protagonist. I didn’t feel like the sensuality level was any higher than her Splintered series (for a 16 year old, Alice gets into quite a few risque situations, but that’s another review). In fact, as far as the romance goes, I felt like the connection between Juliet and *ahem* the love interests just weren’t as compelling as I wanted them to be. I also didn’t feel like the writing level was any higher than a regular YA. I know the New Adult genre is still being fleshed out, but I tend to expect 3 things, 1) an older protangist (check), 2) a bit more love scenes (this one felt light, but still a check), and 3) a bit higher of a reading level (big miss for me). I guess I just feel if you’re going to use words like “literary”, “atmospheric” and bring up the classics like I’ve already mentioned, then I expect a bit more than just standard YA writing.

Wow, that got harsher than I intended! Let’s talk about some good things!

I love, love, love the deaf concept for this book. And truly, Howard did a good job carrying that through. There is very little mention of sound in the book and it gives it an almost unnoticeable “quiet” feel. The few times sound is mentioned, Howard is careful to mention that Juliet felt the sound through something. Like a door slamming can be felt through a wall, that sort of thing. I love to see that kind of care taken with writing.

And the twists! Oh, the twists were very well done! I would recommend it based on those alone :). But no spoilers here, you need to read it for yourself.

Over all, I gave this a solid three charms. I still like Splintered better, but I will be reading the second one.

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