When it comes to music, I am whatever the polar opposite of what musically-inclined is.
Do I know what a lute songs like? I highly doubt I could even pick one out of lineup. Making playlists? Wayyy too indecisive, I’d rather just listen to albums or tracks curated by people who are really able to get the vibe right. Singing? Yeah, no. I sound like a dying crow that is actively being blended to smitterines (not that my lack of ability stops me from singing Taylor Swift songs on repeat). Manning the AUX in the car? Unless it’s my car and I can assert my dominance that way, I will be staying the hell away from that because it is simply too much musical responsibility for dear ole me.
With all of that in mind, it’s still quite fun to read about, especially when the passion for music seeps into every word as is the case with Adrienne Tooley’s Sofi and the Bone Song.
*huge thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC to read and honestly review!!!*
Book: Sofi and the Bone Song
Author: Adrienne Tooley
Published April 19th 2022 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Sofi & the Bone Song is a book about parental power and abuse shaping bad habits in pursuit of artistic perfection. Throughout the novel Sofi works to unlearn habits of harm, and to recognize her conditioning and abuse for what it was. Therefore, within the book you will find the following:
Depictions of emotional abuse at the hand of a parent
Parental death by suicide (off-page)
Descriptions of self-harm
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. (from Goodreads)
Sofi’s whole life is music, which is heavily influenced by the fact that father is a Musik — one of the only five musicians in the country sanctioned by the king to compose and perform original songs — something Sofi has dedicated her entire existence to one day becoming.
Sofi is very dedicated to her practice, shaped by the abuse from her father. She loves music so deeply and so wholly that the bad habits her father forces upon her is quite literally consuming. Throughout the course of Sofi and the Bone Song, Sofi begins to unravel her perfectionism and past and truly get to the heart (literally!) of what she cares for most.
Character development is definitely where Sofi and the Bone Song stands out the most. Similarly to Tooley’s debut, Sweet & Bitter Magic, the characters are the driving force of the story. Combine the character arcs of main characters (namely, Sofi) and secondary characters (Lara and Jakko) with the intricate magic system and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a captivating standalone fantasy.
The writing also lent itself very well to a standalone. With short and succinct chapters (sometimes to a point that felt too bow-y at times), the story knew exactly which direction it was going and never strayed away. The storytelling and pacing was clean and well-composed which ultimately allowed me to plow through the story in only a few days.
Also! There is just so much music, and I say that in the best way possible. From moments between Sofi and Lara composing epics on the road, to Sofi’s bone song (like the title eee!!), to lyrics and beat jokes and wonderful tidbits incorporated throughout, Sofi and the Bone Song is bursting at the seams with musical joy.
All and all, Sofi and the Bone is fully dazzling. It is a story crafting with so much love that manages to be heartbreaking, witty, and romantic all at once. Plus you get the absolute joy of witnessing charming insults like “worm eats your eye” and “Saints and sheep”! Come on, with all that in mind, how could you not want to dive right in??
Is Sofi and the Bone Song on your TBR? What about you, how do you fare when it comes to musical-related things?