Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings everyone! The Review Board here to give our take on Song of Simon by C.A. Sanders. Before we proceed, here is the summary via Amazon, provided by Wordsmith Andi:
Summary via Amazon:
Never stop singing.
Life was never sweet for Simon. He lived in suburban New York, dodging high school bullies and strumming his guitar. Things were about to get much worse.
Simon is drawn into the land of Algavar, where High Priestess Teretha has imprisoned their god in amber. He falls into a holy war led by Ilyana, a renegade priestess who claims to be the Messiah. Simon agrees to accompany Ilyana on a quest to kill Teretha, and he sinks hip deep into the violence and despair that permeate Algavar.
Will Simon become the hero Ilyana believes he is, or will he lose his soul in a bloody world so different from his own?
Now on to the Wordsmith’s review:
Song of Simon began as a slow read for me. I could relate to Simon as an outcast sort of character with a terrible home life but I found it hard to like him much. It wasn’t until Simon is “drawn into the land of Algavar” that my attention was truly engaged.
The world Simon is delivered unto is one of impressive depth and breadth. Sanders has spent considerable time in his world building, giving us a world populated by at least four religions, human and non-human populations, as well as mythical beings known as the Old Ones. Algavar’s history is vivid in Sanders’ writing, his intimate familiarity with back story and events leading up to Simon’s introduction into the story more than apparent. He gives us a fully articulated world through which he puts Simon, a musically inclined young man reluctant to embrace what sets him apart, through his developmental paces.
Sanders’ attention to detail is exquisite, his imaginative take on the genre most appreciated. Song of Simon is a story worth reading and thanking Sanders’ for sharing it.
Some positive notable mentions:
Some negative notables:
The text frequently changes tense. For instance:
This happens in quite a few more places so Sanders is encouraged to have an editor take another look for tense consistency.
There are also a few places where the scene changes but there are no indicators.
Page 37 into 38:
Murosa twitched her whiskers. “We will tell the Orens.”
Balensis frowned, but Murosa continued. “Then we raid the farm.
They are ours to take.”
Balensis and Murosa disappeared into the darkness. (scene cut should be here)
A bruised Simon found his way to Gibron’s chambers. They were larger than Simon figured. Dusty books and empty pots of ink thickly lined the walls (missing period) He had a crudely-built desk stacked with more books and a simple bed in the corner. For the most part, everything was up against a wall. There was a large amount of room in the center, carpeted with wooden lattice.
Slen returned to his quarters. He hoped that the Queen of Love and Beauty contacted him soon. He finally had some good news. (scene cut indicator should be here)
With Ilyana awake again, the travelers were once again ready to travel.
Murosa was ready for more blood. (scene cut should be here)
Jaym opened his eyes and stared at the darkened ceiling. It was the dead of night, and the only light came from the fire barely burning in the hearth.
The trio continued to follow the River Tadish to the west. They were about four days east of the frontier town of Solitude, where they could rest, resupply, and find some Most considered Solitude the border where the civilized lands of Gil ended and the wild lands began. (Incomplete sentence: what do they find?)
He landed nimbly onto the flat campsite and drew a dagger. He was all shadows and breeze, creepy closer to the furred bodies lying around the flyer. (creeping closer)
“I’ve killed so many people, Dash,” he said one day. “I’ve cut them and stabbed them and I blew up a freakin’ god on them. Everywhere I go I bring destruction. I just want to be left along.” (alone)
Lara, the girl he gave his innocence too. (to)
Song of Simon earns a rating of 8 stars out of 10. I enjoyed the book a great deal but the editing misses were enough to detract from the story.
Simon’s life is kind of desolate. Some is by choice and some is not. He finds his comfort in his music—a talent he encompassed at a young age. Simon misses his father who has been sent away. His mother punishes him with weeks of silence until an accident transforms the world around Simon. Lost in a land of swords and knights, queens and magic; Simon has no choice but to adapt—and fast.
Simon fights from the moment his feet hit the ground. He runs and finds shelter. His trainer’s methods are harsh but effective. Simon’s world brightens a bit more when an instrument is placed in his hands. Only it’s not his only instrument. His mere presence sets forth a new history and an uprising against a tyrant that saw fit to enslave a god.
With fearsome creatures and magical entities Song of Simon was a perfect whimsical adventure. Simon is a very deep character and his evolution is a story in and of itself. The imagery is perfect: descriptive without being drawn out. This is a book that is hard to put down and you’ll find yourself laughing aloud and biting your nails in anticipation. Simon’s tenacity is second only to his principals. His inspiration reminds us all to “never stop singing”.
I give Song of Simon 10 out of 10 TRB stars and highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great adventure!
I would like to start off by saying that this is a fantastic read. A great story! Told well and full of adventure and fantasy. A great book indeed.
Now, that being said, let me get on with it.
Simon is your average teenager with tons of stress all around him.
He’s being bullied in school, his father was locked up in the nut house after having been a hero for 9/11, his mother is a drunk and his grandmother a religious extremist. Poor Simon can’t catch a break. His only real means of escape is his guitar and his music. He resides in a New York suburb and doesn’t have much of a life as per the teen mind frame.
One day Simon has an altercation with some of the bullies from his school–not at school however–and not only do they beat him up, but they toss his treasured guitar in the lake. Simon dives in after it, and that becomes the portal to another world, in seemingly another time.
In this new antiquated land Simon meets people that are nothing like the people back home. These people are medieval in their daily living, and extremely religious in their own right as well. Unbeknownst to him, Simon is caught up in a religious war. There are people against people, pitting god against god–the highest of whom is the Stag.
Simon meets people that make all sorts of life long impressions on him, and he finds himself in an emotional roller coaster that he would have never expected.
SIDE NOTE: There are many characters in this book, so I will not mention them all.
During his time in this land, with these people Simon falls in love, loses his virginity, learns how to fight, goes to war, and most of all sings. The people of the land fall in love with Simon’s talent and at every occasion possible they ask him to sing and play his martina (that is their rendition of a guitar).
So, now that you all know the premise of the book, let me go ahead and give you a break down of my thoughts. I’ll start with the Cons, as those are the fewest.
1) The Simon portrayed on the cover, looks nothing like the Simon described in the story. Simon in the story is fair skinned and red headed, as well as very thin. Also the martina depicted on the cover does not look like the one described in the book.
2) Although this work is traditionally published, I found several instances of typos and mistakes. Now, I need you to understand that they only reason I point these things out is because I use this as a tool to break the myth that traditional is better than indie. Here are a few that I noticed:
There were several more typos/mistakes, but I’ll limit it to these four. This just goes to show that no one (traditional or indie) is completely exempt from some mistakes.
3) After the war, once Simon has come too, and has realizes everything that has happened, feeling guilt and a need to make a mends he rushed off to dig through the rubble in order to find the bodies or both the dead and the survivors. Most of all, that of Ilyana. After this point the story starts approaching its culmination.
My thoughts: I felt as though the resolution was rushed. You see, the author took his time in weaving such a meticulous story together, with lots of details and characters and drama. So, in hurrying through the closing of the story it was almost like he did not give the story due justice in its denouement. I believe that such a rich story deserves an equally rich finale.
1) As I mentioned above, this is a rich story, full of emotion and drama. It’s a fantastic blend of Lord of The Rings, meets the Old Testament, meets current day society. It is an amazing fantasy with tons of soul.
2) Several times I laughed out loud, just as I yelled at some characters. I also found myself talking to Simon out loud at times. This is the sign of a great book. When you are so invested that you connect with the characters and want to talk some sense into them.
SIDE NOTE: In my opinion the funniest parts of the story were Simon’s encounter with his mother who was trying to ground him and then his “song battle” with a fellow at a tavern where he sung THE MOST hilarious sung I’ve ever heard. I won’t say too much. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
3) The author has a great talent for bringing each character to life, as well as the environment around them. So many times I felt as if I were right there, in the place, with the people.
4) There is some foul language in this book, but I by no means felt like it was “too much” or overbearing. On the contrary, I felt like the bad language made the people more believable.
5) This story actually has a lesson to teach. It is, that no matter what happens, no matter how ugly things get, never stop singing. This is precisely what Simon did.
Truthful Verdict: All in all, Song of Simon is a great, great story and I highly recommend it. 8 TRB stars.
All right. Let’s add all the numbers and divide them by the number of reviewers (3):
Thank you for checking out The Review Board. Feel free to like, share and subscribe. Have a terrific day!