Pamela F. (Grants Pass, OR)
Song of the Spirits
I love a book where I get to learn about a new land and another way of life. I also love a good saga. This book delivered on both counts. Although not the best of the genre, it was very good. New Zealand is not a place that I have ever read about, so that was very refreshing. I will go back and read the first installment and will look forward to the new installments in the future. Very happy with the book.
Christina C. (Powells Point, NC)
Long, but worthwhile and exciting
I admit, when I opened the mail and saw the size of this book, I was overwhelmed. Once I began reading, I was done with it within 3 days.
While the book is certainly long, and in parts very wordy and descriptive, it still holds your attention. Even though it is part of a saga, it still is able to stand on its own. The characters are well developed and the storyline has many twists and folds and subjects, so you never feel like you're in an area too long.
I loved imagining New Zealand while reading, all the beauty and different towns the characters visited and toured. The native aspect was interesting and so was the sheep farmer part. It's a book with so many different cultures and areas and stories, that you constantly feel drawn in and fulfilled. To go from a small town with an inn, to huge estates, to sheep farms and barns, to native villages, to musical tours and performance houses, to a poor mining village, to brothels, etc. made the length seem valid. There was so much to tell and describe, it was ever changing. If the author had only 3 or 4 things to discuss in 700 pages I would get bored, but she kept a great pace with lots of subjects, locations, and character lines.
Upon completion of the book, I ordered the prequel so I could learn about the previous generation. And I'm looking forward to future books to see where the story unfolds in the future!
When I received my copy of this book in the mail, I really didn't think I would be able to finish it by the deadline. It is huge. But I loved the flow of the novel. I cared about what happened to the characters. I enjoyed reading about a different culture without feeling I was in a history lesson. I will now read the first novel in this series. Would recommend this for anyone looking for a great escape to New Zealand. Thanks BookBrowse for another new author to enjoy.
Eileen F. (Ridgefield, WA)
Information, family dynamics and intrigue.
Upon starting the book, I had to write a character list, so that I could keep track of who was who. When the main characters were introduced, I was not interested, but as the novel progressed so did they.
I learned a lot about the Maori, mining, sheep-herding, and the New Zealand landscape. A pleasant summer read.
Ann W. (New York, NY)
song of the spirits
Excellent and compelling read. It is a historic novel about New Zealand. Initially there is sheep-herding and the vast farms that were developed. Thought the experience of one of the major protagonists, the coal mines are introduced. The author used actual, historical experiences such as the Brunner mining disaster to lend details to the novel. The novel integrates the Maori culture and mythology as it interacted with the Western settlers and colonists. The Maori had much more openness to sexuality until it clashed with the more Victorian settlers. There is a strong Maori oral tradition in song, dance, poetry that is beautifully rendered in this novel.
Bink W. (Sopchoppy, FL)
Quick and enjoyable
A romance novel for sure. I would not have picked it to review if I had known this. Not my genre. However, a good read that moved quickly and was interesting. Don't expect great prose. The length was not a problem; would have enjoyed a few more hundred pages. Not a Thorne Bird. Would read another by this author. To me the same general escapist literature as popular crime novels, which I also enjoy. If you have limited time: Go read The Orchardist.
Sandra W. (Marietta, OH)
Great vacation read
Song of the Spirits by Sarah Lark is a great vacation read. I love the interconnectedness of the characters not only with each other and with the landscape. The author did a great job making me not only see but feel the landscape. The characters were well drawn especially the women; I felt that if I met Gwyneira, Elaine or Kura on the street I would recognize them.
This book harks back to the generational books I read in my childhood and made a great summer escape. Don't be intimidated by the length; this book reads fast because the reader cares what happens to the characters and wants to find out what happens next.