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LENA GOLDFINCH is the Amazon-bestselling author of sweet historical western romance / inspirational romance and books for teens. She's always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it's a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests.
on Nov. 05, 2013 :
The author generously gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.
Songstone is a beautifully written story about an abused girl who has a special gift of being able to sing a song into stone. Kita grew up being the odd one out, with her white skin and green eyes, in a village full of darker people. A little girl found her when she was a baby, and by the time she was 8, she was chosen to be the medicine man's servant girl. Finally after years of abuse, she see's a way of escape, and it comes with a boy named Pono. She would do anything to escape her life of torment, including risking her life for freedom.
The story is a gripping tale of self-worth, love and adventure. Being a white girl, she was an outsider with only her master seeing worth in her. That’s until Pono arrived. The writing is so beautifully done that it makes it seem as if the reader’s are experiencing the abuse and the hope with Kita. I could really relate to Kita as an outsider, with all the loneliness that she endures.
After being rescued, Kita and Pono set off to his village. Only a bird that Kita seemed to have a few run ins with seemed to get her attention. Instead of thinking about Pono and what he was obligated to do, she wanted to follow the bird, without really knowing where the bird would take them. She completely disregarded Pono when she decided she wanted to follow the bird. So while Kita is a likeable character, she did get irritating at times and maybe even a little selfish.
Pono was a sweet guy that was really hard to read at times. Because the story is written in Kita’s POV, we were unable to really understand what was ever going through Pono’s head. Pono would do anything for Kita, including risking his life and his job as a journeyman. He was a very likeable character but I’m kind of uncertain as to why he was so quiet for all that time when they were with the Huwi. That part did kind of make it a slower part of the novel, because of the lack of dialogue.
I think what would’ve made this story better is to increase the length and increase in the character development. We grew to know Kita fairly well, because we were in her head. But, with Pono, I’m still really uncertain as to how their relationship really formed and how they really got to know each other. I would’ve liked to see more interactions between the two. I would’ve also loved to have read the songs that she sang. We only saw one song, and we didn’t see any other. While that is a very difficult task and it’s better to not try it than to do it unsuccessfully, so it’s not a big deal. I just would’ve liked to read the actual songs that she sang. Other than that, I thought it was beautifully written and I thank the author for allowing me to read this in exchange for a review.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Oct. 29, 2013 :
Songstone is a heart warming story full of adventure, magic, superstitions, tribal lore and a touching romance. Kita, who was abandoned in the forest as a child, was rescued by Noni and became an adopted sister. Kita with her pale skin, red hair and green eyes never felt like she belonged to the family that took her in or the tribe they were a part of. The evil medicine man takes her as his servant and uses her to perform his secret rituals. Kita longs for her freedom. Freedom may come at the hands of a stranger. Pono is a journeyman from a distant tribe who sees the brutal treatment of Kita. He will risk everything to save her from her evil master. They will have to learn to trust and depend on each other to survive.
Kita and Pono are both strong characters. Kita perseveres through the persecution of her tribe and her master. Pono is brave to risk his life for Kita. Through their struggles we see their characters develop. I found this story to be interesting and entertaining. I would definitely recommend it.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on Oct. 24, 2013 :
A copy of Songstone was kindly sent to me by Lena Goldfinch in exchange for an honest review.
Songstone is the story of Kita, a storyteller, who is an outcast and slave in her village because of her unusual looks and mysterious origin. Her master, Matiko, shields the village from his darkness with magic and uses Kita’s blood for his evil spells, but with the appearance of the journeyman, Pono, Kita finally sees a way to free herself from Matiko’s grasp and find out who she really is.
It took me a long time to get into Songstone and an even longer time to finish reading it; it’s not that it isn’t well written, it is, it’s just that it didn’t really work for me - I found it slow and awkward to read. I really liked Kita’s narrative voice at the beginning and the intrigue of her origins, and thought the pace of the novel would really pick up with Pono’s arrival, but sadly, it just didn’t. There is a huge diversion when Kita and Pono are kidnapped by the Huwi and Pono’s task to get back to his village is completely forgotten; the plot that had been so well set up in the beginning of the novel was completely forgotten. I think this would have worked better as two novels as they were two distinct plots that could have been separated and expanded; it seems like Goldfinch has tried to do too much in one book. There was also a very small amount of dialogue which made the story feel very slow, there wasn’t the character interaction you would expect in most young adult novels to drive the plot forward.
Although it fell short of my expectations it is well written and I know that many people will enjoy reading Songstone; Goldfinch really does write some beautiful descriptions, there just wasn’t enough character interaction and development for me.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
on Oct. 21, 2013 :
It's taken me a few days to figure out what to say about this book. I found it engaging and interesting, although it wasn't necessarily a can't-put-it-down for me. The story was well told and the characters mostly well developed. I did find myself wanting to know more about the evil magician guy.
Which brings me to my next point... what's with the names? I understand that in a world like the one in this book you can't use names like Sally or Bob but, truth be told, I can't remember any of the names (expect Pono because it's easy) and I found it hard to follow the story because I just couldn't remember who was who.
Although the book was fairly short, I found myself engaged in the main characters struggle as to which path she should follow. If she should follow her gut or her head? Should she go or should she stay? Watching her grow from a hateful creature into a loving woman was quite enjoyable.
There was quite a big of adventure in the book as well. The book wasn't completely action packed, which I appreciated, but there was enough always going on that the plot didn't lag and didn't get boring.
All in all the book was engaging, if a little hard to follow until you caught up with the names and quite enjoyable. Plus (which is a HUGE plus) I believe this is a stand alone which is pretty unusual for dystopian YA books.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
on Aug. 28, 2013 :
4.5 stars - I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved this well-told story of a girl's coming of age and self-discovery. While the conflict and theme are nothing new, the story is unique in its native/tribal feel, which specifically borrows from the mythology and culture of New Zealand's Maori tribe, and in its unique use of magic and fantasy.
The main character, Kita, is real. She is hurt teenager struggling to overcome her own feelings and improve her understanding of the world and her position in it. It was a story that drew me in and kept me reading. Kita's internal dialogue, self-doubt, acknowledgement of the changes within her and the resulting confusion those changes can bring are realistic internal dialogue for a young woman trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be.
Plus, the story is polished, well-written and flowing. No editing issues. I had a difficult time putting this book down, and I found myself thinking about it when I had to put it down to work...
I will be checking out more of this author.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
on Aug. 03, 2013 :
I loved this book. From the very beginning I was attached to the characters and felt their pain and sadness and happiness. I loved the relationships and love. It is also very inspiring. This is a great book.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)
on Aug. 03, 2013 :
I received a free copy of this book from the author through Goodreads We ♥ YA Books! group via Smashwords in exchange for an unbiased review.
3.5+ stars. Kita is a redheaded stepchild. No really - she's the only white girl in a small island village where everyone has xenophobia - afraid of those who are different from themselves. As she grows through her journey of trials and tribulations, she realizes that it may be Kita herself that is contributing to the problem. I would categorize Songstone as an historical fiction/fantasy, set on a Maori island in a pre-European ancient past.
"In Māori mythology, Patupaiarehe are pale spirit beings that live in deep forests and mountaintops in New Zealand, and are sometimes hostile to humans. Ethereal flute music and singing sometimes reveals their presence. Patupaiarehe, also referred to as Turehu, Ngati Hotu and Urukehu (red heads), were said to live in large guarded communities. They tended to occur in certain localities, especially hilly or mountainous regions. Another little-known term for these fairy-like folk was pakehakeha, which has been suggested as a possible origin of the word Pākehā, used to refer to Europeans." -Wikipedia
"Several legends are extant concerning a red-haired, fair-skinned, pre-Maori race known as Turehu or Patupaiarehe... To this day, it is a popular belief that where a fairer skin and reddish hair exists in full blooded Maori, they are inherited from a Patupaiarehe ancestor. A fair skin is known as Kiritea... In the Auckland Museum there is a hank of beautiful wavy red hair, obtained from a rock shelter near Waitakerei. That it belonged to pre-European days is proved by the root ends being plaited together and bound round with fine braid prepared from the same hair." -The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 31, 1922
I thought the premise of Kita's "magic" - the ability of some to infuse song into stone, is a little strange, but when I compared it to "pressing" vinyl into LPs or downloading songs into an MP3 player, it made more sense. The book is a bit longwinded and I noticed a few typos/errors, but the writing style is competent and the plot is exciting enough that it held my interest.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)
on July 27, 2013 :
Due to Kita being different she is segregated from the rest of the people in her village and was left at the mercy of a healer who secretly practices black magic. However Pono, a journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island to escort a storyteller back to his village a storyteller who'll be chosen at the great assembly and finally Kita sees a chance of freedom.
Songstone by Lena Goldfinch is a wonderful and imaginative story about a lonely and misunderstood girl finding acceptance. Goldfinch manages to instantly draw you into Kita's struggle and has you wishing you could do something to help her and although her situation is devastating Kita still manages to continue on and keep her heart from becoming to hard and cold and to stay hopeful that she will find acceptance and happiness. With helpful animals and the special gifts each of the characters have, a beautiful fantasy world is created and in the end Kita finds her place in this world. The pace of the tale is perfect never moving to fast or to slow when following KIta's journey. I loved Kita and her struggle to find her place and purpose. I would recommend this book to any teenager and adult interested in fantasy, it's a great read with amazing characters with new and wonderful magical powers in an Enchanting and mesmerising world.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)