Book Blurb: In Gelia City, magic is music: a constant ever-changing melody known as the Strains. Hereditary ability to use the Strains divides the city into two classes: the wealthy Highmost, who can access the full potential of the Strains, and the Common tradesmen, who are limited to mundane spells, known as beggar magic.
With the help of the Strains, Common teen Leilani rescues and befriends a gifted Highmost girl, Zebedy. The girls’ friendship opens Leilani’s eyes to the world of the Highmost. She’s intrigued by Zeb’s close relationship with the Strains, and longs to know them as she does. Zeb, in turn, comes to depend on Leilani’s strength and intelligence, making them an inseparable team, ready to take on anything with the Strains at their back.
As their unlikely friendship strengthens and endures, Zeb draws Leilani further into the Highmosts’ intrigues. Beneath the polished, academic facade of the Highmost manors lurks a threat to the Strains. An unknown force consumes their music, leaving only heart-rending silence behind.
Leilani and Zeb will do anything to save their beloved Strains, but as the silence grows, they face danger their previously sheltered lives could never prepare them for. Whoever is behind the death of the Strains is willing to kill to keep their secret safe. To preserve the Strains, the girls may have to sacrifice their friendship, or even their lives.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Five Stars – highly recommend
Similar Authors: Sarah J. Maas, Mercedes Lackey
Review: This story started out a little slow, but it was so worth it to keep reading. The backbone of this story is friendship, and the two main characters forge together through all the odds against their sisterhood. Leilani is a very well written seventeen year old with a strong sense of self. She trusts her intuition and isn’t afraid to be herself even in the face of class discrimination. Zeb, on the other hand, is an incredibly sheltered girl with little life experience and a degree of naivety that I had trouble with from page one. Even though Zeb is beyond sheltered, she is also loyal and generous. Together these girls are a formidable team.
The social structure places those with more magic as the higher class and those with lesser magic as the working class. The higher class is able to hear magic’s voice and manipulate it in extraordinary ways while the lower class hears a melody from the magic called the Strains. The magic system built upon the Strains is fascinating. The higher born mages are able to invent and heal with their magic while the lower born are limited to strengthening tapestries and lighting candles.
The YA element definitely comes out in the lack of experience for both the main characters. The more sheltered character has aspirations for both of them to marry brothers and seems fairly obsessed with her mentor while the lower class, street smart, character has aspirations of learning and being useful. These motivations felt authentic for teenage girls. This was such a wonderful coming of age story for both of them.
Anyone looking for a good YA fantasy will be pleasantly surprised with this book!