Review: Song of Song by L.J. LaBarthe

song of songRating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


It’s 2275. Dex is a genetically engineered human, a Boxie, designed to be exceptionally proficient at the mechanics and repair of a deep-space vessel. But his best friend is an AI cat, Manx, and there is no way he’s giving Manx up. So he and Manx make a break for it with forged papers, desperate to get off the paradise that is Earth so that he can live freely. Because Earth is only a paradise if you are very rich and privileged. And while Dex escapes, he sees the wanted posters for the terrorist Chen Lau Song. But Dex thinks that what Song has done is not terrorism, and that the man on the posters is gorgeous too.

Song has succeeded in engineering and growing the first completely organic and sentient space ship. Fa’a has the ability to grow, learn, think, and reason. She’s beautiful and amazing, and the moment Song gets wind that the Authorities want to seize her and use her for their own purposes, Song knows he has to take her and run. Along the way, he meets up with others who join his crew and believe in his mission to keep Fa’a safe. But there are those after them, and Fa’a gets wounded. By chance, Fa’a and crew capture the ship that Dex is on, and when they learn what Dex can do, they ask for his help. Dex is properly impressed with Fa’a, and he eagerly agrees to help.  When he realizes that it will be a safe place for him and Manx, Dex agrees to stay on. It doesn’t hurt that his attraction to Song is reciprocated, and the two begin tentative steps toward more. They are drawn to one another, and their chemistry is incendiary. Though Dex doesn’t have much experience, and Song has been single for a long time, the men agree to begin dating.

But the tides are shifting on Earth and one man is amassing power and control that has no equal. Cory Lewis Atticus Melville is determined to have complete control, and he’s using the United Authorities as pawns to get what he wants. When his legislation is pushed through and signed, war is inevitable as the UA begins to take control of other planets. When one in particular, M’Jaffa, is attacked, Song, Fa’a, and the crew race to their rescue. But as Fa’a, Dex, and a few of the others manage to get the majority of the population and the ruler and her consort to safety, Song and two others are caught by the UA.

They find themselves in Melville’s custody, and the lengths the evil man is willing to go to in order to get what he wants knows no bounds. But Dex, Fa’a and her remaining crew will stop at nothing to get those they love back. And with the help of a surprising and perfectly timed force, they may just be able to do that. If they can get to Earth before anyone is killed, that is.

Epic. Space. Opera. Oh you guys, I am a happy happy reader right now. This book. I’m not even sure I’m going to be able to put into words how much I loved this book. I’m going to start off right now by saying that this story is not for everyone. But if you have a love of sci fi and/or dystopian societies, with a sweet love story mixed in, then you are absolutely going to want to buy this book. And if you’re looking for something to stretch your horizons a little, then I urge you to give this one a try. I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. And I will absolutely be reading it again.

Okay, so we have some awesome characters here, the main ones being Dex, Manx, Song, and Fa’a. I thought the author did an outstanding job with giving us real and believable characters. Even, and maybe especially, with the AI characters. I was on board with them every second they were on the page, wholly invested and committed to the story. Right off the bat, as we are thrust into Dex and his escape, I was hooked and drawn in. The characters are so wonderfully layered and dimensional, that I couldn’t help but feel what they were feeling. Dex was so very endearing, with his loyalty, love, and unwavering commitment. I adored every second of him. He squeezed my heart and made me laugh, and was just absolutely a delight. Song was the perfect balance of caring and emotional, mixed with analytical. His consistency was excellent, and I understood perfectly where he was coming from with every one of his thoughts and actions. I loved these guys separately, and they certainly had their shining moments. But they were equally great together. This pair was so hot, their chemistry just leapt off the page. Not to mention the tender moments between them. I admit I would have liked just a tiny bit more development of their relationship, but I was so caught up in it, it was easy for me to just be swept away in this epic tale.

And epic it was. The plot was fast paced, fraught with tension of a looming war, of being on the run. Morality and doing what was right was heavily mixed in too. But it never got heavy handed. It was perfectly balanced throughout the story. And the plot was a perfect representation of all the sweeping sci fi classics it pays homage too. So brilliantly done, the world building perfect and believable, at least to science geeks like me.

So why the slightly less than perfect rating? Well, if I were going on feeling alone it would have easily been a 5, more if I were able to rate higher. But I have to approach this with a little bit of an analytical mind, and there were two small things that were enough of a quibble that they are worth a mention. The first was that some of the exposition passages, though well done, got awfully close to the info dump line. There were some that I found myself speed reading so I could absorb the required info and move on. And also, there are several chapters that are from someone else’s POV, as opposed to the two MCs. To be honest, I can see why the author chose to do this. And there was some valuable info there. But, for me, it didn’t work quite as well as I think it should have, and instead, I was wanting to get through them and move back to the action and to our MCs.

But those things are easily forgivable, because I just loved this book so much. It’s everything that a good sci fi drama should be, with the added bonus of a great romance. I absolutely and without qualm recommend this book.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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Comments

  1. This sounds fascinating! Thanks for the review.

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