Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Michael Lesley
Length: 11 hours, 16 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

This review is for the final book in the Tinkered Starsong trilogy and the series must be enjoyed in order. This review will carry some spoilers for book two, Demigod 12. Again, as I’m reviewing an audiobook that features alien races and names I’ve never read, please forgive any misspellings.

Divinity is a performance art form the Dyesi have created and then shared out across the galaxies. This “godsong” involves two Cantors singing, two Graces dancing, and two Dyesi skin-sifters absorbing the power and tone of the Cantors and casting light from their skin within a Dome. Phex and his pantheon of six have been traveling alongside Tillem, one of the original pantheons–and surely the most well-known of them. Performances of godsong recruit more believers to Divinity, and it’s definitely a good gig–unless you happen to fall in love with another god/demigod. Or, one of the “fixed” fans tries to murder you…

Despite the Dyesi’s fierce aversion to physical intimacy–even to the point of sterilizing their gods–Phex and Missit have become a couple. Phex struggles to see himself as worthy of Missit’s love, and the rest of Asterism lives in fear of the Dyesi acolytes discovering this clandestine love affair, because it could cause the Dyesi to break up the pantheon. They’ve had a great run, however, even performing in a private audience for one of the matriarchs on Dyesid Prime. It was here that Phex really started to understand that Divinity godsong is more than just performance for entertainment. He knows that his powerful voice can entrance Dyesi, a power enhanced when he and Missit sing together. Phex is extremely careful not to remove the will of his audience, but he’s noticing Asterism’s fans showing fixed behavior at a rate that is downright troubling.

Asterism and TIllem are on a final tour together, off to the war-torn system of Agatay, where Asterism’s high Cantor, Kagee, escaped from. The new Diarchs of the system have asked the Dyesi to build a dome there and have Asterism perform, which will also allow Fortew, low Cantor of Tillem, to receive what could be life-saving treatment for his deteriorating crud-lung. Kagee warns everyone that Agatay is constantly at war, and a dome would be a huge target for bombing, but the Dyesi and Tillem are determined to spread godsong and attempt to save Fortew. Meanwhile, Phex and Missit’s love affair is discovered and has disastrous effects within the pantheons. Missit’s grief over Fortew’s declining health and the loss of Phex’s affection causes acute depression. So, everyone’s on edge.

As I’ve mentioned in reviews for the two previous books in this trilogy, the audio is amazing. There are a multitude of characters–12 gods between two pantheons, 3-4 security, 3+ Dyesi acolytes, the two diarchs, people on different ships, Deysi on the homeworld, all with complicated names and voice patterns. Narrator Michael Lesley earned every nickel paid for his voice skills. I was continually amazed at how seamlessly he shifted between characters and their different inflections and tones, even incorporating some machine-sounding timbres for the cyborg and imago characters. I was absolutely eager to listen to this book, and loved the acting alongside the pacing of the plot. I was really jazzed how the story brought so many of the characters full-circle, more whole than when they began their journeys.

One thing that this book really does well is explain the effect of godsong on its listeners. There were always hints that it was more than just entertainment, that it affected listeners in ways that could cause fugue, or elation, or even manic-panic, like with the fixed. Asterism’s effects on the people of Agatay–persons who’ve never experience godsong before–are even more troubling than at previous tour stops at established domes in the past. Missit’s simultaneously derelict and self-righteous parents callously explain their theories behind the effect of godsong, giving Phex even more reason to dislike them as people. Asterism inadvertently creates a situation on Agatay that could spell the end of an entire generation, yet Phex’s insights help right the wrong in spectacular fashion.

The Dyesi have Divinity going strong spreading peaceful godsong throughout the galaxies in a deceptively benign manner. The themes of acceptance, and of love being both beautiful and healing, are deeply explored alongside power and its use, the role of entertainment in pacifying multitudes, and responsibility for the content one creates. None of these themes is blatant, but we had a good opportunity to witness aspects of them throughout. Phex is a heck of a character, and Missit’s a lot more three-dimensional following this final installment.

I’m a LITTLE sad with the ending resolution. Not because it wasn’t awesome, but because this phenomenally creative and interesting trilogy is now over. The members of Tillem and Asterism have the future they’d desired. The universe has more peaceful people thanks to godsong, and Phex and Missit get the happiest ending that could have been imagined. Definitely recommend!