Disclaimer: Thanks for Wunderkind PR for providing a copy of the book for review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
The Song of All is the debut novel of author Tina LeCount Myers. It’s an epic fantasy inspired by Scandinavian indigenous culture.
On the forbidding fringes of the tundra, where years are marked by seasons of snow, humans war with immortals in the name of their shared gods. Irjan, a human warrior, is ruthless and lethal, a legend among the Brethren of Hunters. But even legends grow tired and disillusioned.
Scarred and weary of bloodshed, Irjan turns his back on his oath and his calling to hide away and live a peaceful life as a farmer, husband, and father. But his past is not so easily left behind. When an ambitious village priest conspires with the vengeful comrades Irjan has forsaken, the fragile peace in the Northlands of Davvieana is at stake.
His bloody past revealed, Irjan’s present unravels as he faces an ultimatum: return to hunt the immortals or lose his child. But with his son’s life hanging in the balance, as Irjan follows the tracks through the dark and desolate snow-covered forests, it is not death he searches for, but life.
I think there are a lot of interesting ideas here. First the Jápmemeahttun and their life cycles–the various transformations that they go through–is a really neat concept. Also that they return to the place of their origin to give birth, somehow that they just know, some force guides them there–interesting! But as much as I loved learning about the Jápmemeahttun , I want to learn even more because every interesting fact about them and their culture only generated more questions in my mind. Does every Jápmemeahttun transform? Are they all born that way, through the life force of others? If so, then how does their population increase, and if not then I guess that really explains why the population dwindled so quickly (but then how did it get so large to begin with?). So many questions! I’m hoping we get to learn more in the next book.
One of the other things I really liked about this book was the prose. It’s not flowery but it does a great job of evoking the setting of a frozen tundra. I also loved the bits that were part of The Song of All, the great song that all the Jápmemeahttun can hear/feel as part of sort of shared consciousness that they can tap into and use to communicate, transform, etc. The way The Song bits were written felt like little poems within the novel and I loved that.
As far as the characters go, I enjoyed them for the most part, although most of them felt as if they were kept at a distance from the reader. Some of the characters I enjoyed most were, unfortunately, not in the book all that much. I did like the main character, Irjan, and empathized with him quite a bit. At first I misjudged him and this came as a surprise to me later on. He is good man and a man loyal to his family and those he cares about, which are the types of characters I can appreciate.
Overall, I liked this book quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to reading more as I really do want to learn more about the Jápmemeahttun. I kind of felt like much of this story was setting things up for the next book in the series. That’s not really a complaint, just that I am looking forward to the next book more as I think the new characters introduced at the end of this story will be strong and have interesting journeys ahead of them. 4/5 stars.