Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!
Thanks to Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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Goodreads: Sofi and the Bone Song
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: 19 April 2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
In this gorgeous, queer standalone fantasy, a young musician sets out to expose her rival for illegal use of magic only to discover the deception goes deeper than she could have imagined—perfect for fans of An Enchantment of Ravens!
Music runs in Sofi’s blood.
Her father is a Musik, one of only five musicians in the country licensed to compose and perform original songs. In the kingdom of Aell, where winter is endless and magic is accessible to all, there are strict anti-magic laws ensuring music remains the last untouched art.
Sofi has spent her entire life training to inherit her father’s title. But on the day of the auditions, she is presented with unexpected competition in the form of Lara, a girl who has never before played the lute. Yet somehow, to Sofi’s horror, Lara puts on a performance that thoroughly enchants the judges.
Almost like magic.
The same day Lara wins the title of Musik, Sofi’s father dies, and a grieving Sofi sets out to prove Lara is using illegal magic in her performances. But the more time she spends with Lara, the more Sofi begins to doubt everything she knows about her family, her music, and the girl she thought was her enemy.
As Sofi works to reclaim her rightful place as a Musik, she is forced to face the dark secrets of her past and the magic she was trained to avoid—all while trying not to fall for the girl who stole her future.
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Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.
TL;DR: I genuinely enjoyed reading this book. It was an entertaining and fast-paced story about magic, music, witches, secrets and betrayals. It was slightly dark at times but it had me gripped from the very beginning and although it was predictable, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment seeing Sofi’s journey unfold. If you love stories that are full of heart and passion with wonderful characters that you can’t help but want to know more about and a fun rivals-to-lovers sapphic romance that is so easy to root for, then I would recommend checking this out. I had such a great time reading it that I was sad when it ended!
Content/Trigger Warnings: Emotional abuse, self-harm/self-punishment, grief,
“Music was in everything, and therefore, the most powerful art. Sofi wanted to be that powerful too. Wanted to prove to the world that she was strong.”
I really enjoyed Tooley’s writing style and thought the story flowed well. It was simple but descriptive enough for the world she created to come to life. For the last 16 years, the Kingdom of Aell has been trapped in an endless winter and the image painted of this land was pretty bleak with its continuous snowfall, bitter winds, constant grey skies and so very little light. There is magic in this world and I really enjoyed learning about how it worked for most citizens through the use of magical Papers, which were long ago crafted by witches, plus the magic of the witches and the conduits they use to channel it. It was an easy system to follow and understand and I particularly loved a certain someone’s magic with music!
“You are an incredible musician, my girl. But if you don’t take care of your heart, your art will suffer too.”
The pacing was also steady and the easy-to-read writing made for a very quick read. There was nothing too complicated about the plot and I figured out a lot about the relationships and other revelations very early on but you know what? I didn’t mind one bit. Sometimes you don’t need overly complex stories to be entertaining. With new songs developed for each stop, interesting traits we learn about each town, and the character development that both of them experience, I found myself constantly engaged and there was no point where I felt bored, so I definitely count that as a win!
“Grief was exhausting—both the mourning of what had been and the uncertainty of what wsa to come.”
As much as I loved the tour throughout the Kingdom of Aell, the characters are what made this book such a pleasure to read. Throughout the journey, Sofi discovers many life-changing truths about her relationship with her father and music that shatter her but she never gives up fighting to learn the truth even if doing so damages her father’s legacy. I really loved her fierce and tenacious spirit and her absolute love for music and I never questioned her passion or the lengths she’d go to prove herself worthy of the art. I sometimes forgot she’s only 16 but I found her realistically mature for her age considering all that she has been through and she undergoes a lot of growth by the end of the book.
Sofi was just as flummoxed as Lara looked. “To be a truly great musician, you have to maintain a close relationship with the Muse. Sometimes that requires suffering for your art.”
Lara frowned. “The things you love shouldn’t hurt you, Sofi.”
As her father instructed, Sofi spent 12 years of her life containing her emotions, punishing herself for wanting and repenting for her sins in order to remain close to the Muse. There were a few difficult scenes to read as she puts herself through harmful situations because she’s been taught that pain and hurt will lead to success. As the reader, I immediately recognised the harmful signs of abuse while Sofi gradually has her eyes opened to the reality of what someone she trusted put her through as she journeys further from home. It really broke my heart and that awareness she gains of what was done to her brought such an acute agony—Tooley really had me feeling Sofi’s confusion, anger and heartbreak! I liked the way that the author brought up these difficult topics and thought she handled them very sensitively.
“The ache was tangible, like her heart had been stabbed with an iron poker. She was filled to the brim with wanting. With missing. With loss.”
Throughout all this, Sofi was in good company with Lara and I don’t think she could’ve had a better person to help her understand that a person doesn’t need to suffer for the things she loves and I adored the way their relationship evolves. I was unsure as to what to think of Lara at first but my suspicions quickly faded and I ended up loving her. 😍 She’s the opposite of Sofi which gave their dynamic a grumpy/sunshine vibe that I was totally here for! Their relationship starts on a bitter/reluctant foot on Sofi’s part as Lara essentially takes the role she’s worked towards her whole life. However, Lara was so genuine and endearing that it doesn’t take long for Sofi’s feelings towards her to soften. I loved seeing them form a strong friendship/partnership before finally admitting to their feelings. Theirs was a tentative but sweet romance that had my heart fluttering with joy! 🥰
“Home had never been a place—that big house made empty by the absence of her father and the loss of her mother. Home had always been her music.
“Home” was a word Sofi had only ever associated with music. But here, […] Sofi began to see how it might apply to a place too.”
That said, as the focus of the story is mostly on Sofi, I do feel that the secondary characters including the villain suffered a bit from being two-dimensional and I wished that we got to learn more about several of them because I found them wonderful! There were parts of Lara’s arc that felt unresolved; Jakko was the BFF who suddenly disappears but I was disappointed with Sofi’s reaction (or lack thereof) to his loss; the Musiks were interesting and we meet a few of them at various points of their journey but we don’t learn much other than their small bits of history. Ultimately though, I didn’t mind overly much because I enjoyed Sofi’s perspective a lot and her arc was so well done! Another part that I felt was too simplistic was the ending. The story does wrap up well but it felt rushed and a little too easy considering the history between witches and people.
“Oh, Sofi. Your father was farid, and he planted that fear in you. He trimmed your greenery away, leaving only a stump. […] But you are so much more than what he made you. And all pieces of you are worthy.”
If it isn’t obvious by now: I really enjoyed this book! It captured my attention from the first page and I sped through it so quickly that I’m sure if I hadn’t fallen asleep at 5am after getting through 50% of the book in one sitting, I would’ve finished it in one too!
Adrienne Tooley (she/her) was born and raised in the desert suburbs of Southern California. She grew up in the theater, earning her B.A. in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. She and her wife currently live in New York City where she works in hospitality tech. In addition to writing novels she is also a singer/songwriter and has released several EPs which are available on Spotify & other streaming sites. Her debut novel, SWEET & BITTER MAGIC, is out now from S&S/McElderry. Her second novel, SOFI AND THE BONE SONG, will release from S&S/McElderry in 2022.
Do you have Sofi and the Bone Song on your TBR?