Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
About the Author:
A Chinese Medicine Doctor and Martial Artist by trade, JC Kang would have never started writing fantasy stories save for two fluke coincidences.
In the Christmas of 2010, while cleaning out childhood junk from his mom’s house, he came across his old Dungeons and Dragons campaign world. Before relegating the binder of maps and notes to the trash where it belonged, he decided to peek back and see what his 13-year old self had created.
He couldn’t help but laugh at the silly ideas that had crossed his teenage brain. Rivers flowed uphill. Empires produced resources out of thin air. However, a few interesting premises had potential.
For the next six days, he redesigned his world, taking into account things he’d learned over the last 25 years. Advanced stuff like gravity, evolution, and supply and demand.
On the seventh day, he rested. Looking at his glorious creation, he was hit by the realization that he’d never play D&D again.
A month later, the second event occurred: three weeks of major snowstorms. Stuck indoors for days at a time, he used his skills as a professional technical writer and pumped out a 120k word novel set in this world… only to find out that fiction writing and technical writing were two different beasts.
He set off to study the craft, and learned advanced ideas like characterization, point of view and tension. After revising the first book, he wrote a prequel. After the prequel, he wrote a sequel. And finally, he wrote the prequel to the prequel: the Dragon Scale Lute.
A beautiful novel with an even more beautiful cover. I was attracted to this novel because I loved the idea behind it. It was very reminiscent of ancient mythologies, which I am a sucker for. Not only that but it is clearly influenced by Asian culture. The combination creates an epic fantasy with a Tolkien feel, if Tolkien was Asian that is!
Overall, the only downside for me was all the Asian names. Despite my love of Asian culture, I struggle with their pronouns a lot. I had to come up with ways to help me remember who was who and where was where.
This is by far one of the best reads I have had this year. With a perfect blend of mysticism and adventure, the novel tells the story of an interesting cast of characters. The story is well told which no detailed spared so that the reader truly understands both the story and the environment. I felt the characters were original, and the female lead was one of the best I have read in a long time. She had her own strength and spirit despite everything.
There are very few novels I fall in love with in the first chapter, but this is definitely one. In my opinion, it had every element of a great story told by a competent storyteller.