June 9, 2014

Review: Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule


A young soprano enrolls in a remote music academy where nothing, not even her mysterious young vocal coach, is as it seems

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary? 

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Lyrical, gothic, and magical, Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule will captivate and enchant readers.

add to goodreadsStrange Sweet Song by Adi Rule
Publication Date:  March 11, 2014
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

Available for Purchase:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
[youtube_sc url=”” color=”white” autohide=”1″]

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013Right from the get go I wanted to read Strange Sweet Song just because of the title. I don’t know why but it reeled me in and after reading the description I was eager to get started. The very first chapter of the novel was all it took for me to be addicted. This was an amazing read that I felt so, so glad I got to check out. Everything from the way it was written to the way the plot played out was hauntingly beautiful. I loved it.

Sing da Navelli is a teenage opera singer whose father refuses to let her let go of her dream of becoming a diva just like her deceased mother Barbara da Navelli. When Sing is enrolled for her first year at Dunhammond Conservatory (DC) she discovers that the school is performing the opera Angelique—the very same opera that Barbara da Navelli died in while playing the lead, Angelique. So when Sing receives the role as Angelique’s understudy she becomes caught up in DC’s social scene and the competitive nature of its students.

Sing is forced to prepare for the opera with Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor who is nothing but cold, distant and rude toward her and constantly tells her that no matter how good she attempts to sing her voice is still missing something. The opera Angelique was written at DC and that the composer had taken some truth in the lore used in the opera from the forests surrounding the school. As the year continues Sing can’t deny that there is something supernatural at work and that Sing has unwittingly caught the eye of the rumored beast who roams the forests at night.

The novel begins with an ominous chapter taking place in the second person (which is something that I personally have never seen before in a novel) that involves an eerie crow and sets a dark tone for the novel. From that point on the story is told mainly from Sing’s point of view and shows her struggle between being the singer she wants to be, the singer her mother was and the singer her fathers want to shaper her into. Most of the novel is written mysteriously. When there aren’t chapters in Sing’s point of view they either reveal the secrets behind who Nathan Daysmoor is or tell a story from the point of view of the Felix.

Strange Sweet Song is amazingly well-written in almost every way. Rule’s writing style is clear and flows perfectly. There’s enough details when they’re needed, the dialogue was realistic and apart from all of that (and this being a novel about an opera singer) there’s still a dark undertone beneath it all. Instantly I compared it to multiple authors like Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare and a few others whose names I can’t recall at the moment. The point I’m trying to make is that Strange Sweet Song was brilliantly written and deserves so much recognition for it.

There’s so much character growth present in the novel as well as relationships being formed. Sing does end up in a relationship with one of the first male characters we’re introduced to in the novel however as the novel progresses that changes and another character is presented as a love interest (and I can’t say too much about this because of cursed spoilers!). All I can say that about the latter bit is that I wanted them together from the start and holy when they ended up together—it was perfect.

I would recommend Strange Sweet Song to any readers who just want a novel that will be addictive from start to finish. Any readers who want a dark novel that mixes teen fiction and the paranormal together will love it. Any readers who want a progressive romance and a progressive plot with mystery, secrets and a strong female lead need to read Strange Sweet Song. 


Photo Cred - Author Website

Photo Cred – Author Website

I write in a studio apartment filled with books, cats, pictures of cats, musical instruments, video games, records, and a macaw who refuses to say, “Shiver me timbers!” despite the fact that it would be the best thing ever. When I’m not writing, I may be found playing Triple Yahtzee with my grandmother or singing in the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops, with whom I have also been a soloist.

I earned my MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I also have a BA in voice from the University of New Hampshire. I am represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook


  1. This book has such a gorgeous cover and I love the title. Very helpful review, I’m definitely going to check it out!

  2. I typically pass up singers books, but I like that you said it is dark and addictive. That completely makes me want to read this one

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  3. This sounds like something I would really enjoy, I’m going to go check it…loved the review!

Leave a comment

Your comments make us smile!