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ARC Review: Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley

Publication Date: April 19, 2022


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.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was EVERYTHING. Gorgeous slow-burn enemies-to-friends-to-lovers f/f romance? check. Magic? check. Music? check. Beautiful, lyrical writing? check.

This book reminded me of An Enchantment of Ravens (which is probably why it’s listed as a comp title on goodreads). They both have magic swirling through the story but also a deep and abiding love of art (painting in Enchantment of Ravens and music in this case) that underpins and transforms everything. Also similar is the journey and slow blossoming of love, and the writing of each is utterly gorgeous.

The story has music and magic and mystery in spades and combined with the gorgeous writing, it’s catapulted instantly onto my favorites list. It’s SO atmospheric and you can really feel the music and the magic as the journey and mystery unspools before Sofi and Lara. I FELT things. So many things.

The way Sofi slowly came to realize that her father’s methods of teaching her were actually abuse–and that she took that abuse further upon herself–was painful but also cathartic. Her discovery that she wasn’t as alone as she thought was beautiful.

I would definitely recommend this to fans of Margaret Rogerson and Maggie Steifvater.

This is definitely one of my favorite books I’ve read this year and after reading the arc I will immediately be purchasing my own copy because I can’t not own this and I will absolutely be rereading it.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing an e-arc for review.

Favorite Quotes:

What was art if it did not come from hard work and devotion? If it was not tended to and grown in the careful pockets of one’s heart?

It was eerie how casually people donned the level of polish the Papers offered. Where others fawned over the results of Paper-made glamours, that level of calculated, pristine perfection made Sofi uncomfortable. Humans were messy and complex. It pained her that magic disguised that potential for failure with a fleeting sense of flawlessness.

This girl looked like magic, but for the first time in her life, Sofi didn’t care.

“That’s…” Laura looked unbearably sad. “Sofi, that’s not what makes you a good songwriter. You don’t have to suffer in order to create.”

“Sofi, you don’t have to hurt yourself to be worthy of pursuing your dream. You don’t have to deny pieces of yourself in order to be good. Your songs are never better than when you let yourself go. You’re a different girl when you offer yourself the freedom to merely play. No grimaces, no frostbitten toes. Just your love for the music.”

She wanted this girl and all of her sounds. Every swish of her skirt, every clearing of her throat, every noise that proved she was right there beside Sofi. She never wanted a chance to forget, wanted to ride out the rhythm of Lara’s breathing, the clack of her nails against a tabletop. Sofi wanted every single note Lara’s existence created.

She was a song Sofi couldn’t wait to learn.

“I can’t be a saint,” she moaned, raking a hand through her hair, which had begun to dry in a frizzy pouf. “I’m barely adept at being a person.”

And she had. After all, it was a sixth day.

And sixth days—like every breath Sofi had ever taken, like every dream she’d ever dreamed, like every future she’d ever imagined—had always been for music.

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