Book Reviews for Songbird

I didn’t just read Songbird. I devoured it. When's the next one out? I'm telling my friends to go buy their own copies because I'm not parting with mine.” Yvonne

GriffinSong Trilogy…two worlds collide in a compelling world-building tale that brings new light to difference and ability.” Keren Heenan (author of Cleave, Griffith Review Novella Project 2019)

Once started, it’s hard to stop! From the moment I read the prologue I was hooked. Songbird was an absolute delight to read and I had to make myself put it down to do essential daily stuff. Music is the thread that holds the story together for me and I was thoroughly swept away by it. J Victoria Michael weaves a most captivating story set in another world, in another time. Or is it? Best read it and make up your own mind!” SuzeH

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Buy Songbird and you won’t want to put it down until you’ve finished! J Victoria Michael has delivered an interesting and perhaps more truthful look at "world-shift" fantasy than I’ve read for some time. Her protagonist is far from perfect. Yet, how would we respond to a world that denies our personal truth, while loading expectation upon expectation on our shoulders at the same time? I found Irenya’s responses to her situation genuine as she finds her way through a confusing mire of differing cultural and social rules and unknown history.


"I thoroughly enjoyed this read and look forward to the rest of the series. Michael’s writing style is fluid. Her world building is intense and vast. I love the detail and depth of each character and location, the different cultures and the intricate social mores created. Irenya’s Gift of Power is reminiscent of The Belgariad series (David Eddings 1980s) where singing described in such a powerful and loving way that it should have been a “power” (missed opportunity there, I guess). Michael has not missed the opportunity. She’s taken it, connected it with a young woman’s troubled adolescence, and imbued it with layers of yearning and meaning.
Buy Songbird on Friday and you won't want to put it down all weekend.” Trish

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I really liked it. Songbird presents us with the tale of a modern woman who goes to a more magical world and what she must do to come back home to her infant son. I just adore how this book develops, the friendships Irenya makes along the way and the narrative is so good too. I am also glad Irenya's over 30 years old, if only because I can see myself more in Irenya than I do in younger protagonists.

 

All the characters were so unique and lively, flawed and human as we all are, and all of them saw Irenya in different ways. The way her relationship with Elaaron develops is worthy of mention as well, like two broken pieces that slowly fit together and share their sorrows. Although they both need to sort their feelings asap. What will happen next has me shaking with anticipation and longing. I need book 2 right now. This book is nothing like the fantasy I've read before, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Isekai genre. You won't be disappointed.” Annie

Wow, this book was really good!! Following Irenya's journey into the fantasy world that she falls into during this book was so engaging and incredible. I need to get my hands on book 2 because that ending was such a cliff hanger and oh boy do I need a lot of questions answered!
The characters in this book were so full of life and personality and I love them with all my heart, genuinely. It was really nice to see their flaws and their suffering as well as triumphing in their victories. I really felt Irenya's pain at the start of the book and Elaaron is just amazing. I love that man so much but also, he needs to be nicer to Irenya and sort out his feelings. The other characters like Aeryl and her husband were so wonderful too and I just felt like everyone had a distinctive feel to them which was great.
 

The plot was so well devised and as I have already said, I need the next book like right now!! The journey of discovery and acceptance Irenya goes on is so compelling, I just want to keep reading it and not stop. I have so many questions that still need answers as well as a lot of plot points I want resolved so I will definitely be tracking down the second book ASAP. The plot was well paced too, I didn't feel like it was lagging at any point or going too fast, it felt perfect. The writing style was delightful and the world building wonderful, an intricate and world, one that I want to know more about!” Livy

It is a very interesting novel. Very creative idea and an emotional story. I like how the main character has a child who she needs to get back to even though she doesn’t know how to get back home, since she miraculously transported herself to another world. Her emotions are also conflicted because she learns to care about the people who are from the new world.
The story is full of relatable characters and events.

 

Some parts made me reflect on things in my own life. Betrayal, love, loneliness... the main character goes through so much and I can’t help feeling sorry for her. It just makes you want to know how the story ends and fills your mind with an endless amount of theories. I really want to know what happens next.” Nerissa

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In pre-Christmas rush Melbourne, in the midst of a panic attack, Irenya falls through a glass panel into another realm. Treated with suspicion by the inhabitants of Dar Orien, Irenya's only wish is to find her way back to her toddler son and her partner.


What stops her from returning? Why are people afraid of her? How can she ever get back?


Dar Orien is a fantasy world complete with medieval-style clothing, weapons and values. Its magic system was recently disrupted by a vicious invasion that destroyed an important castle of the ruling archprince Elaaron, killing hundreds including Elaaron's wife and one of his children. Could Irenya be involved in the attacks on Dar Orien?
 

The juxtaposition of the everyday world with another, with characters moving between them, is an effective storytelling technique that allows the reader to reflect on that intriguing question: what if? Sometimes, as in for example the Outlander series, the two worlds are separated by time, although they are part of a continuous historical world. In other stories, the slips between worlds occur through the veil of magic (the Daggerspell Deverry series is a good example), by space travel (Dr Who), or as alternate realities separated by momentary choices (like Sliding Doors).
 

In Songbird, the alternative universe is delightfully complex, characters have multiple motivations, and Irenya has to deal with her apparent Gift and the distrust of those around her. Songbird is intelligent fantasy for grown-ups - don't look here for sad and tired shortcuts like gratuitous violence, sex or foul language. This book captures and engages you with strong characters and a fascinating plot. I'm waiting eagerly for the next instalment.
 

A promising series for readers of quality fantasy and paranormal adventures.” Clare Rhoden

Irenya O’Neil, an ordinary woman living in the 20th century, suffers a panic attack when she visits a grocery store late at night and finds herself in an unknown place. Turns out that Irenya ended up in a fantasy world, unknowingly using her magic to transport herself through a mirror into the archprince’s palace. As she struggles to come to terms with what has happened, she is dealing with the hatred and confusion from those around her, while also trying to understand her magic power.

The archprince begins to pressure her to control her magic since he believes that she might be able to save his world, Dar Orien. Desperate to make it back to her child and partner, she discovers that music is how she can learn to control her feelings and her power, which possibly could help transport her back through the mirror to her own world. Can she save Dar Orien and return to her world? You’ll have to read Songbird to find out.
 

This is a well-written book. The descriptions and prose allow you to picture everything that is happening. Her characters have real emotions, are very likeable, and relatable. You can feel the heartache of the mother separated from her young child, and her desperation to get back to him. You feel Irenya’s passion when it comes to music. It was also nice to read about a character struggling with anxiety. Mental illness is a very important issue that should be talked about, and seen more prevalently, in daily lives. 
Altogether, Songbird: Griffingsong Trilogy#1 was a good read, and I will read the rest of the trilogy as it comes out.” T.M.

Book Reviews for Griffinsinger

So excited!!! Did a reread of books 1 & 2 and loved it even more! I have enjoyed Irenya, love how her confidence is growing along with the story.” Tanya

This is the second book in a trilogy and while I really enjoyed the book and how it opened up the world of Dar Orien I felt like the plot could have advanced a bit more instead of saving all of the consequences for book 3. Especially after the epic ending that book 1 had. That being said, this book was incredible and I cannot wait to see how it all ends in the final book of the trilogy.


The characters were, just like the first book, incredibly well written and I love how they all have so many layers of complexity and depth to them

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Irenya is an amazing protagonist and I love seeing her inner thoughts about the world that she has found herself in and as she gets involved in all the politics of Dar Orien. In this book, she seems to have found herself, which obviously correlates to her being more firmly established in the world of Dar Orien. Leachim and Aeryl and Elaaron were just as brilliant as the first book and I love seeing them and their influence on Irenya and the world around them. Again, these characters have such depth to them and I look forward to seeing how they develop in the final book of the series.

The plot was well-paced and kept me engaged but I felt like it was more focused on setting up the next book for most of the story. However, we did get an exciting development when Irenya managed to go back to her world and find out what was going on there. That part of the book was incredibly interesting as she had to deal with so much and it revealed several of the unanswered questions from the first book, which I liked. And of course, it set up the next book wondrously with a great cliff-hanger, however not as dramatic as the one from the first book. This book has me very excited for whatever is going to come next because I know that it is going to be incredibly dramatic and I have ways I want certain sub-plots to win.

 

The writing was wonderful. It held my interest the entire way through and I am very excited for the next book. The world and intrigue are created wonderfully by J. Victoria Michael and I cannot wait to see what happens next!” Livy

I really enjoyed this book, it’s not often I like a sequel more than the first in the series, but this was certainly one of those times! The concept is thoroughly enjoyable and if there were any holes in the theory, I didn't notice as I was swept up in the tale. I love the suspended tension between the characters and the internal grapples with sense of identity and place in the world/s. I was impressed with the cliff hanger ending and hungry for the upcoming third instalment.
 

The treatment of Mikey's character is very well done. It’s not easy to write characters who grapple with reality and emotional instability, and to make them creatures not to be pitied, but to be accepted without judgement. The language of his speech is galactic for sure! For me, it’s him that makes this book something distinctive, dare I even say, original.
 

I would have liked to have seen a character list in the front as sometimes I became confused with the names. But that didn't at all ruin my experience of the rich and medievalesque fantasy world I felt immersed in.
For those who love character tension, very real feeling main characters who are easy to relate to, seeing mental health explored in genuine ways, stories of empowerment and fantasy worlds that grapple with governance, this book is certainly one you want to read! This is a rich journey to undertake, and I can’t wait to see what our heroine does next and how she develops herself.” Lillian