Title: The Music of the Mind
Author: Ash Adler
Publication date: November 14, 2016
Summary: Almost murdered by a dark, shadowy being, journeyman bard Finn Bran emerges with the ability to hear the harmony or discord of people’s thoughts and intentions. Seeking both to be a hero and to escape the discord he hears in people, Finn willingly goes with a fairy lady into the realm of the Fair Folk. There, his own music reveals the discord in his own soul, propelling him back into his world where he learns to master his mind from a dragon, enabling him to set off to destroy the darkness that threatens to strangle his world.
I have three words to describe this book: neat and tidy. I was so intrigued by this book. As a musician, I loved that the main character was a bard and that music played a large role in the story. I hoped for a deeply conflicted Finn traveling through a world filled with darkness and light, where adventure was sweeping and friends and foe were to be found at every turn. Instead, everything was quite neat and tidy with little tension.
The Characters: A Too Perfect Musician
Finn Bran is the main character. There are a few secondary characters, but this book is unmistakably his story alone. I quite enjoyed the dragon, whose arc made me feel sad. I also really enjoyed reading about Finn’s twin brother, but was disappointed when he seemed to just fade into the background after playing a bit of an important role for a part of the book.
If Finn were a real person, I think I would quite like him. As the main protagonist in a book, I found it harder to like his character. Finn was a little too good, a little too perfect. I like people who are very upright, who do the right things. I like characters who are much more conflicted, who carry heavy mental burdens. So I was a little frustrated by just how perfect Finn seemed to be. Everything seemed to come easily to him and, even though I’m sure his training required a great deal of work, it was written so it felt like it just came easily to him.
The World Building: Clear and Celtic
I really enjoyed the world. It had a clear Celtic feel, which I loved. I loved how detailed and organized the bards were. It felt like they were a real organization with structure. It was very different from the feel I’ve gotten from other books involving bards and minstrels where they seem to just be. This book thoroughly explained their training and how they operated.
The kingdom itself was interesting, though not necessarily unique. It was easy to identify and understand, which I appreciated, but lacked complexity. Still, it was easy to visualize and figure out so that it could support the characters and the story.
The Plot: Straightforward and Neat
I was most disappointed by the plot. Instead of a complex story involving a bard with a curse/gift trying to save his world, it was more of a man who simply experienced this curse/gift and the rest of the story fell into place. Things happened exactly when they should have and unfolded exactly as they should have. There was little to no tension and no great conflicts. It was just all very neat and tidy.
This was a relatively straightforward story. It didn’t seem quite so straightforward at the beginning, especially when Finn ended up in the kingdom of the Fair Folk, but it quickly fell into a path and never strayed from it. I liked that Finn knew where he was going and was determined to do what he had to, but there were no real wrenches thrown in, nothing to add another layer of complexity.
Overall: Interesting, But Not Impressive
I liked this book, but it didn’t really impress me. It has some good elements, but, overall, doesn’t really add anything new to the genre. I was disappointed by the simplicity and the overall overwhelming goodness of Finn’s character, but it was still a fun and easy read with interesting bits and pieces that I did enjoy.
How many cups of tea will you need?
3 cups should do nicely
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Thank you to the author, Ash Adler, for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.