Ragesong: Awakening, by J. R. Simmons

ragesong awakening

I love surprises. I especially love good surprises. And I really, really like it when that good surprise turns out to be only the first of several. That’s the case for Awakening. I loved the book, and it’s the first of a series. Book two, Uprising, just released in June. I’m getting it.

Since I’ve already spent too many hours reading this week and not enough time working on my own book, I’m going to paste in part of the Amazon blurb:

Jake starts his first day of junior high completely oblivious to the fact that he has been chosen for something incredible. That same afternoon, he learns that he has been marked as one with the power to save an entire kingdom. Through the course of his journey, Jake discovers that his advanced musical abilities are peculiarly connected to a mysterious power known as Ragesong. Joined by a shy, young girl with similar musical talents and two Changelings that hold a fierce loyalty to their homeland and king, Jake must learn to harness this ability in order to survive the dangers of a hostile new world.

This was a wild ride! I know there are many alternate world fantasy adventures on the market, but this one has an edge. Sometimes I make an allowance for a trace of clunkiness in the prose if the story is compelling, but this one had prose as sharp as a knife edge and a plot to go with it. And the dialogue? Spunky, quirky, light, and exactly right. That touch of lightness is necessary. It balances out a series of events that could be overwhelming to readers under ten. That’s because Jake is called on to battle, not monsters, but an army of men. There is killing involved, and some of it’s done by a junior higher. That is my one and only qualm. On the other hand, this world is ruled by the most evil of villains, and it is kill or be killed. It’s a battle for re-conquest. The violence is not gratuitous, it’s often video game-like, but it’s there.

This book will hold special appeal for gamers as the main character is an avid gamer himself and often references them in the text. I am not a gamer. I am a mom who is tired of monitoring video games, tired of redirecting children to alternate activities, and who often wishes they’d never been invented. However, if this book can hook a few of those kids and turn them into readers even for a while, I’ll gladly suspend my own disinterest and shout out that particular attribute. But regardless of whether the reader games or not, this is a finely told story with a superb dialogue and a twist of imagination. Recommended for ages 10+

Find it on Amazon:

Ragesong: Awakening
Ragesong: Uprising

6 thoughts on “Ragesong: Awakening, by J. R. Simmons

  1. I really appreciate your attention to violence in this review, and to “lightness” (vs. clunkiness) of dialogue. Although I’m not a mom of youngsters any more, those two attributes are exactly what I would be looking for in choosing books with my kids.

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