Ragesong: Uprising (Ragesong, 2), by J. R. Simmons

ragesong uprisingI read book one of this series last fall and loved it. (Read my review here.) Because I was also furiously pounding out Ella Wood, it took me some time to return to the series. With my project completed and the third Ragesong book just about ready to hit the virtual shelves, I picked up book two. It’s every bit as good as book one.

In book one, Jake and Samantha find themselves drawn to the world of Fermicia where they help free the fallen king Klyle. Then they are sent home to grow in their mastery of music, which inhances their mystical power of Ragesong in Fermicia, while Klyle begins a rebellion against the evil usurper, Brael. In book two, after the passage of three years they return. The rebellion, however, isn’t fairing too well. Jake and Sam must help Klyle unite the Southern lands.

This installment introduces a wonderful array of new characters and new cultures. The danger is weighty, giving the new mission a trememdous sense of urgency. Brael is a horrible, violent, bloodthirsty tyrant bent on subjugation and the destruction of all who oppose him. And like the first book, this one holds some heavy moments of violence and war. They aren’t unnecessarily graphic, but a lot of people die, and the kids are in on the killing. But the values the alliance fights for–freedom, life, goodness–gives their actions a nobility and purpose. Loyalty, honor, and friendship are held in high esteem. And the tiny romance budding between Jake and Sam adds a lightness to this troubled world.

As I said in my book one review, this is self-published work far ahead of the majority. I’d set it against anything the traditional publishing world put out. The prose is crisp, the story compelling, the dialogue spot on. Very impressive. I absolutely love discovering these standouts and being able to credit the fine work and professionalism to a self-published author. Highly recommended for ages 10+

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