Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard | Rating: ★★★★★  

If you’re new to my reviews and don't know, let me catch you up to speed: I am in love with words written by A.G. Howard. I mean. Obviously. There, I said it. I’m almost positive that I would read an instruction manual titled How to Unclog Your Toilet With Your Pinky Finger if A.G. Howard wrote it (although, Anita, please don’t take this as an invitation to write said instructions--that was a weird statement even for me and I am sure I should talk to a therapist about it or whatever and I'm probably bluffing.) and I'd give it about four-hundred stars out of five. I'm not really kidding, the woman could write "Hello, I'm A.G. Howard," and I'd probably give it the highest rating imaginable after just casually passing her my wallet. 

Needless to say, I went into The Architect of Song with high hopes that only a few modern day authors have earned from me. I was excited, firstly, because of its plot and the fact that it wasn't a young adult novel. It's exciting seeing one of your favourite authors expand through the genres and in A.G. Howard's case she does so effortlessly and proves how severely underrated she is. There was something instantly classic about The Architect of Song that felt familiar yet undeniably its own--readers who love prose that is highly detailed, indulgent and poetic, will positive swoon over the glorious way this story is told. 


At this point, I should clarify that I'm not exaggerating my love of this story just because she is one of my favourite authors. As much as I loved the Splintered series (it's one of my favourites and always will be, mind you) I think that this is her best work to date. Watching everything unfold was fantastic but her writing is at its most breathtaking and I couldn't help but to read it slowly because I did not want it to end. 

That being said, the romances! AH, yes. There is a love triangle in this one but I can't stress enough that she does romance and love triangles like no other. In so many ways this one is very uniquely paced. It has this supernatural element that is both intriguing and moving which I have never seen portrayed quite as beautifully as The Architect of Song. Because of this, it adds this extra edge of quality and delight and emotion that other novels lack. Even moreso, while it is classified as New Adult, the story is more sensual than sexually driven and in so many ways, that's why this is such a standout. 

Here's what you can expect from The Architect of Song, besides what I've gone and listed above: 

Heartbreak. There's no getting around it. It isn't the unbearable kind, though and while it will leave you reeling, it will also warm your heart or soul or, I don't know, face. This is obvious when you factor in that a main character is a ghost who has been dead for quite some time, and with whom our leading lady falls for first. Beyond that, there's tragedy and death and many, many twists and turns to look into as the plot thickens. I won't spoil it, but it certainly left my heart equally cracking and soaring. 

Our leading lady Juliet will win your heart, She gets shit done in my eyes and is incredibly wise, likable, funny and badass. I would say it is less badass-in-your-face and more subtle; which makes you appreciate her strength more and more as she is developed and her relationships play out. You know what I'm saying? She strikes me as a little bit of everything and that's what makes her warm and obtainable. 

Disabilities and historical accuracies. I appreciate what A.G. did with this and how she portrayed disability in the timeline that it's set. I'm not going to say that people won't see it is flawed and it is what it is. But, I liked that some characters each had a disability they were working through and the way it was added to the plot, but not defining of the character. Juliet, for example, is deaf.

A twist in the common brothers loving the same girl trope. Nicolas and Hawk are twin brothers who fall in love with the same girl, Juliet. I thought the back stories were so interesting and the fact that one brother was alive while the other is merely a ghost, made the trope less cringe-worthy. Actually, it was not going to be cringe-worthy to begin with; A.G. Howard is a rare type of author who creates love triangles that are lovable and easy to ship. In matters of the heart, no author expresses it quite as romantically as her and I'm just stating a simple fact. 

Fascinating side characters. There aren't as many as you'd expect but each one is very important to the plot or the characters involved. I'd have liked to know more about many but they still were wonderful additions to the cast of characters that you'll be just as attached to them as the leads. 

Twists, twists and more twists. I saw the massive twist coming before it did but that didn't make it any less fun to see it unfold and make the decision of who owns Juliet's heart at the end of the story. I thought it was a delight and is certainly tied into the title, the disabilities and so much more. That's what I loved most about the twists as they came and what foreshadowed it in the previous chapters all the way to the end: A.G. Howard painted a clear picture and you can just feel how thought out everything was. 

Did I love this story? Completely. I thought it was very well-written, smart, suspenseful, sensual and incredibly crafted. There's something about The Architect of Song that just tugs on your heart strings and gets the wheels of your mind turning in tune with your heartbeats. I loved every minute of it and every page. I can't wait to revisit it in the future.

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