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The Soprano Sorceress (Spellsong Cycle #1)

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,726 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
Anna Marshall wishes she could be anywhere byt Ames, Iowa, and anything but a singer and music instructor at Iowa State University. She makes her wish at exactly the wrong time, though, because on Erde a travel sorceress has called for a powerful sorceress - and gets Anna, angry, confused, and thinking that this is not what she had in mind.
On Erde, Anna is no longer just a
Hardcover, 509 pages
Published June 28th 2001 by Tor Books (first published February 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dee W.
Nov 12, 2007 Dee W. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nightmarish! The book in itself was not terrible, if I can find the second and third book cheap I will certainly pick it up. What bothered me about the book was the detail. Let's just start with detail.

When a book starts like this "A dozen musicians sit on stoold under the oblong white silk awning held in place by four sturdy poles, each pole anchored by heavy cords to a pair of stakes. The silk flutters slightly in the almost still air that carries the scent of dust and horses."

The detail kill
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 21, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
Modesitt, one of those writers who can turn out multiple books and maintain high quality story telling. Sometimes "every book" in a series may not be "the best", but I haven't found one that wasn't at least "pretty good".

Anna's life in Iowa, as music instructor and singer isn't a happy one. Family, career, and all are a disappointment and pain...then on the way sing at a fund raiser...she "changes worlds". Unfortunately, at least at first, things don't seem to be going a whole lot better.

I reall
Mar 17, 2009 Lynzie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I love music and I honestly thought that music as magic was a great idea. In the end, that was the only good thing about the book. I love detail, but I don't need useless detail. Too much of it (and yes, there is way too much of it in this book!) bogs the story down. When you not only put too much detail but also repeat said detail numerous times... well, you've got a trainwreck, and that is the only reason I bothered to finish the book.

What little plot actually exi
May 25, 2008 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the concept that singing and music could be the source of Magic, and used as a very effective weapon. Also appreciated that the Heroine was not a typical warrior type, that she was infact a middle aged woman, who helps to shape the new world that she finds herself in. That her confidence level increases and she becomes a powerful person, by using her talents for improvement and defense.
Apr 13, 2009 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this series!
Quinn Jeor
WARNING:I'm writing this review for the series as a whole, not just book 1.

I'm a big fan of Modesitt. I've read all of the Recluce novels as well as the Corean Chronicles. This series, however, just hurt. He always has stronger female characters in his books, but he kind of dives off the deep end with this series. He seems to turn into a self-loathing apologist in this series. The overarching theme in this series is that women are downtrodden and men are evil, tyrannical dictators by-and-large.
The Soprano Sorceress is one of those books that, at first, you want to put down. It took awhile to get interesting and I almost gave up on it. The only reason I didn't was because of the fact that I absolutely hate to put a book down unfinished. Now I'm glad I stuck with it. It wasn't anywhere near one of my favorites, but I plan on going straight on to the second book in the series, so that ought to say something. Anna is a strong yet conflicted woman, who has always had someone trying to 'dir ...more
Sep 22, 2015 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly enjoyable

L.E. Modesitt writes another fabulous story. I greatly enjoyed the story of a mature woman being thrust in unimaginable circumstances. The magic system is original and enjoyable.
Sep 07, 2009 Alana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a little while to properly get into the story and plot of this book as I did not find the style of writing particularly engaging but once I did I found it quite enjoyable. I think the book particularly appealed to me because I am a musician and could appreciate the idea of using songs to create spells and the similarities between music and magic. It would stand alone well enough as a seperate book because the ending is well rounded and does not leave too much open to continuation, yet ...more
Cynthia Wood
A lot of people have already commented on the repetative and somewhat pedestrian descriptions in the book, so I won't go over those again, except to note that I agree. I found the book a perfectly good time-passing read, not particularly thought-provoking or challenging, but entertaining.

(view spoiler)
Feb 08, 2016 Vanessa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to be bored
Ok, this book is way too long, and not in the good way: it drags. It drags worse that a slug, it would have benefited from good editing and removing 100 pages at least.
And please: the main character suddenly possess this awesome kind of magic but, for all her experience since she is a grow up woman, my little sister coul have come up with better ways of using it.
At some point almost every man tries to rape or is attracted to the protagonist, and as if it wasn't annoying enough, here:" "But it's
Jan 20, 2011 Joy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Left Brain writer. Going from a Patricia McKillip story to this was like leaving a gourmet meal to eat Fast Food. Rather presumptive to see the author's name in 2" letters on the cover, he's NOT that good. 200 pages in was pure boredom.

Not going to go on to the 3 others in this series unless I'm really bored.
Nov 24, 2012 Matthew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I am a big fan of the fantasy genre and I think this is the first fantasy book I have ever given up on. It came highly recommended but I just didn't enjoy it. I read through about 180 pages which is how long it took for the book to actually develop to the first major scene. It was just very slow moving, I couldn't identify with the characters, and I didn't enjoy the writing style.
Aug 20, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this one several times before, but I needed a shot of Modesitt and decided the easiest way was to re-read this trilogy (well, pentology, actually).

"The Soprano Sorceress" is about finding yourself. Your true self. Anna was a talented, strong woman who had put aside her personal dreams and hopes for the family she wanted to support. Then, with the loss of her oldest, she wishes herself above the petty politics of trying to teach music at a college, above the demands of her former husban
Kat Leavis
May 07, 2015 Kat Leavis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked the combination of music and magic as one entity. The main character recently has lost her child and wishes to be anywhere but here thus transported (with that wish and via a spell) to a new hot and mysterious world. Did I mention hot? Because there will be a million and one references of how hot in comparison to Earth.While I don't mind detailed accounts of fantasy worlds I did think that the mention of it being so hot was a bit over done. The main character Anna takes being thrust into ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I keep coming back to. Anytime I want to read something but don't have anything in mind, for some reason I pick this one up. It is not a "fantasy" fantasy. It's not filled with romance, perfect scenery and a happy ending. It is reality set in a fictional world. And that is why I like it.

A lot of the reviews on this book rant and rave about how the concept of music magic was totally destroyed or abused, and the whole book was ruined with the description. I completely disagree, and
Mar 23, 2007 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I did like this book, but by the second and third book in the series the main character is starting to get a little annoying. The idea is really cool, though. Worth at least checking out of the library or picking up at a used bookstore.
Jay Hendricks
Oct 14, 2007 Jay Hendricks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
Shelves: fantasy
What happens when a female musician gets pulled from our world into one where music is magic? Read this book to find out possibilities. Intriguing how it explores not only the magic of the world but gender rolls in a fantasy setting.
Jan 27, 2008 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A new and interesting take on Magic in the world. Modesitt brings to life a world world where song and music have great power. I really enjoyed each of the books, and was never let down by this vision of magic.
Jan 25, 2009 Kent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting new world, and I have read most of what Modesitt has written in his other works. I will say that for this one it is sure dangerous to be an associate of the lead.
Anna M.
Aug 06, 2015 Anna M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-again
This book had so much potential. The idea behind it was different and so I took the chance but was very disappointed. Everything that happens is very predictable and some of the dialogue, both internal and external, was so out of place it jolted me out of the book. I am the kind of full immersion reader who forgets reality while absorbed in a book and the fact that the style and personalities were inconsistent was particularly off-putting. The characters are also very shallow, the only character ...more
Breaunna Duwadi
Mar 01, 2015 Breaunna Duwadi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most feminist book I have ever read. I had to look up the author to confirm that he was male. If Mr. Modesitt Jr. was/is (too lazy to research) married to a lady, his wife would have been (is) one lucky gal. This man is one of those rare and awesome male authors that understands the female mind well enough to write first-person viewpoints in a book where the main character is female. Not only is the main character female, but this is one of the few books where the main character is in her mi ...more
Sep 18, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book just after it was released. I picked it up 15 years later and found that I enjoyed it as much the second time. Modesitt creates a believable world, similar to ours but with that slight difference that he builds his story around. The characters are well enough developed that I was able to compare them with people I have known. I know that some people complain that the descriptions are lengthy, but I disagree. Modesitt is setting the stage, with just enough information for u ...more
May 31, 2015 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I bought it on a whim a few years ago but never did get around to reading it, untill now. While the story seems cheesy when viewed on its own, the beautiful flowing style of Modesitt makes this an absolute joy to read; especially since the protagonist seems to be completely aware of how unlikely her situation and responses can be. I also really enjoy the feminist streak in this book, which is somthing I have not previously encountered in a fantasy novel by a male author.

I dev
Jun 21, 2008 Yavonn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls
great for girls. promotes the value of a kiss as well.
Oct 07, 2008 Shawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a while to get into, but a good addictive read.
I feel very unsure about my rating. On the one hand, I agree with the reviews that describe the "ponderous detail." Not only does the author give sensory details at all times, but the author repeats the exact *same* sensory detail, and specific scenes, and even the exact phrasing of the narrator's summary of how she arrived in this magical world, over and over again. The numerous references to heat, travel dust, the protagonist's constant struggle with her weight, and her references to "needing ...more
Jan 19, 2012 kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let's just say I have no desire to read the second one. The alacrity of the main character's adjustment to her circumstances was bizarre enough to pull the reader out of the novel. I actually stopped reading it for a bit because it was so disgustingly unbelievable.

Otherwise the book was just ok. I was so bored of listening to the author talk about how THIRSTY the main character was. I mean, there are definitely times when I appreciate an author's attempt to show the more visceral parts of chara
Ariana Deralte
Jan 29, 2012 Ariana Deralte rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to enjoy this book because the premise of a singer being transported to a world where singers are the wizards was a great idea. Unfortunately, the pace and repetitiveness of the book really brought my enthusiasm down until I finally gave up about half way through the book.

The sad thing was that half way through the book the only interesting thing that had happened was a battle. Instead, we are treated to a litany of complaints as the main character lives and travels - she has a constan
Kelley Ross
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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L. E. (Leland Exton) Modesitt, Jr. is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels. He is best known for the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, lived in Washington, D.C. for 20 years, then moved to New Hampshire in 1989 where he met his wife. They relocated to Cedar City, Utah in 1993.

He has worked as a Navy pilot, lifeguard, delivery boy, u
More about L.E. Modesitt Jr....

Other Books in the Series

Spellsong Cycle (5 books)
  • The Spellsong War (Spellsong Cycle #2)
  • Darksong Rising (Spellsong Cycle #3)
  • The Shadow Sorceress (Spellsong Cycle #4)
  • Shadowsinger (Spellsong Cycle #5)

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