Anne Chaconas's Reviews > Song Of Eidolons

Song Of Eidolons by Jessica McHugh
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's review
Jun 29, 2012

it was amazing
Read from June 10 to 26, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I should get it out of the way right from the start: I love Jessica McHugh’s writing style. I love it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that she doesn’t talk down to her readers. She doesn’t dumb down her vocabulary and she isn’t afraid to make you think. McHugh’s writing is exceptional on its own; when you read it with a dictionary and an encyclopedia on hand, you actually learn. And, even more amazingly, you enjoy it.

Song of Eidolons is an exceptional novel. It weaves together folklore, fairy tales, myths, fantasy, and paranormal elements into one seamless journey in prose. It jumps back and forth in time, and you’re with the story every step of the way. McHugh has a way of whirling you around what could be a chaotic and confusing story while never letting you fall or get lost in the tale.

The characters in Song of Eidolons are thoroughly developed, and McHugh creates voices for them so strong and individual that dialogue tags are almost unnecessary to know who is speaking. We care intensely for her protagonists–agonize with them, cheer for them, want to see them fall, root them on to the win. Delaney, the primary character, goes through a magnificent transformation and realization, and we’re right there with her, shocked at her discoveries, frustrated at her inabilities, frightened at her past and her future. She grows, becomes stronger, finds her voice as the story goes on–and we’re enthralled, cheering her on every step of the way. Secondary characters are just as thoroughly developed, giving Eidolons almost a soap opera-like feel, not in scope but in impact–you know these people, you’ve been watching them for years, you wait expectantly for their next move, and then cheer (or boo, as the case may be) when they take action.

The villain is deliciously villainous, the heroes and heroines delightfully heroic. Everyone else falls into place like an exquisite game of Tetris that you always–always–win.

McHugh wields her pen exceptionally well when it comes to descriptions, painting a crystal-clear picture of locations, feelings, wardrobes, and thoughts. We can picture exactly where we are at every moment in the story, yet the narrative, like a well-made soufflé, never feels heavy. The descriptions add to the tale, rather than detract from the action. We go from Delaney’s grandfather’s house to the Scottish moors to the English countryside to Rome–and with every change of venue, we feel the cozy smell of built-in bookshelves, the frigid Scot wind, the overcast scent of Briton fields, the uneven cobbles of Italian streets. We feel–not merely read–the characters’ betrayals, excitements, frustrations, disbelief.

When the action is taking place, it moves at breakneck speed–yet still manages to build suspense and tension, and deliver a thoroughly satisfying denouement.

Putting Eidolons down is not an option except to sleep; you will want to reunite with your old friends as soon as chance allows.

It takes a special kind of author to draw readers in so intensely that they emerge from the tale exhausted and drained, yet almost unbearably pleased. That’s exactly what McHugh has done with Song of Eidolons. It is a job exceptionally well done.
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Reading Progress

06/19/2012 page 36
06/26/2012 page 218 "Done! Review forthcoming on Indie Author Book Reviews!"

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