Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Soprano Sorceress (Spellsong Cycle, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Soprano Sorceress (Spellsong Cycle, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Soprano Sorceress (Spellsong Cycle #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,183 Ratings  ·  123 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Soprano Sorceress, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Soprano Sorceress

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 29, 2009 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
Dee W.
Nov 12, 2007 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
Mar 17, 2009 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
Shane Groff
There are many things I could criticize about this book, but omg, I get it, she has headaches, she needs to eat a lot, the apples are rubbery, the wine is sour, but at least the bread isn't too bad. Oh, and it's hot.
Ian Prest
Mar 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars, rounded down.

Very boring, and it had lousy pacing... the first 80% was extremely slow and almost nothing of interest happened (except a lot of eating and drinking, and ruminating on how much eating and drinking she was doing), then the final act was exceedingly fast.

The magic system is also pretty ridiculous, as well as being both exceptionally overpowered and lacking in a clear rule-system.

Finally, none of the characters---including the main character---were particularly likable.
Jacob Heiner
This book is full of flat characters who have little emotional impact or lifelike responses. The main character spends about half of her lines and actions complaining about how women are treated as inferiors in this world. The magic system has potential, but did not achieve it. I might read the next one to see if things get better, because there really is potential here. Unfortunately, it remains potential through this book.
Ariana Deralte
Jan 23, 2012 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
Oct 23, 2011 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.
May 25, 2008 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this series!
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2017
Ya'll this took me like a year to read.

All I can say is that Anna is a badass.
Feb 03, 2016 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
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
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.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I freely admit to a biased rating. The protagonist of this novel very much reads like a combination of a dear friend and my voice teacher. The musician's concerns she has, and the academic politics she faces are absolutely real and serve as a perfect anchor to a fantasy story about an opera singer sucked from our world to a fantasy land.
Their are some pacing issues which keep this novel from 5 stars. While some scenes do seem to drag on longer than necessary, the plot is solid and includes both
Aug 20, 2009 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
Jan 15, 2011 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.
Catherine Sullivan
I tried to read this years ago... and this time through wasn't any better. I got tired of the "men are evil, women are abused" line half way through the book. I also prefer my dialogue to be actual sentences, rather than snippets. I like this author's other series, but I won't be reading the rest of this one.
Jan 27, 2008 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.
Jay Hendricks
Oct 14, 2007 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.
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.
Mar 23, 2007 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.
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a while to get into, but a good addictive read.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls
great for girls. promotes the value of a kiss as well.
Jan 25, 2009 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.
Seth Wagerman
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is the writing good?
Modesitt, for me, is a better 'storyteller' than he is a 'writer.' His writing has improved over the years, however, and this book is well-written, if not maybe inspiring to me as a writer myself.

Are the characters rich and believable?
Moderately. They are, however, very likable - which is also important. The protagonist's reaction to her impossible situation is highly unbelievable, but that didn't stop me from wanting to see her prevail. Secondary characters were sufficient b
George M
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Now I remember why I haven't read Modesitt for 30 years. He sets up the scenes in the wrong damned tense. It will seriously kick you out of your suspension of disbelief groove as a jarring "what the hell is he doing?" moment at the start of each chapter. Heavy on the foreshadowing, flat out ham handed on driving home the feminist theme over and over and over.

Just pretty much clumsy overall. Instead of a thoughtful exploration of "what would happen if you tried to inflict more modern day liberal
Mike S
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-sci-fi
This book is terrible, it is very slow, too long by half, spends 90% of the time on shallow, immature, cliche feminist observations, reactions, and overall angst that have very little to do with reality, and a meager 10% of its time on sorcery. The sorcery is okay, not what I would call well developed, which was a big letdown. The toxic femininity is so annoying that it became a curiosity - more than the plodding story line which was mostly lost in the feminist mire - so I skimmed those sections ...more
Allow me to be surprised that sometimes, I rather enjoy things that I think might be stupid. "Theme magic" bothers me a little or a lot, depending on the story. I was all set to not like a song magic story, but this was really a book about feminism, and how it matches up with reality. Sure, makes no sense so far ... but I kept reading. And was reasonably impressed. A turn-of-the-century (21st) woman ends up unexpectedly in a medieval world. Not a surprising story line, but a credible heroine aft ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 Stars. So overall I liked the world and the characters, however it took me a really long time to get used to the writing style and the pacing. I am not totally sure if I will picking up the next book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Loneliest Magician
  • The Wiz Biz (Wiz, #1-2)
  • A Breach in the Watershed (Watershed Trilogy, #1)
  • The Warrior's Bond (The Tales of Einarinn #4)
  • Hunter's Death (The Sacred Hunt, #2)
  • The Warslayer: The Incredibly True Adventures of Vixen the Slayer, the Beginning
  • Owlflight (Owl Mage Trilogy, #1)
  • The Hanging Mountains (Books of the Cataclysm, #3)
  • The Barbed Coil
  • A Wizard in Chaos (Rogue Wizard, #6)
  • Goddess of the Ice Realm (Lord of the Isles, #5)
  • The Wyrmling Horde (Runelords, #7)
  • The Ruins of Ambrai (Exiles, #1)
  • Trek to Kraggen-Cor (The Silver Call, #1)
  • The Road to Underfall (Loremasters of Elundium, #1)
  • The Kingless Land (Band of Four, #1)
  • Fortress of Eagles (Fortress, #2)
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)

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • The Silent Shield (Kingfountain #5)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Lines of Departure (Frontlines, #2)
    $3.99 $2
  • Gateway to Fourline (The Fourline Trilogy, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Scourge of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Nightstalkers (Area 51: The Nightstalkers, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Book of Truths (Area 51: The Nightstalkers, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rift (Area 51: Nightstalkers, #3)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Blight of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood, #2)
    $3.99 $2
  • The Forsaken Throne (Kingfountain #6)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Caraval (Caraval, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Rebel Genius
    $6.38 $2.99
  • Time Patrol (Area 51: The Nightstalkers, #4)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Hour (Midnighters, #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The King's Traitor (Kingfountain, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Insignia (Insignia, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Hollow Crown (Kingfountain #4)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Moving Mars
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Blood Rose Rebellion
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ocean of Storms
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Space Between Heartbeats (Betwixt #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Salt Roads
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Final Trade (The Dominion Trilogy, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Flamecaster (Shattered Realms, #1)
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Wool: The Graphic Novel
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Wretched of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood, #1)
    $3.99 $2.00
  • The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Timequake
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Thief's Daughter (Kingfountain, #2)
    $3.99 $2
  • The Queen's Poisoner (Kingfountain, #1)
    $3.99 $2.00
“It’s often hard to consider the future when you are struggling with the present,” 0 likes
“some people learned only from what they experienced personally.” 0 likes
More quotes…