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The Skylark Saga #1

The Skylark's Song

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A Saskwyan flight mechanic with uncanny luck, seventeen-year-old Robin Arianhod grew up in the shadow of a decade-long war. But the skies are stalked by the Coyote—a ruthless Klonn pilot who picks off crippled airships and retreating soldiers. And as the only person to have survived an aerial dance with Saskwya’s greatest scourge, Robin has earned his attention.

As a pilot, Robin is good. But the Coyote is better. When he shoots her down and takes her prisoner, Robin finds herself locked into a new kind of dance. The possibility of genuine affection from a man who should be her enemy has left her with a choice: accept the Coyote’s offer of freedom and romance in exchange for repairing a strange rocket pack that could spell Saskwya’s defeat, but become a traitor to her country. Or betray her own heart and escape. If she takes the rocket pack and flees, she could end the war from the inside.

All she has to do is fly.

Filled with intrigue, forbidden romance, and a touch of steampunk, The Skylark’s Song soars in this new duology from the award-winning author of The Accidental Turn Series.


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About the author

J.M. Frey

28 books145 followers
Frey is an award-winning author and lapsed academic. She spent three years as the entertainment contributor on AMI Radio's Live From Studio 5 morning show, and was an occasional talking head in documentaries and on the SPACE Channel's premier chat show InnerSPACE. She holds a BA in Dramatic Literature and an MA in Communications Culture, and has lectured at conferences and conventions all around the world. Frey is also a professional voice actor, appearing in commercial jingles and animated television shows.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 53 reviews
Profile Image for - ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads).
257 reviews92 followers
September 9, 2018
. : ☾⋆ — 3 ★


ARC provided from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thank you REUTS Publications!!)

Robin Arianhod, a mid-flight turned pilot fighting in a long running war between two countries, is the first to survive a fight against her nation’s most feared enemy pilot: the Coyote. on the cusp of her transition from flight mechanic to pilot, on her peak amongst her peers and a hero to her (race/religion-torn-ish) country, Robin is taken prisoner by the Coyote. in her captor, however, she finds depth, comfort, perhaps even romance. most importantly, though, she finds a (sort of) common cause, a joint interest, that binds them together in this decade-long war that has torn apart both of their lives.

anyway [slams fists on table] ENEMIES TO LOVERS!!! ENEMIES TO LOVERS. ENEMIES TO LOVERS...............

i quite enjoyed this one!! i’ve learned to go into books with absolutely no expectations and this one really wasn’t what i was expecting AT ALL (in a good way), and it completely blew things out the water for me. it’s not perfect, but it’s enjoyable and fun and a quick read (i swear i would’ve finished this in a day or two if it wasn’t for college) but anyway it’s definitely going to be one of those uber-underrated books that no one’s ever heard of which SUCKS because it really was a fun time!!

i think the writing was gorgeous!! J.M. Frey definitely knows what she’s doing here style-wise and you can absolutely tell. unrelated to her magnificent writing style, but i maybe had a few issues with the world building, which made for a wonky slide into the first few chapters of The Skylark’s Song because the characters were throwing around slang and slurs and country names and very specific pilot-related terms which you can’t really pick up on since you’re literally only just starting the book. it gets better as the book goes by, though, and i really do think Frey’s writing style makes up for most of it, but it does take you on a bumpy ride for the first few chapters. you are definitely, absolutely THROWN into this world without a mere second to snap on your seatbelt.

Robin is a really strong character, literally and physically. it’s very obvious that she’s been on Frey’s mind from the very beginning of the writing process because she’s extremely well fleshed out and her POV, actions, thoughts, etc., never get tiring. i absolutely LOVED reading her as a main character. the rest of the characters were a little bit meh but Robin really carries the weight of this whole story (and this entire world) on her shoulders like an absolute champ. the exception might be Wade who i SO WISH we could’ve seen more of!!! he was such a peach!!! an absolute petal!!! he was so good!!!! i formally and officially request a book written entirely in Wade’s POV don’t disappoint me @J.M. Frey

i mean i don’t think there’s anything else i can say at this point because i really enjoyed this book despite its small teeny tiny flaws but maybe that’s just me?? i’m willing to overlook all that stuff if i enjoyed myself at the end of the day because the reading experience is truly the thing that matters most to me so i’m happy to say that i’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book(s) in this series!! also!!! reading the acknowledgments made me feel so warm inside!! you can tell that this book is really important to J.M. Frey and in general i think she really did a good job. i can’t wait for more!! thanks again to NetGalley and REUTS Publications!!!
Profile Image for Alexandra.
1,839 reviews10 followers
September 3, 2018
I received an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review can be found on *Milky Way of Books*

In a world torn by war and cultural differences, Robin Arianhod is a kick-ass flying mechanic. But the skies are plagued by the Coyote, a pilot who never leaves anyone alive behind him. But when an accident will make Robin a proper pilot, she will realize that there are more to the war than she ever imagined.
And that the Coyote has his own leash too.

Following the end of her "Accidental Turn" series, which will always be my top favorite (and if you follow me you know how much I rave about the books in my blog), J.M. Frey enters into the world of steampunk, bordering to slight mecha territory, and creates a complex relationship between the main characters which can be difficulty labeled correctly.

Robin doesn't give up easily and she will do anything to escape captivity. Even when she knows that she will probably die in the process. The Coyote's identity remains still a mystery to me after finishing the ARC. The first book does a great job establishing the world-building, giving a scope to the life and its characters, but it will leave you with a tiny cliffhanger.

"The Skylark's song" is a thrilling new story which will satisfy even the demanding. Frey's voice is vibrant through the plot and very compelling to make you demand more!
Profile Image for Tina.
189 reviews18 followers
June 8, 2020
Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Skylark’s Song is an enemy to lovers’ book about Robin who is a poor midflight mechanic in a war that has been going on for 10 years with no end in sight. She becomes an accidental hero pilot when she is the first to survive a mid-air flight (dance) with the Coyote the enemy’s most notorious pilot. She is shot down and imprisoned by him. But all is not as it seems.

Robin is a wonderful protagonist. She is strong both physically and mentally. She is kind and never stops fighting for freedom for the downtrodden. She is spunky and brave and isn’t afraid to tell someone off if they need it.

The Coyote, I sometimes had a hard time reading him. I was left guessing the whole book on that side he stood. I wanted him and Robin to get together but at the same time I thought he was unnecessarily cruel at times. I wished he would leave her less in the dark with what was really going on in this prison. (I’m trying to be careful not to give away any spoilers.) He tried to give her hints but they were so vague I’m not surprised she misunderstood some. In parts, I was sure Robin was suffering from a case of Stockholms Syndrome and It made me very mad that this strong woman was falling for this man who kept going a bit unhinged around her. There were times I wondered if he was a little bipolar. Don’t get me wrong. I was totally rooting for him being the secret good guy he seemed to be. I think the constant question about his allegiance was intentional. Man was the chemistry and anticipation between them HOT!
Overall this story was very well written, there were a few mistakes that I was easily able to get past because the story was so engaging. For example. There were quite a few times the narrative was cyclical. “I like him but I don’t trust him” for a page and a half. Or times where timeline seemed to jump around… Like she was working on fixing something for a few weeks into her captivity then it would jump to something that happened 3 days into her captivity then back again.
Not many books lately have had me up past my bedtime but this book and book #2 BOTH made me stay up way too late. I was extremely glad to be able to read and review book #2 Right away. Please see my profile for the review for my review of Skylark’s Sacrifice.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,125 reviews459 followers
June 9, 2020
*Source* Kindle Unlimited
*Genre* Steampunk / Fiction
*Rating* 4.0


The Skylark's Song is the first of two parts in author J.M. Frey's The Skylark Saga. This is a series filled with intrigue, forbidden romance, and a touch of steampunk. Sergeant Robin Arianhood is a mid-flight mechanic and a Sealie in the Saskwyan Air Patrol. Saskwyan has been at war with Klonn for 10 years and they haven't exactly been winning. The Coyote is the Klonn's ace pilot. He has taken down more Saskwyan aeroplanes than anyone.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

Profile Image for Andrea.
178 reviews25 followers
August 17, 2019
Trigger warnings: Violence, war, death, imprisonment, some misogyny and racism.

So I still don’t really know what “steampunk” means, but I sure had fun with this one. It reminded me a bit of Code Name Verity, but I liked it much more than I did CNV. All is good.

First, I must admit that I really enjoyed the characters. Robin was spirited, brave, and a very worthy main character, and overall I really liked her. I understood her frustrations with the way everybody treated her, and she’s definitely a person to look up to. And Coyote? He’s definitely my favourite, and I have a gigantic crush on him because he’s a smooth bastard (even if most of his actions are kinda jerkish.)
“I could help you into the tub,” [he] said, and the mischievous, little-boy grin was back.
“Out of the question,” Robin answered.
”Ah, well,” he said with a smirk and a shrug, folding his hands behind himself. “You cannot blame a man for trying."
“I absolutely can,” Robin said.

The secondary characters were well, secondary, but they still were fleshed out and felt real. Al was okay (if we ignore how handsy he was, which I’m not doing), Captain Wade and the rest of officers were quite well done, and the seneschal is definitely my number 1 enemy. This is war, mark my words.

About the plot, I really enjoyed it. I imagine it will be more detailed in the second book because this was kind of introductory, but a war between neighboring countries? Adventures? A spirited female pilot defying society? Yes. I’m here for it. Also, there were some twists and turns I liked even though I could anticipate most of what was going to happen.

The narrative was fast-paced and gripping, and overall I liked it because it really went straight to the point. I also liked the way it included parts and mentions of the different cultures, little clues, etc.; it treated the readers like they were intelligent and didn’t bother to explain every little detail, which I appreciated.

In general, this was a fun, gripping, and cute novel I really enjoyed. The characters felt real and the world was quite interesting, so I will definitely read the sequel (out this September)!

*The best part: The sensuality I found in everything the Coyote did.
*The worst part: Instead of uplifting Robin, the world tried to sabotage her, which really got on my nerves.

I rate this book a 4/5, really good.
Profile Image for Anna Tan.
Author 24 books160 followers
August 16, 2020
I dunno. It took a while to actually get into this. It felt like the first three chapters were such a slog to get into. Is it because it’s steampunk? Is it because of the exposition? Is it because of the voice? I don’t know! It kinda bugged me a bit because I really wanted to like this book like super a lot because hey, it’s JM Frey. Lol (Sorry, I know I have biases). Maybe my head just wasn’t in the right place at the beginning, when it takes off, it takes off.

Robin Arianhod dances the sky with the Coyote despite all the factors against her: that she’s poor, female, and a Sealie. She knows she isn’t supposed to be there—but she’s fought her way through and she’s a survivor. She’s not going to let any Benne take her dreams away, now that she’s got it. But then the unexpected happens, and now the Klonn have her.

Frey delves into difficult themes in this duology, though it’s all very prettily packaged into an exciting adventure of one Sealie woman defeating the odds (and maybe falling in love). As much as wealthy white men try to tell the rest of the world that anyone can make it through hard work and grit, there are many factors that can keep a person down, no matter how hard they try. Wealth is one of them, and how its distributed. Education is another—and how much access someone has to it, which is usually due to wealth and opportunity. Talking about opportunity, that comes down to what is and isn’t open to you depending on where you come from (ethnicity), what you believe in (religion), or how much money you have to bribe your way in (oh look, wealth again). And luck, of course. Being in the right place at the right time, or knowing the right people—not just knowing, but having them like you as a person and not just as a token.

Aaaaannnywaaayyyy, Skylark’s Song is a fascinating dance of culture clashes, subterfuge and sabotage. There’s layer upon layer of meaning hidden between the lines, whether it’s marriage lines and honey, gliders and religious songs, or hairpins and chess. And then there is the hum of quiet respect, the buzz of distrust, and the tender pulses of new love. And the awful, awful question. Would you betray your country for love? Or would you betray your love for your country?

And how do you know if that love is real?

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from REUTS Publications via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Megan Rivera.
401 reviews58 followers
August 29, 2020
A flight mechanic named Robin Arianhod is being stalked by Coyote who intimidates fellow fliers. In this steampunk romance Robin take Coyote. It was a good book and thank you to NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Lori Peterson.
821 reviews12 followers
July 5, 2020
A sweeping adventure that is visual painted by the author's words. Robin' s world is uprooted by war as she uses her abilities as an apprentice mechanic to survive. Her impressive skills gets Robin the attention of the Coyote that will put Robin and her country into a a harsh game that will have a high cost of the path taken. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Adrianna.
10 reviews
May 2, 2018
Big fan of JM's Accidental Turn series that I was stoked to pick up this title. Though steampunk dystopia isn't my go-to flavour of book, I enjoyed how thorough the world was. I am always happy to see diversity in characters, and women being badass is a win for me, so that made me want to read more. The relationships got steamy (pun intended) and the dynamic of how that came about was a hard read but I liked that it wasn't a formulaic approach to fantasy romance; it got me mad and sympathetic and a whole mess of emotions while reading it. I'm looking forward to the next installment as I need to know what happens next!
Profile Image for Tamara.
1,032 reviews
August 19, 2020
*I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

My initial interest in this book wavered for a while, but once I got into it, I just wanted to keep reading. I'm glad that I have the next book already on my Kindle (thank you, NetGalley & REUTS Publications) so that I can continue reading once I've finished this review . . . and, you know, gotten my kids through their remote learning for the day. Because that's the time I live in right now.

Robin (17) is Sealie, who are basically second-class citizens to the Benne in Saskwya, which is at war with the Klonn. The Sealie worship many gods, the Benne worship the one All Goddess, and the Klonn believe only in various Arts (Art of War, Art of Love, Art of etc., ). Why are they at war? I'm not really sure, except it seems that the Klonn's goal is to spread their beliefs and obliterate all deities. Back to Robin, though. She's intelligent, courageous, passionate, kind of reckless, stubborn, kind, and somewhat defiant, though not necessarily in a bad way. She's got goals and dreams and is unwilling to abandon them to societal expectations, or even those of her family and friend, Al. I like her. Al (I believe he's about her same age) actually grated my nerves. He had a very clear idea of what Robin should be doing with her life and couldn't understand why she didn't have the same vision. At times, he even appeared as if he was on the verge of forcing her to accept his ideas (very Klonnish, eh?). The Coyote (Robin estimates he is no more than 20), on the other hand, intrigued me from the start and won me over far more quickly than Robin admitted the same. His position was precarious, but it explains his actions throughout the story. Most of him is still a mystery (his name, for example), but who he was as a person would escape his mask in little bits--he's strategic, loyal, kind, considerate, intelligent, quietly rebellious, and hopeful. It's obvious he admires, respects, and adores Robin. He's gentle with her, when allowed to be. His attempts to earn her affection are little prodding encouragements rather than the selfish demands that Al made. I think it's obvious that I liked him.

Although there is a burgeoning love story in this book, it's not the main focus And I appreciate that even as the relationship between Robin and the Coyote is developing, their feelings don't erase their differences. They're still from opposite sides of the war, each wanting their own people to win. They have their beliefs, which it will be difficult to reconcile.

I'm interested to see what happens in the next book, both with the war and with the Saskwyan people's conflict with each other (Sealie/Benne). Oh, also, Robin's hair? There's got to be more of an explanation than what was given.

How it ends:

Note: Some swearing. A little bit of crude humor near the beginning.
Profile Image for Megan.
37 reviews1 follower
September 11, 2018
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book. 

Sometimes, I judge a book's quality by how quickly I read it. Usually, this is a good thing: it means I was absorbed in the story, that it was a page turner. The Skylark's Song was an exception to this rule. I read it quickly not because I was absorbed in the story but rather because I wanted to get it over with. And quite honestly, had I not requested this book on Netgalley, I wouldn't have finished it.

I requested The Skylark's Song because it sounded interesting. Robin is just a flight mechanic, but somehow she earns the attention of the notorious fighter pilot called the Coyote. When he takes her as his captive, she finds herself faced with a difficult choice: follow her heart and stay with him, or escape to return to her country.

Unfortunately instead of being a fun read, it was a painful one.

The writing was hard to get through. I found myself skipping over paragraphs because I thought it was just too cheesy.  I'm not even sure what made it cheesy. Sure, I have a lot of pet peeves. "Wry smile" (ugh), "golden skin" (what does that even mean?), characters constantly "scowling".  And the dialogue was just gross.  The Coyote said. "my dear" ALL the friggin' time, and the mean kids pretty much called Robin a worthless Sealie, which felt more like over-the-top bullying than real prejudice.

But I can sometimes forgive bad writing (see my obsession with A Court of Thorns and Roses...Sorry, Sarah). I can forgive it when essentially everything else is good. Unfortunately, that was not the case with The Skylark's Song.

The characters did not feel real. Robin was stubborn and strong, but really these were just the character traits the author assigned her. She had no personality. And the Coyote was just another Bad Boy who was insta-in-love with Robin. Really, it's hard to write about characterization when there isn't much there.

There was also a poorly executed attempt at world building. I understood there was a war, but I never really understood why. Was it just because flying around and shooting people is "cool"? 'Cause that's the vibe I got. I also didn't understand what being a Sealie meant. I get that it's a religion , but like what does that entail? And then there's the whole prejudice against the Sealie. I didn't understand why it existed. Of course, racism/prejudice doesn't ever have a good why, but there has to be something to it, right? Fear? Misunderstanding? Stereotypes? You've gotta give me something.

And the actual story? Well, I mean I guess it was there.

Ultimately, this isn't a book I would recommend. Sure, there might be a few readers out there for it, but I'm not one of them. If you want something cheesy (and I get it--sometimes I do too), this might fill that need. Other than that....No thanks.

If you like my reviews, check out my blog at coziedreader.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Tatteredturtle.
27 reviews
December 2, 2018

I decided after my month break to take a look at Netgalley again and find a book to review that caught my attention. I went through quite a few pages until I found The Skylark’s song by J.M. Frey. It is a sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, YA book about a teenage girl during a war who adores the sky’s. I thought this novel had an energy like Sarah Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, which I recently just finished.

The Skylark’s Song has a big World War 2 theme behind the setting. Frey is able to capture the dark, heavy feelings of a low income family during a war torn era. While I was reading through the book I consistently had images pop into my mind about my grandfather and grandmother during World War 2. My grandfather was a solider stationed in England and my grandmother was a young teenage girl during the war in England, who came home from school only to find her house blown up by a bomb. Whenever Robin talks about her family’s struggles with money and food, such a strong powerful feeling rings true to me and I know many people faced these exact hardships during the World Wars.

It was inspiring how Frey was able to capture the different emotions people experience during a war time. Reading about the caste system in Saskwyan and seeing how Benne’s saw themselves above the Sealie’s helped build the understanding about intra and interrelated conflict. Some Benne people put aside their station in life and saw the Sealie’s as their partner’s in the war, while other’s were narrow and simple minded about their views of the Sealie’s. The same rang true for the Klonn. Even during wartime pride, honour and prejudice push through and cloud people’s judgments and motives.

It was interesting to read through the book and appreciate the way that Frey was able to write the fear around The Coyote, and to understand how the Sealies and Bennes dehumanized the ace pilot. A tactic used to ease the hurt and destruction of the human soul while killing and taking a life. Robin has one mission, and that’s to end the war, she takes down 61 pilots before The Coyote gets a hold of her. This was only achieved by dehumanizing her enemy and building a false sense of loyalty to her country.

We get to witness both sides of the opposing country’s. Robin’s time with The Coyote helps her understand that her enemy is not a one dimensional character. He is a person like herself with his own motives and driving force behind his actions. He is not fighting for his country but for his family, people he loves and the innocent. Something Robin can relate to and empathize with. Everyone loses during war, especially the innocent.

Frey developed a good understanding of religion in this series. Each race believing in their own system; multiple gods, a single goddess and science/ arts. The war being waged stemming from these different belief systems and believing one being superior to the other’s. Such an old concept and yet we continue to see this be the source of so much violence and death, even now there are wars being fought in the world because of this very concept. It was revolutionary to read how Frey has managed to capture the struggles with faith and the deception behind the uncontested acceptance of a religion.

The Skylark’s Song was fast-paced, complex and at many times emotional. I enjoyed the fact that it was set as a steampunk fantasy, but the imagery was very real. It’s hard to imagine the sacrifices people make during war, but we get to see Robin challenge her thoughts of blind pride for her country and religion and watch as she expands these simple ideas. Robin unknowingly picks away at the developed caste system by becoming a pilot despite being a Sealie and a woman, which is driven purely by her love of flying and being in the sky’s. She accepts the conditions of her vocation to enjoy the time she has indulging in her passion.

Frey left us with a well developed cliffhanger. My mind has been racing with the implications of the condition The Coyote was left in and how Robin is going to make her way back to Saskwyan. I don’t believe we have seen the last of The Coyote considering his significance in the war and his relation to the King. I have no doubt that the bloodshed and enlightenment will continue when the next installment is released.
Profile Image for Mimi.
316 reviews119 followers
June 21, 2020
[this ARC was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The Skylark's Song is the first book in a steampunk duology by J.M.Frey. It follows Robin, a plane mechanic, during a war between her people and the Klonn, an enemy nation.

It took me some time to get into, but once I did, I sucked the rest in during one night. The reason for that was probably the info dump at the beginning, which wasn't critically long, but it still discouraged me. I simply got over not understanding half the terms and focused on the plot instead - which was a wise choice, because I still didn't really understand who the Benne and the Sealie were - I think it was the nation of Saskwaya, but they had two religions. Anyways, a better explanation of the hierarchy would be practical. Also, there was this war which it was basically all about, but they hadn't explained why they were fighting.
As for the plot, although the beginning was quite uneventful, I welcomed it, because it's really convenient to SEE the character's life before the big change happens (looking at you, The King's 100). Then, the "twist" happened, which brought an even bigger twist which I DID NOT ANTICIPATE at ALL. Thumbs up for that!! Then the rest was predictable again, but I liked it anyway.
I'd also like to bring up Robin's character. She was (even though not my favourite type of heroine) strong and admirable and most important of all, EXPLAINED. We got to know her motivation and her fears, yadayada, and it was so refreshing. After reading a few books where the heroine was either plain as paper so she needed no explanation, incomprehensible because the author offered no explanation or all over the place because the author themselves hadn't decided who she is, Robin was absolutely delightful to read.

I'd recommend this totally underrated fantasy to anyone, who likes steampunk or adventurous novels. You won't regret it!

→4 stars
Profile Image for Nicki Markus.
Author 63 books262 followers
September 20, 2018
Overall, The Skylark's Song was a fun read. I loved the steampunk elements and the idea of the glider fights. Robin was an interesting character, and I enjoyed the fact that she wasn't perfect. She had her faults, so I could relate to her. There were some issues. The religion/race aspects were portrayed as important yet were never fully developed. Also, while I liked the Coyote as a character, the way he constantly said "my dear" was a little grating; it kept making me think of moustache-twirling villains. But, as I said, overall this was an entertaining and action-packed tale, and I would like to read the second book later, to see how it all ends. I would give this book 3.5 stars, but a 3.5 that rounds up to a 4, rather than down to a 3.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Eva.
468 reviews46 followers
July 4, 2020
I requested this book on Netgalley in return for an honest review

Mixed emotions about this one. The synopsis intrigued me, I am always down for a Stockholm-syndrome story, because I find it an interesting phenomenon in general.

What I enjoyed about the book was how well the world and the life of Robin was described, it made it easy to see the story in my head and I do enjoy that while reading, making it my own sort of movie.

What bothered me were the characters and the dialogue. It felt over the top many times, unrealistic even. Too much "my dear" and "Omens" for my taste. I need a bit of diversity and that wasn't the case in this book. Next to that, I felt that the relationship between Robin and Coyote went a bit too fast. Barely a build-up of their characters at itself and their relationship.

I am willing to read the 2nd book, only to find out more about Coyote and hoping the characters will have more depth.
Profile Image for Hollyann.
48 reviews12 followers
August 5, 2020
I actually listened to JM Frey read this on her YouTube channel which was a delight!

I've read all of Frey's other books so I was so excited to start this one. It actually was shorter and quicker than a lot of her other work but it was no less full of incredibly-written relationships and worldbuilding. Robin's relationships with her parents and with Al were both very three-dimensional without spending that much time with either of them.

But of course we're ignoring the main plot. The Coyote is incredibly charming and while I think his intentions aren't always as clear as they should be, I was always on edge in each scene between them.

The best was at the end, when their relationship finally becomes what it's meant to be! I'm so excited to keep reading and see what happens to them.
Profile Image for Lennie  (lennie_reads).
174 reviews12 followers
September 23, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley & REUTS Publications for my ARC.

I didn't quite know what to expect from this book other than steampunk but it's so much more.

It reminded me of The Hunger Games, but a bit lighter. We had warring countries, steampunk air craft, poverty, religious tensions, classism, enemies to lovers, a kind of beauty & the beast situation and a totally badass MC.

I absolutely loved our MC Robin; she was buff, an engineer, knew who she was, very skilled at her job, down to earth and funny. Although her actions could be questionable at times!

We also had a really intriguing enemies to lovers romance whilst the romantic interest is holding the MC captive and claiming to also be a prisoner himself. So you're unsure of the intentions but there is some serious sexual chemistry which I definitely enjoyed!

The plot is pretty standard YA Fantasy/Dystopia but it kind of felt like putting on a favourite comfy jumper. It's hard to explain but it was nice to have new characters and story without having to deal with too many plot twists, just a nice easy read.

There were some really cool and unique ideas regarding the machines and planes and I definitely have a soft side for steampunk so it really grabbed me.

My feelings for this book are a bit more complicated after finishing the second book in the duology but I'll try and go into that in my review for book 2 because they both left me feeling very different when I'd finished each one...

CW: kidnapping?, Imprisonment, death, war, violence, burning
Profile Image for Moony (Captain Mischief) MeowPoff.
1,441 reviews124 followers
January 18, 2022
I was one of the few people that did not enjoy the story. Robin was a little interesting, but Coyote was annoying. The characters were scowling all the time, and using wry smile ... Coyote was repeating "Dear" all the time. It just ended up being annoying and bored me.

I got this eARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for S Tondra.
399 reviews5 followers
June 8, 2020
There is a many years old war between Saskwyan and Klonn and Robin, a mid-flight, is pushed right into the thick of it when she out flies Coyote, the Klonn best pilot, trying to save herself and her injured pilot. Turns out she’s a natural flyer (of gliders) and is promoted to a Captain where she now flies and hunts Klonn airships. However, Robin’s luck ends when her glider may have been compromised and she is captured by the Coyote. Coyote may not be what he seems as Robin is kept prisoner. The book takes you on a adventure that I enjoyed and I look forward to the next book.

I was provided with an electronic ARC through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
31 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2020
The Skylark's Song is about a young Seelie woman named Robin AKA Skylark as she lives her life amidst a war. All the young flight mechanic dreams about is flying among the clouds. After a series of events, her dream to be a pilot comes true. However, the enemy, Coyote has taken an interest in her and chases her across the sky without ever attacking. When her plane crashes and she's taken as captive, Robin must figure out how to get back home and figure out her feelings for the enemy along the way.

I'm not really sure what to think about this book. I wasn't wowed by it but I am curious to see how the series continues so I guess it was a decent start. Robin is a very strong female character and isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in and will do anything to protect her family and friends. She works hard to fight social injustice and prove to everyone she is just as deserving to be where she is. Her relationship with Coyote wasn't very convincing. It was a bit Stockholm Syndrome-y but the chemistry for me just wasn't there. However, the book ends on a major cliff hanger so I'm hoping the second book ties everything together.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
90 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2020
Robin is a strong heroine both physically and mentally. She loves to fly and scavenges the city for parts to do so. Her flying skills find her serving in the Air Force of her country during war time.

I loved my introduction to this story and this author. The cliff hanger ending makes me thankful that I get to read the next book in the series right away!

If you like Beauty and the Beast and espionage stories, this might be your next favorite.
82 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2020
The Skylark's Song had many interesting aspects, to it, and as a whole, the book was very good, The plot was new and original, whilst retaining the features of a good book - the pace of the story and the storyline. Overall, I would highly recommend this to others who enjoy the dystopian/SF genres.

Looking forward to the second book in the series!

(written by 14yr old reviewer)

With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Madelon.
756 reviews10 followers
July 22, 2020
Sometimes you pick up a book to read knowing that it will whisk you away to a world well worth exploring. THE SKYLARK'S SONG is just such a book. How did I know? I've read the novels and stories that make up The Accidental Turn series, by the same author.

J. M. Frey is a master of world building and populating that world with interesting and intriguing characters. Saskwya and Klonn are at war; gliders are fighting against aeroships with bloody consequences to both sides. In such fights there are heroes and villains and, as is so often the case, these are muddied by circumstance.

There is nothing more satisfying than reading a well-written book. THE SKYLARK'S SONG has all the ingredients a great book must have… believable characters, vibrant settings, page-turning action, some steampunk gadgets, and just the right touch of romance.

Although the story does not exactly end on a cliffhanger, you will want to have the second book in the duology at hand when you finish this first book. I did and was able to continue as if it was all one book. Grab copies of both THE SKYLARK'S SONG and THE SKYLARK'S SACRIFICE… you won't be sorry.
Profile Image for Marsi Darcy.
174 reviews3 followers
September 6, 2018
It took me awhile to get into this book. It seemed like it was the second book in a series as the prejudices between the various races wasn't really explored. Someone was called a "cow" and it seemed to go over as if they'd been called another c word (that rhymes with runt). A little background on things like that would have helped as I felt confused a lot of the time.

But I'm glad I persevered. I ended up enjoying the book and will read the sequel. I think it picked up for me around 35%.

The cover is glorious!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the copy.
Profile Image for Dianna .
215 reviews
September 6, 2018
Wow great book! I received this ARC through netgalley and I’m so so glad I did. I loved it. At one point in the book my heart literally raced (my Fitbit can prove it) and I was on edge. I felt so many different emotions right a long with Robin. Very well written. I loved the flow of the writing and the story. I can’t wait for book number 2! I need it out now!
Profile Image for Amanda.
386 reviews68 followers
September 19, 2018
I first heard about The Skylark's Song way back in 2011, when I picked up a free sample exclusive of part of the story during the Fan Expo weekend:

As a disclaimer, I was also lucky enough to have been at the convention where it was first conceived of, back in my steampunk heyday, and to have known a number of the creative and wonderful people who inspired it. To see so many members of that lovely community named in the Acknowledgements filled me with nostalgia and joy. However, as is usual in my reviews of works by authors I know, I will attempt to judge the work purely on its merits and treat it impartially. Now, going back to that free sample of the book....

Needless to say, I was very excited to see the start of a new steampunk novel from J.M. Frey, and devoured it later that evening. It left me wanting to know more about the world she was building, and the characters who inhabited it. I am happy to report that having now read the first book in what will become a two-part story, I am left with the same desire to know more about the world Frey has built. I eagerly await the chance to dive back into it again when the follow-up is published.

Frey has a knack for dropping you straight into a new and interesting world, and letting you experience it from the point of view of the characters. I enjoyed this aspect of Frey's fantastic debut novel, Triptych, which I am forever recommending to all my book-loving friends, and was glad to see it shine through in The Skylark's Song as well. As a reader, everything isn't put on the table from the start; you get to learn organically about the various cultures, factions, and realities of the world as you go. It keeps you coming back for more, and makes the book a real page-turner. The world Frey constructs is complex, and the issues tackled within the story are sophisticated; definitely interesting even for those who are not normally big fans of YA literature.

That being said, some of the characters fall into tropes typical of the genre and are less fully developed than they could be. Our heroine, Robin Arianhod, is interesting and probably relatable to many young women in some ways. I probably would have worshiped at her altar when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, she does suffer from some amount of Strong Female Character (TM) writing, complete with typical anti-feminine messages. That isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself, so far as developing the personality of a character like this who lives in the society that she does. However, it is a tired characterisation device that gets repeated in far too much literature aimed at young women, in my opinion. The romantic interests also feel somewhat shoehorned in, but not so much that they distract from the plot. Also, Robin's adversarial relationship with the Coyote actually does develop along intriguing lines toward the end of the book.

The novel is at its best when it is putting you right up there in the air with Robin, along for a dizzying ride. The way the novel handles its steampunk-influenced tech, and the way that technology informs the world building is top notch. I was thirsty for more details about each of the societies described in the book, their relationships to technology, and how that intersects with their religious beliefs and informs their positions in the war. I hope to see that kind of detail expanded upon in the sequel.

On the whole, it's a very strong YA novel that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone looking for a fun book. If you're a fan of steampunk, so much the better, but even if you've never heard of it, The Skylark's Song is a fantastic SFF story and a good introduction to the kind of creative, intriguing worlds that make up the best parts of the steampunk genre. Don't hesitate to pick up a copy and join me in dreaming about glider flights through sunny skies!
Profile Image for Shawn Bird.
Author 29 books90 followers
June 2, 2019
Lots of stuff in this one. Steampunk vibe YA. Characters that are interesting, including a strong female protagonist. Plot had a few unexpected turns. I never like a cliffhanger ending, so one star off for that.

I receive a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
3 reviews
December 14, 2019
Alright, where to begin?

In short:
The Skylark's Song makes for a fun, quick YA steampunk romp that contains just enough dark intrigue, military fantasy, and world-building atmosphere to spice things up. The plot touches upon darker themes of war and social complexities, but always keeps itself firmly within the lighter topics of dystopian adventure.

In embarrassing length:
It's difficult to write a cohesive review for a story that touched upon so many of my oddly specific interests, so I'll just list them out instead and hope they'll catch someone else's fancy too:

I) I loved that the heroine is realistically flawed and thus not fully equipped to deal with the differences between her own culture and her personal aspirations - all the complexities definitely make it interesting to see how she deals with each new pitfall.

II) I hugely enjoyed the emotional roller coaster of a villain (). The Coyote is a man who works with intricate plots and ridiculous dramatics, but is still far from being a master at them.
I just love that he's, in a way, the the very opposite of a cool, dark villain, without it diminishing his role in any way: at times his mannerisms are endearingly weird rather than effectively suave, he's often painfully earnest, and always a labyrinth of possible motivations. As a result, his interactions with Robin are a real treat.

III) I'm super pleased to find a very, very rare female example of the kind of minor villain I love the most. She isn't here to be your generic evil gorgeous fighter gal, oh no, she's here to be the exact kind of obstructive, low-key nasty individual you'd meet in real life and hope to avoid. Needless to say, this makes for some good confrontation scenes.

IV) What I respected is that the romantic subplots always, always kept the heroine's agency at their very forefront.
Namely, Robin finds herself in a few emotionally complex situations (typical things for a mild coming-of-age story ), but it's always her own desires and emotional well-being that are the key priority in her decision-making.
This is a small detail, perhaps, but it is such a hugely important thing, especially for younger readers.

In conclusion:
Five stars because this made me end the last evening of my summer holiday with a big old grin on my face!
162 reviews
September 8, 2020
4.25/5 stars I really enjoyed this. It has everything I love. A strong female protagonist, a hate to love romance, and an interesting world. There were a couple of issues I had. I wished there was more world building, especially with the races. There are three main races in this series, and I wish I knew more about why they hate each other, especially the two within the same country. The main character's race is associated with bees, and I wish I could've learned more about it. The other thing I didn't like was most of the men. They were possessive, annoying, and treated our main character like she was an object. What I loved though, is that she didn't take it. She fought back against every man trying to get her to do what they want. One of the most satisfying parts was when she told her father she's either a young girl who has to stay at home, or she's a woman old enough to marry, and therefore make her own choices. It's one of those moments that I wish for in a lot of other books and the protagonist usually disappoints. I also loved, when a character died, the protagonist started thinking about what they would have wanted, and then realized that she can't let a dead person be her moral code. This is another thing that happens in so many books, and it just drives me crazy. I was so impressed with the subverted tropes, and the way the author almost obviously (in a good way) turns their back on what the reader may expect.
Author 3 books3 followers
October 25, 2019
This was a quick read, fast-paced with a badass heroine. It was really compelling, but could have been fleshed out. Pieces I felt were important - like Robin’s growing glory as a war pilot - were glossed over and rushed. The development of the relationship between Robin and The Coyote could have been savored a bit more. Overall, though, I enjoyed it.
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