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Songs of Insurrection (The Dragon Songs Saga #1)

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  193 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Only the lost art of evoking magic through music can prevent Cathay from descending into chaos.

Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when a song liberated enslaved humans from their orc masters. Maybe then, the imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool.

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing
...more
Paperback, 484 pages
Published January 6th 2017 by Three Moons Press (first published March 2nd 2016)
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Dianne
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is beauty in song. There is also magic and strength if the right songs are sung by the right voice. The realm of Cathay will need that magic to survive, but the art of the Dragon Songs has been left unsung forever, until finally, a voice of unparalleled beauty has been born and she dreams of the past and the lost songs.

Kaiya dreams of the magic of music and the powers it can hold. If she could unleash the magic, perhaps her heartbreaking existence as the forgettable princess would end fore
...more
Joshua Grant
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I used to love playing Dungeons and Dragons back in the day, but one thing I always forgot to include in the game was the dragons ironically. Fortunately for me, J.C. Kang has just the remedy with his Songs of Insurrection, the first in the Dragon Songs series.

This series is instantly fresh as it creates a unique fantasy world based more on Eastern philosophy and traditions. I also really enjoyed Songs of Insurrection’s system of magic. Magic is drawn from music, and using it comes with a price.
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Hannah West
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book follows the journey of Kiaya, an awkward sixteen-year-old princess who is trying to find her place in the world. Groomed from birth to be everything her culture perceives as the 'Perfect Princess', Kaiya struggles to meet that ideal. Especially when everyone around her is waiting with baited breath for her to blossom into womanhood. Then she will be eligible to marry one of the hand-picked suitors her father has chosen for her.
She is merely a political tool in a land where power means
...more
Hibah Shabkhez
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Dragon Scale Lute is one of the most engaging novels I have read so far and seems likely to be the first of a great series. Kaiya's exploration of music and her budding understanding of her own strength has the potential to become really fascinating. It was refreshingly unusual to come across a fantasy in an Asian setting, and the characters - especially Jie, Tian and Kai-Long with his shocking transformation at the end of the book - are genuinely interesting people; it should be fun to see ...more
Shomeret
What attracted me to the fantasy Dragon Scale Lute by J.C. Kang was the word "lute". I was drawn to the musical aspect of the novel. I was also interested in the fact that the book takes place in an alternate version of China. I received a free copy from the author in return for this review.

Based on the cover you'd think this was a romance. The female character is carrying a musical instrument, but she looks insipid and is dressed in faded pastels which implies timidity. I'm delighted to say th
...more
Bonmedo Tambunan
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received free copy of this book for an honest review of mine.

First, I would like to congratulate JC Kang for the fabulous story.

It is epic, fast pace, and is narrated is such beautiful way that it grips me from the very start. It combine magic with Chinese art and literature, that made it a very interesting read. The type of magic that the author bring forth in his story are also the one that I don't find very often in fantasy books. Magic through music and calligraphy, and the way the magic
...more
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Everything about this heady fantasy pushed my happy fangirl buttons. It was diverse, with a refreshingly predominately Asian cast. There was plenty of political power plays and immersion in Chinese culture. There were spies, elves, magic, danger and yes...romance.

Hence lies the BIG problem.

By all rights and means this should have easily rated the full five stars. Unfortunately, the heroine, Princess Kaiya violated one of The Fountain Pen Diva's cardinal rules: thou must like the heroine as muc
...more
Ian Miller
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantasy story, written in Chinese style. The Chinese culture comes up with somewhat unusual (to westerner's eyes) approaches, and in this case a major weapon is the ability to sing, which, if done properly, might put the audience to sleep, or might have them running around in a totally disoriented state. Another unusual aspect of this book is that while JC Kang is a man, the two major characters are girls, one of which is approaching womanhood. It is a little difficult to be sure, but I felt t ...more
Maya Daniels
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the first page the author managed to draw me into a wonderful world of magic and dragons. I can compare it to few popular books in the genre but I don’t think that will give the story justice. It’s unique in its own right. Kiaya is a young woman suffering the circumstances of her birth as an imperial princess. At only 16 she is required to meet suitors. Her entire life takes a new and dangerous spin when a foreign prince visits the palace. Internal plots, betrayals and power hungry official ...more
Denae Christine
Mar 27, 2017 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 12%

I tried several times, but I just didn't care. There were stakes (that kingdom is at war, these people are spies, the princess can sing but nobody cares), but they didn't feel personal. The princess traipses around the palace to different royal archives, hoping her schedule manager doesn't catch up to her before she can find a magical song to sing. And she doesn't want to marry the old general guy and finds this visiting prince rather handsome (yeah, but what's new?).

The titles and man
...more
Angel Haze
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya-fantasy
Loved this one! I've always loved ancient Chinese lore. Their ingenuity, their weapons and unorthodox battle strategies . . . just amazing. In Kang's book, Jie and Tian were my favorites--kind of the underground characters who really just rake in the excitement! The magic in the book was unique and the conspiracies....ohhhh....don't get me started! I don't want to spoil anything! The race to the book's climatic end just revs up the excitement! If you haven't read this yet, it's an adventure you ...more
Ian Kelly
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I bought the series four pack on a whim, and after reading the first, I will be continuing with the series.

From what I can understand, this is author J.C. Kang's first novel, and I am excited to see his writing grow throughout the three books ahead of me.

Spoiler warning from here on out:

(view spoiler)
...more
Shenwei
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
received free copy from the author in exchange for honest review
3.5??? mixed feelings about this one. enjoyed it enough to want to continue the series, though.
Liked:
worldbuilding
political intrigue
music as magic
2/3 leads/viewpoint characters were women

Disliked:
gender essentialism/alloscisheteronormativity
romance felt really forced/corny

full review to come on my blog
Jackie
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievable as usual. Humans are trying to change the ways to get free of the orcs. Couldn’t put it down.
Bard Constantine
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Songs of Insurrection attracted my attention by it's beautiful cover, and the fact that I've been looking for fantasy story devoid of Western medieval tropes for a change. SOI is a pretty good book. I enjoyed the main characters and the mix of action and intrigue. The main character is an emperor's daughter named Kaiya, who is an unattractive teen girl. That in itself is something of a novelty. You just don't come across that too often in novels, especially in main characters. She has a remarkab ...more
Alex Gates
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dragon Scale Lute didn't grab my attention from the start, BUT as the plot and characters developed, it became very engaging. JC Kang uses steady, consistent writing to draw readers into his well-crafted world.

As I read, I was reminded of Star Wars a few times. The guards were described as robotic, hulking, and unintelligent, much like Storm Troopers might at first be perceived. Prince Hardeep, a foreigner prince, has trained in an ancient fighting style that utilizes magic, and he uses the powe
...more
Robin Chambers
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J.C. Kang has presented us with a beautifully written and intricately detailed account of a fascinating fantasy world with its roots in a culture in some ways very different from our own, and in other ways chillingly similar. This is a world with three moons and kinds of magic you may never have come across before. The political intrigues and Machiavellian machinations are all too familiar, however, as we get deeper into the struggles either to acquire absolute power or to free oneself from its ...more
Gianna
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tour-book
3.5/4 stars

I really enjoyed this story; the culture and history details incorporated into the narrative were fantastic. I love all things culture and history related, so I think the author does a great job immersing the reader into this feudal-like era while the story simultaneously unfolds through the perspective of the three main characters.

Jie (half-elf/spy for the black lotus clan and my favorite of the three), Tian (Kaiya childhood friend and black lotus spy), and Kaiya (Princess of Hua or
...more
Ernie Jr.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
As my Goodreads list indicates, I've read well more than a thousand books (and that's not even a complete list...just the ones I could remember when I signed up for Goodreads). I've had opportunity to read some amazing novels and series by both well known authors and complete noobs to the writing arena (as I myself am). Few novels or series are able to draw me in and make me hunger for more, to ache when the series is over, to feel kinship to characters as if walking with old friends and family. ...more
Floryie
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I will be honest the first thing which caught my attention was the book cover. It's impacting and so colourful that it draws the eye instantly. Then the title gave a hint of what the book is about. Finally the blurb caught me in its web and reeled me in to read it.

It isn't often that I find and read non-Western based fantasy novels. The double surprises of having an alternate China as the base place and music-based magic are what made me pi
...more
K. Lincoln
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is a fine line to draw when writing fantasy in English based on Asian history-- you can either bombard the reader with historical detail and names and such and risk being pedantic or confusing, or you can give just enough historical detail to the fantasy story that it makes everything ring true and also be slighly educational.

In this start to the Dragons Songs Sage, Kang actually manages to walk that line fairly well throughout his epic fantasy-esque story about political machinations, ass
...more
Mary Jones
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Dragon Scale Lute by JC Kang is fantasy set in an ancient Cathay of dragons and living magic. Princess Kaiya struggles with the outward facade of an Imperial Princess she must constantly maintain, versus the living music and the magic that she discovers within her. Only a foreign Prince recognises the power of her music and promises to help her fulfil its promise. Alongside this, an old childhood friend since banished has become a member of the secretive Moquaan clan, serving as a spy and se ...more
Caira
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty good. The writing and transitions were phenomenal to me. Me, being the culture lover that I am, was really attracted to how the author artfully interwove influences of different Asian cultures within the story. The background set up of the story was done nicely. It almost made me feel as if it was leaning more towards historical fiction than with a little fantasy, than the other way around.

Kang changed perspectives between three different Characters: Princess Kaiya, a gangl
...more
Jane Sleight
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a first book, it is great to have a fresh take on what I felt was a love story bathed in a fantasy world. There is opulence in the way the setting is described with much imagery throughout. It tells the story of Kaiya, a wayward princess who rebels against the wishes of her father who wants to marry her off for his own imperial gains. She meets Prince Hardeep and falls in love and their story of adversity is the main thread of the novel.

Music features heavily for both the prince and princess
...more
Shantal Oliver
I am a big fan of fantasy novels so i jumped at the chance to read The Dragon Scale Lute .

It started off with a great story telling you about princess Kaiya and her impending nuptials and it sounds like a romance at first but, i was pleasantly surprised to find out that she is in fact a heroine ready to do what ever it takes to be independent and do what is right. But unfortunately for me by the eighth chapter i found myself getting confused with the characters, and more often lost in the plot
...more
Bibliotropic
(Full review here: https://bibliotropic.net/2016/08/17/s...)

While the overall combination of political intrigue and magic and a non-western setting definitely made this book stand out to me, I think its real weakness is the utter lack of character in Kaiya, who is ostensibly the main character of the whole story. The writing was decent, but it wasn’t enough to really keep me going through sections in which nothing related to either plot or character-building actually happened, and that spoiled w
...more
Coco
I had the pleasure of reading the Dragon Scale Lute on Wattpad. It's the first in a high fantasy series and terribly good to say the least. The multiple points of view keep the narrative upbeat and intriguing. My favorite part was the world building, more specifically the use of music as a system of magic. I encourage anyone who loves diverse epic fantasy to give this book a read. You won't be disappointed!
J.C.
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's middle earth, only with lots of different races and cultures. This is an epic fantasy story where the center nation is like Japan, only rife with political intrigue. Everyone and everything is out to get everyone else.

And there's the dragon scale lute, an instrument capable of great magic--in the hands of the right person.
Wattle
DNF at 17%

This one just wasn't for me; I could not get interested in the story.

It started off promisingly but seemed disjointed with three different POVs that read very similar to each other.

I received a copy of this for free for review.
Jordan
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!


Songs of Insurrection is a beautiful Asian-inspired fantasy that brings together innovative ideas, a vast amount of culture, and great story-telling. I was consistently impressed by the worldbuilding and creativity in this start to a new epic fantasy series by J.C. Kang.

Songs of Insurrection centers on Kaiya, a princess who doesn't particularly want to be a princess. Kaiya instead desires her to use her gift of singing to rediscover an ancient magic
...more
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Other books in the series

The Dragon Songs Saga (4 books)
  • Orchestra of Treacheries (The Dragon Songs Saga #2)
  • Dances of Deception (The Dragon Songs Saga #3)
  • Symphony Of Fates (The Dragon Songs Saga #4)

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