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Songs of Insurrection

(The Dragon Songs Saga #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Princess Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.

Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see her as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her voice.

Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic
Paperback, 2, 481 pages
Published January 6th 2017 by Three Moons Press (first published March 2nd 2016)
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Craig Little Yes. It was re-titled to better match the other titles in the Dragon Song Saga series thematically.
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  361 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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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
Calvin Park
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spfbo-2018
Songs of Insurrection has a great deal to like. It is one part thriller spy novel with hints of a larger mystery looming in the background, one part naïve princess romance, one part coming-of-age story, and one part epic fantasy all set within a beautifully crafted world filled with the sort of detail that fans of intricate world building will love.

JC Kang has crafted a story that is fun and engaging. Whether it is the spy/mystery that we see playing out in the chapters from Tian and Jie’s pers
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Apr 24, 2019 marked it as on-hold-maybe-finish-later  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry - I had to stop about 40% in - there were just too many names I couldn't keep track of and I was getting too confused to continue.

It's one of : "it's me...not you" moments
Joshua Grant
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
Angel Haze
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
~Dani~ LazyTurtle's Books
Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised!

1.5 stars

I really expected more out of this. As of writing this review, it has been almost 2 weeks since I read it and honestly, all I can remember is how much the MC and the love interest irked me.

Kaiya is a 16 year old princess in this Asian-inspired fantasy world where rebellion and insurrection are brewing on all sides. After meeting Hardeep, a prince from a neighboring kingdom, and hearing the plight of his people and how it has been per
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
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
Ria Bridges
I want to start off this review by stating outright that I’m not really qualified to talk about the accuracy of various cultural aspects of this novel. I have no background in Chinese studies, little knowledge of Mandarin Chinese beyond, “Yes,” “No,” “My name is [name],” and, “I want tea,” and I do not have any Chinese ancestry. So it should be left to people wiser and more knowledgeable than me to say whether or not this book has a good portrayal of Chinese culture at any point through China’s ...more
Smoothly-flowing prose and convincingly detailed Asian-inspired worldbuilding are the stars of this story - Kang knows his stuff when it comes to weapons, battle tactics and martial arts, which is always refreshing.
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
Ian Miller
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Denae Christine
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
Maya Daniels
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian Kelly
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
political intrigue
music as magic
2/3 leads/viewpoint characters were women

gender essentialism/alloscisheteronormativity
romance felt really forced/corny

full review to come on my blog
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good solid fantasy. I loved the Chinese culture elements and most of the characters, especially Kaiya and Hardeep. It was a bit confusing at times with all the povs but it payed off in the end
3.75/5 Stars
Daniel Jobling
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was a very interesting read I could see the main plot twist coming but it was turned on me until the last possible moment building a good suspense in the story looking forward to book 2
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable as usual. Humans are trying to change the ways to get free of the orcs. Couldn’t put it down.
Bard Constantine
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
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
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
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
🌟🌟🌟🌟 ~ couldn't-put-it-down great

So, this story caught my eye because of the dragons and lute on the beautiful cover; unfortunately, dragons were not a main feature of this first instalment BUT the story was marvellous nonetheless! I loved the way the author wove together music and magic to create a fascinating magic system that I can't wait to discover more of in the subsequent instalments! There was also a diverse cast of characters that I enjoyed getting to know, and the ending was just... WO
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
K. Lincoln
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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The Dragon Songs Saga (4 books)
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