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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Opening in the mid-nineteenth-century, this dazzling debut novel traces the voyage of Song, a boy who leaves his impoverished family in rural China to seek his fortune. Song may have survived the perilous journey to the colony of British Guiana in the Caribbean, but once there he discovers riches are hard to come by, as he finds himself working as an indentured plantation ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published June 28th 2018 by Unbound
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  24 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Arriving in Guiana, nine-year old Song finds little evidence of the easy fortunes to be made that enticed him to risk his life to travel there.  Instead he finds only punishing labour, harsh cruelty and an existence akin to slavery on a sugarcane plantation.  By a stroke of good fortune, Song is taken under the wing of Father Holmes who teaches him to read and write and introduces Song to the love of books and reading.  Not everyone agrees with Father Holmes’ decision to educate a ‘houseboy’ but ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Song is a young Chinese boy who is forced to leave his country in the hopes of being able to to send money back to his family after his father and most of the men in the village are killed in a flood. This is a story of survival and courage that not many in his situation would have been able to survive. Song is a memorable character for his bravery spirit and never giving up on his dreams.

Thank you Netgalley and Unbound for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Joanna Park
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Firstly I have to say how much I love that cover, the bold colours and unusual picture really works. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I think there is no denying that a great cover definetly helps.

This was a surprising emotional read for me. The hardships that Songs family endure at the start of the novel was just heartbreaking and I have no idea how I’d cope in a similar situation. The strength and resilience the children show in this situation made me cry and i just wanted to
Karen Mace
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this to be an astonishing story which showed the best, and worst, of humanity in all its' guises as we follow the story of Song who starts with nothing in life and fights to get the best kind of life he can for himself and those around him.

The story starts in 1878 in a small village where life is a constant struggle and the families are dependant on the weather for the crops to feed themselves and to sell to earn money. When disaster strikes Song takes it on himself, aged 10, to venture
Linda Kelly
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, beautiful, sad, uplifting, gut wrenching.
Alex (PaperbackPiano)
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am so pleased that people pledged money to have this book published because it is a definitely a story worth telling.

In technical terms, the writing is superb. The author sets the scenes so perfectly, with sumptuous and evocative descriptions that really helped me to visualise a country I have neither seen nor read much about. There were some gorgeous foody bits (something you know I love) and I could almost feel the heat under the mosquito nets and see the shops on the dusty streets.

Song is s
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads, netgalley
Set in the late 1800s, this is the story of Song - a young Chinese boy who leaves behind his family and home after the death of his father, to seek his fortune in the colonies of the British Empire, namely in Guiana. What follows is a harrowing boat trip, which is so well written, you can almost feel the claustrophobia and smell the death and faeces; his work on a sugar plantation on arrival in Guiana and his journey through decades as he seeks to overcome his past and improve his life and those ...more
Sara Wingfield
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The following review will be posted to my blog and social media during publication week -

The plot (in a spoiler-free nutshell): After his father's death, 9 year old song leaves his village in China in order to find work to support his starving family. After a long and perilous journey by boat he arrives in British Guiana. Song faces horrific racism and prejudice, but has a determined spirit, and the ability to make friends in unexpected places, in a story that is both inspirational and heartbrea
Ann T
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you a Unbound and Netgalley for an ARC in return for my review.

This was a wonderful book, it was beautifully written and completely drew me in. This is one of my favourite books I have read this year. Set aside uninterrupted time, bring a box of tissues and a pot of tea amd be ready to be mesmerised .
Kaitlin Underwood
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Song blew my mind. I LOVED this book! Such vivid historical pictures of different places in the world! Song's determination to make it and save his family is heart wrenching.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this story about a young boy who leaves China by boat to journey to Guiana in search of a better life. Song begins his adventure as a naive child but soon realizes this is no fairytale. Songs character is forged by his experiences, both good and bad, to turn him into the person he becomes warts and all.

I enjoyed that Song really develops before our eyes. He is not and angel nor is he jaded by his experiences to become bitter and angry. He is believable.

I knew little to noth
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall, Song is a worthy read. It is no simple Horatio Alger tale, but one that is layered with themes of systematic racism, religious hypocrisy, and most importantly, love of family. This is the history of colonial times come alive.

Thank you to NetGalley, Unbound, and Michelle Jana Chan for the advance copy for review.

Full review can be found here:

Please check out all my reviews:
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Beautiful, descriptive, authentic. Makes you connect with and root for all the characters, however fleeting their time in Song's life. I did not like the shape of the novel in the last few chapters (the themes of discrimination, family in Lishui and Song's middle-age all kept open till the end), sincerely hoping there's a sequel.
Beth Gardiner
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant read, utterly gripping! Song is such a compelling character, I couldn't stop turning the pages to see what happened to him next. Devoured the whole book in a weekend. It's both haunting and inspiring, a story of survival and hope. I didn't know anything about Guiana before picking this up, but the descriptions are so vivid that I felt like I was there. Such a powerful book. I highly recommend!
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Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A vividly-rendered reminder of the perils and tragedies that come with migration - this book was so painfully beautiful, it has stayed with me.
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