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A Choir of Lies

(The Tales of the Chants #2)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  567 ratings  ·  132 reviews
A young storyteller must embrace his own skills—and the power of stories—to save a nation from economic ruin, in the standalone sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths.

Three years ago, Ylfing watched his master-Chant tear a nation apart with nothing but the words on his tongue. Now Ylfing is all alone in a new realm, brokenhearted and grieving—but a Chant in his own right, emplo
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Jadon Mann
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book took me nine months (to the day, almost) to finish. Let me explain why.

There are novels that come along once in a lifetime, I think - stories that hit you exactly where you need it to hit you exactly when you need it. A CHOIR OF LIES is absolutely one of those books.

I started reading this right after starting a job I was already mostly uncertain about. I had gotten a degree in something I was only chasing because of the promise of large paychecks and the mythical concept of "making it"
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-2019
So I rated the first book 5/5 and this one 5/5 but this one is an EVEN BETTER 5/5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When we last saw Yfling, Chant (his Master-Chant) had been the wrecking ball that brought down Nuryevet. Yfling, a sweet young man who loved nothing more than a good tumble with any handsome young man who was willing, always seemed like a deer caught in the glare of Chant's determination to bring down a corrupt, absurdist government. Three years later, we find him on his own, now himself a Chant, and the title of the book could have easily been "What the Hell Am I Doing Here?" or "How in the Nam ...more
I am upset because I wanted to love this book and instead I am conflicted, confused, and slightly annoyed. I LOVED Alexandra Rowland's first book and I was super excited to read a companion novel feature Ylfing that is about a FANTASY TULIP MANIA aka the coolest idea for a book ever. And this definitely did deliver with the tulip mania premise (although?? I really can't under why people would buy plants that smell like rotting meat no matter how pretty they are), footnotes, cool epistolary forma ...more
Lauren James
The sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths, which I described as “An old man is trapped in prison, accused of witchcraft. An old man who has spent his life learning how to tell stories, and manipulate perceptions as a Chant storyteller. An old man who will do anything to get free. An old man, who single-handedley manages to take down an entire government from a prison cell.....”

This follows Chant’s apprentice, Ylfing. At the start of the book he’s very depressed, having been abandoned by his master b
Aug 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was unexpected.
I enjoyed the first book in this duology, although they do stand alone if you don't wanna read both, but this one I loved. We follow a different main character than the first one, and it was one I really already liked, and following him was a joy. In a sense. Ylfing is a really sad guy for a lot of this novel, but for me it was a relatable sort and I really sympathised with him. It's about him really screwing up and owning up to it. But it's also about him figuring out, who h
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-skimmed
This is a book completely effused with hope.

First, the style is daring. Alex's first book, A CONSPIRACY OF TRUTHS, had an unreliable narrator telling his story to a mysterious witness. This book continues the unconventional style by having the text itself be, in story, a manuscript given to someone who is annotating their own opinions in footnotes. It really plays with the medium - names get crossed out, chapters omitted, snarky footnotes abound. It's lovely.

Beyond the style though, this is a b
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Last fall, I had the great pleasure of reading Alexandra Rowland’s A Conspiracy of Truths. This incredible novel felt like it was written just for me, because the main character was such a knowledgeable storyteller that he was able to weaponize it to escape mortal peril. Rowland’s fantasy meditation on the power of story continues in A Choir of Lies. Here, the apprentice of the protagonist of A Conspiracy of Truths, has been attempting to make his way in the wide world as a Chant. Being a profes ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars--I really liked it.

Poor Ylfing.

(A more useful review: I enjoyed this follow-up, semi-stand-alone novel by Alexandra Rowland. She's excellent with characterization; I especially love her strong middle-aged women. It was nice to see some of the emotional fallout damage from the first book--it would have been easy to gloss over that.)
it seems so trivial to say that its about the power of stories but it is about that and its about so much more than that. it hurts like fucking hell to read but it also feels right to have finished it.
changed my mind. i cannot be serious, its just not ME. so for gods sake can we give ylfing a nice bf, he's had enough of trash men in his life thank you.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths which I loved. A Choir of Lies follows Ylfing a few years after the end of A Conspiracy of Truths (which was narrated by his mentor-Chant, a storyteller extraordinaire) after the [spoilers]. Ylfling writes the story and it is interwoven with extensive footnotes from some of the people he meets along the way, commenting sometimes in the future, knowing what has happened. Ylfing finds himself at the centre of a tulip mania and he has to find a way to find himse ...more
Joe Kessler
Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
In the final analysis I think I don't love this spinoff sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths quite as much as the original novel, but it's a welcome return to a land where diversity in race, gender, sexuality, disability, and other traits is accepted matter-of-factly and stories in the right hands have the power to shake society. Our old protagonist Chant is nowhere to be found, but his former apprentice has taken to keeping a journal, with the text of the book made up of his entries and the accompa ...more
Doctor Science
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WOW. There are so many layers of story in this story about storytelling! It's presented as a diary or journal by Ylfing, the sweet cinnamon roll apprentice from A Conspiracy of Truths. The diary is full of footnotes, which turn out to be reactions, commentary, counter-arguments, and speculation by a different character. Both writers tell you they're unreliable narrators, but also that they think story-telling is a type of truth-telling.

The core story is about something like Tulip Mania in a cit
Verónica Fleitas Solich
Really great.
I love the tone of these books and their sense of humor.
This one was just magnificent, even better than the first one.
I want more from the author!
David H.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Though this is billed as a standalone sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths, I can't imagine reading this without knowing one of the pivotal moments of Ylfing's life. A Conspiracy of Truths was more as an intrigue-focused story of stories, whereas the nominal plot of a fantasy version of "tulip mania" in A Choir of Lies takes the backseat to a character-focused look at Ylfling, mixed in with some creative structure (there are over 300 footnotes) and some unreliable narration. I'm honestly left a bit ...more
Oct 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favourite, 2021
Holy shit, that was... so good?! Like so good, you do not understand: the first book was phenomenal, highly recommend it on audiobook but this baby made me tear up so many times!!!

Pleas, please, pleas, read this book for my soft boy Yfling, he deserves all the love!
I had a really, really hard time getting into this one. Like 250 pages hard. Rowland created a lead character in a funk and it put me into a funk as a reader (in large part why I've never finished Crime and Punishment or The Magic Mountain). Those are good books to be compared to, except that I found them all fairly dismal trudges. I was this close to doing a DNF on this one as well, but I'm glad I hung in.
Eventually the footnotes got a little more informative and a little less snarky, Ylfing /
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Someone else said in their review that they'd rated the first book five stars but that this one was an even BETTER five stars, and I honestly couldn't agree more. This book is absolutely brilliant. It does all sorts of weird things with structure, but they don't seem contrived, they just work. There's a lot of good stuff in here about stories and accountability and loss and healing from trauma and it made me cry on at least two separate occasions.

Don't believe that it's a standalone, though; imh
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5/5 stars

When I heard that this sequel would star Ylfing, I was really looking forward to reading the book because he was such a wide-eyed, innocent and fun character in A Conspiracy of Truths. But Alexandra Rowland just sucked out all the personality and joy from him (especially egregious in the first third of the book) with the story she was telling. The plot itself revolving around a flower really wasn’t that interesting or compelling, especially compared to the first book that involved que
Sep 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Okay, I'll be first to admit that it doesn't take much for a book to make me cry, but I can't remember any that made me tear up with every other chapter. I wish I was exaggerating. And is this a tragic story? No!! It's just a boy and he's young and he doesn't know what to do with his life and I know that as someone who has at least one technically useless, six-years-of-my-life-that-seemingly-led-to-nowhere academic title to their name that I was bound to connect to this quite viscerally, but I a ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Cathryne
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a book about mistakes. Not just individual mistakes, but the mistakes of others, and the butterfly effect of errors that compound upon each other to create a storm. Rowland could have stopped it there and had the compelling bones of a story, but they chose to go even further, and create a story that is even moreso about the power of healing and forgiveness. Despite the fact that our protagonist, the Chant formerly known as Ylfing, spends much of the story in a dark place, the final messa ...more
Bee Scott
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is incredible. It may even be better than A Conspiracy of Truths but it’s definitely different. And why wouldn’t it be when it’s sunshine-incarnate Ylfing and not crotchety-old-man Chant telling the story?!

One of my favorite things with this series has been how it shows the power of a story. Words have power and magic, and depending on how they’re wielded, they truly can change the course of history.

I have complicated feelings on Chant after reading this because the way he ended things
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved A Conspiracy of Truths, yet I must admit I was a bit skeptical about a sequel where Ylfing was the main character. Though it took me a bit to get over that, get over it I did and I ended up loving A Choir of Lies even more than I did the first book.

This book is far more personal, I think. Though I know nothing of the author or the author's personal life, this story feels like a personal story the author *needed* to tell. But the author did what any good Chant would do: wrapped it in enou
Mar 02, 2020 added it
I honestly don't know what I think... Hm. ...more
Ahhh! This was amazing. So many feels.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'll start with this: I have no idea if the author is aware that they have so precisely captured the real, non-fantastical, present day Earth life of someone who learned a craft with starry eyes and one day found themselves compromised as a creatively jaded young person in a world cursed by the advent of marketing*, but it's dead on—the malaise of easy employment in fields that bring only more depression and repression, the enormous weight of being an "asset" and a potent agent of influence yet ...more

Longer review:

A Choir of Lies is the sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths, but although Conspiracy offers context and some backstory I think Choir works as a standalone. So feel free to dive in even if you’ve skipped Conspiracy!

(Although you should definitely check out Conspiracy too, because it’s great as well!)

Basically, this is the story of a Chant – someone who travels the world collecting and selling stories – not so much settling in as washing up in fantasy!Holland, and using his st
Peter Tillman
Author's comments @ Scalzi's: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2019/09/1...
"Economics isn’t boring at all, it’s fascinating. It is as fascinating as political intrigue or comedies-of-manners or religious persecution or war, because all those things too are just people-being-people, coming up with intricate rules of a game that they’ve decided is terribly, terribly important, and then forgetting that that they can make new games with new rules, if the old ones no longer suit.

At the heart of the game o
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Alexandra Rowland is the author of several fantasy books, including A Conspiracy Of Truths, A Choir Of Lies, and Some by Virtue Fall, as well as a Hugo Award-nominated podcaster (all sternly supervised by their feline quality control manager). They hold a degree in world literature, mythology, and folklore from Truman State University.

They are represented by Britt Siess of Britt Siess Creative Man

Other books in the series

The Tales of the Chants (2 books)
  • A Conspiracy of Truths (The Tales of the Chants, #1)

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