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A Choir of Lies

(A Conspiracy of Truths #2)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  80 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 4.33  · 
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 ·  298 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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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
S.T. Gibson
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
This is a gem of a book full of grit-teeth, open-eyed hope in humans' ability to pull themselves up off the ground and do the right thing, even when the chips are down. It's also full of snarky storytelling rap battles, tulip mania, whirling auction houses, lies that catch fire and almost take the teller down with them, and some grade A flirting. I'm so pleased to have gotten an ARC for review.

I loved so much about this book. I loved the slow unraveling of half-forgotten myths, the stories from
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.

This is one of those books that comes along once in a lifetime, I think - one of those stories that hits you exactly where you need it to hit you exactly when you need it.

I started reading this book 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 some sort of mythical societal pedigree, when deep down
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.)
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
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 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
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
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
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 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Mar 02, 2020 added it
I honestly don't know what I think... Hm.
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Ahhh! This was amazing. So many feels.
Peter Tillman
Author's comments @ Scalzi's:
"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
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: galley
Alexandra Rowland’s A Conspiracy of Truths took me by surprise in 2018. I deemed it an “unexpectedly delightful story featuring a wonderfully eccentric narrator named Chant.” I was just as surprised, in this follow-up book, to see Chant left by the wayside in favor of a story focusing on Ylfing, Chant’s former apprentice. Ylfing is now a wayward soul, untethered, searching for purchase in a new city, having left his name, his master, and his personal connections behind. In many ways, his experie ...more
Kelly W.
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I adored A Conspiracy of Truths, so of course, I was going to pick up A Choir of Lies as soon as I could. I was so engrossed that it only took me two days to read (I’m preparing for my dissertation defense, so that should tell you something), and I enjoyed every moment of the experience.

Writing: Alexandra Rowland remains one of the few authors that can write a story in first person POV and I’ll gobble it up. Something about the way both this book and A Conspiracy of Truths take up the subject of
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just, wow. I am sitting here, heart still pounding, still half breathless and absolutely dying to read more of Ylfing's story. I devoured both this book and the first one in the series. I couldn't put them down. I was reading them while brushing my teeth, while making coffee, while waiting for a meeting to start, when I should have been doing housework... any spare second I had, and some not so spare seconds. These books just gripped my heart and drew me in.

A Choir of Lies is both the same
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
this was a wild ride from start to finish. most of my thoughts are positive, but there are a couple i had about things that i would ~personally~ change.

the first thing i noticed was that there was very little humor. i realize that ylfing and his master-chant are two very different people with two very different outlooks on life, but master-chant's humor in a conspiracy of truths is what charmed me form page one and made me want to keep reading. this time it was finding out why ylfing hated himse
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
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave Book #1 A Conspiracy of Truths ACOT a 5*, was blown away by the world mythology, the importance placed on storytelling in culture. A Choir of Lies still has that world anthropology feel but with some differences. First, format. ACOL is presented in the form of a kiss and tell autobiography by Yfling (Chant's apprentice from ACOT) then read and commented on in the form of numerous annotations by a fellow Chant. Footnotes and citations were difficult to toggle back and forth in ebook.

I have
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: liverpool, 2020
This is a book of two halves. Groan at the cliche all you like. It is a cliche. My reactions to the two halves were very different though.

It’s a sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths. An actual sequel to boot, not a Book Two of the *ology. Which means 20 points to House Slytherin from me. Only one character from the other book is present, Ylfing, now called Chant. Because he’s done the ceremony to stop being an apprentice and become a Chant.

The first half finds Ylfling-Chant grieving from a trauma(v
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If all my years of apprenticeship taught me anything, it’s more important to tell a good story than a true story.
Three years after Chant trashed a country to get out of prison, his apprentice Ylfing has graduated into a proper Chant and travels alone. But Ylfing cannot let go of his name or the past, and even storytelling has lost its pleasure. But if Ylfing is not a Chant, then who – and what – is he?

Oh, this was a sad book.

In A Conspiracy of Truths, we meet Chant: a grumpy seventy-somet
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
[TLDR: Best book I’ve read all year; completely understands what your twenties actually feels like]

I’ll have to come back to write a better review, but as a recent college grad trying to figure out what the fuck I want to do with my life, this book hit me where I live

EDIT: Okay, I’ve stopped crying long enough that I think I can write a good review. Minor spoilers ahead, but not enough that I need to use the spoiler tag. Just me talking about the emotional arc and why it was so impactful. It’s g
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I needed to let this one sit for a few days, I always struggle to rate a book when I was enjoying it, but life got in the way of actually reading. If it takes me too long to read something (because of life, not the book), I start to enjoy it less. It makes me wish goodreads did the same thing Netflix did and you could only thumbs up or down, which is likely a super unpopular opinion.


I did really enjoy reading this. It's fun to read a fantasy where the main conflict is based in economics,
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Alexandra Rowland is the author of A CONSPIRACY OF TRUTHS and, occasionally, a bespoke seamstress under the stern supervision of her feline quality control manager. She holds a degree in world literature, mythology, and folklore from Truman State University, and she is one of three hosts of the literary podcast, Be the Serpent. Find her at, on Twitter as @_alexrowland, or ...more

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A Conspiracy of Truths (2 books)
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