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A Choir of Lies (A Conspiracy of Truths, #2)
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A Choir of Lies

(A Conspiracy of Truths #2)

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  37 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, employed as
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Average rating 4.50  · 
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 ·  105 ratings  ·  37 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 Name of Stories ...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
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 professional wandering st ...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
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,
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 w
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 of Economics (Late-Stage C
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,
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 experience is ...more
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
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.
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-som
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
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
Elizabeth A
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A somewhat surprising, but worthy sequel to one of the more unique books I read in 2018, A Conspiracy of Truths. (Honestly, this book doubled down on the uniqueness, with a mysterious second narrator communicating—at first, exclusively—through footnotes. It reminded me strongly of WIPs I've beta read, and I think that is not an accident in this story about storytellers.)

Ylfing, the sweet cinnamon roll apprentice who served as the heart of Conspiracy, returns here as the protagonist, heartbroken
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqa
A delight to read, if hard to read in parts (Ylfing is very, very depressed for the first one-third or so of the book, you can practically feel the grey weight of it pressing down as you read). I like him as a narrator much more than I liked Chant (and wow, Chant is even more of a jerk than I thought he was), and his development as a person and as a Chant is lovely and real. I want to go to Heyrland, and see the stars-in-the-marsh (but not smell them), and eat some of those pastries, and hear mo ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer
I was having mixed feelings about this book until somewhere around halfway through, at which point it basically turned to me and went, and now you get everything YOU want, have fun. (And for the record, I do think that what I was having mixed feelings about would totally appeal to a lot of other people, it's just that the semi-antagonistic alternate narrator who comments via footnote whenever she disagrees with what the main narrator is saying is...not my thing. I love unreliable narrators, but ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'A Choir of Lies' is a really good book about stories and connections, about the way we come together and the things we say to pull ourselves apart. (One thing of note -- preferably you should read a physical version, because so much of this is in footnotes, and e-readers don't handle those nearly as gracefully as I would like.) It's a story that stands on its own, although I'd still suggest reading 'A Conspiracy of Truths' first just to have as background; it's also very emotional and had me gr ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21st-century, fantasy
This is a much harder book that conspiracy of truths, both to read and I think to write. Aftermaths often are and for all the “fun” that Chant was having in book one, the way book two thinks about repercussions is really interesting and...crunchy, perhaps.
Where is culpability? How does that differ from responsibility? What are we called upon to do?
And also ugh I love Ylfing so much! And I loved how this story handled the intersection of grief and depression. I love when second books total
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually really liked this, but I'm not sure how much of a stand-alone I consider it. While I read it without having read the previous book, it definitely spoiled the previous book.

That being said, this continues the theme of "deal with trauma and denial/self-destructive behavior I've been reading this year, which is kind of unexpected as I don't really seek that out. But it's a worthwhile thing to emphasize in life, to be fair.

I received a free electronic ARC of this book from th
Anne Worth
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked this even better than Conspiracy of Truths, probably because I liked the main character better (although I did enjoy Chant from book #1). I appreciate how the author makes almost every character likeable, even when they have flaws -- sometimes enormous ones. As with book #1, the setting is fully realized and has a fascinating culture. The ending leaves open the possibility of other books but isn't going to frustrate the reader if this is the final book.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could echo all the other accurately glowing reviews here — this is a book suffused with hope, and heartbreak, and the powerful natures of both stories and people — but instead I will say: Chapter Sixty-Four of this book contains the most delicious-sounding description of a sticky bun I have ever read in my life. Where can I get this sticky bun? Hopefully being emotionally devastated isn't a prerequisite to acquiring the sticky bun.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so gooooooood.

If you like books with themes of:
the power of stories
the strength of humanity is compassion and community
the inherent, maddening divergence of diaspora traditions

and also:
living with mental illness
cantankerous middle aged women
unreliable narrators

you will love this!
Sidney Maris Hargrave
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible sequel! Please let there be a third, please. I adore the worldbuilding so much, it is one of my favorites. The characters are wonderful too, and I love the way everything unfolds through and around the stories.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Ylfing was my favorite character in A Conspiracy of Truths so I was very excited to read his story here. His struggle with grief was absolutely heartbreaking, but his growth through the story was solid and encouraging.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
This is PHENOMENAL. If you thought the first book was phenomenal, this is somehow even MORE phenomenal than that.

I read this in one day when I should have been writing a chapter of my thesis due the next, and I can’t even bring myself to regret that. The power of stories, all right.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The footnotes really changed the mood/tone of the book. I can't imagine reading this without Mistress Chant's snark. However, just like the first one, I thought this book went on for far too long, and descended into rambling at the end.
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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 wandering the woods of we ...more

Other books in the series

A Conspiracy of Truths (2 books)
  • A Conspiracy of Truths (A Conspiracy of Truths, #1)
“Because who you were is just the stories you tell yourself about yourself, and the intersection of all the hurts you've ever had and how you survived them.” 1 likes
“Because who you are is just the stories you tell yourself about yourself, and the intersection of all the hurts you've ever had and how you survived them.” 0 likes
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