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Spit and Song

(Ustlian Tales #2)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Kali is a merchant who yearns to leave the harsh deserts of Herrilock and travel across the sea, trading goods and soaking in the sights and cultures. With a new potion on the market undercutting her profits, though, her seabound dreams are put on hold indefinitely.

Failed musician Puk hits rock bottom after yet another catastrophic performance. Wandering the city streets
Paperback, 510 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Independently published
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Travis Riddle It can totally be read standalone, and was written with that intention! There are some minor connections to characters/events in Balam, but this was w…moreIt can totally be read standalone, and was written with that intention! There are some minor connections to characters/events in Balam, but this was written so that 100% of the knowledge you need is contained within these pages. (less)

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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  57 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Nick Borrelli
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read a Travis M. Riddle novel for quite some time now. I have heard that his stories are very original takes on standard fantasy tales and that they offer something really different. So when I saw that Storytellers was hosting a tour for his book SPIT AND SONG, well I rushed at the chance to sign up and see what all of the buzz was about. It became pretty clear as I read the opening chapters that the hype is well-deserved.

The book blurb does a pretty good job of touching on
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a semifinalist over on FBC but it’s also been on my review request list for a while. I’ve read Riddle’s works before and enjoyed myself, so I was looking forward to reading this one. The cover for this is eye-catching, I don’t typically put a whole lot of stock into cover appearances, but this one did grab me before I even opened the book.

Right away you know this is a high fantasy world, there’s talk of fantasy animals, and otherworldly landscapes and non-human species. There’s a lot co
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strong book. I plan to write a longer review but recently I fount the free time to be in short supply and when I have it I prefer to read :) ANyway, well worth a read.
Calvin Park
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Travis M. Riddle has once again given us a unique and imaginative tale. As one might expect, given Riddle’s earlier works, Spit and Song is an intensely personal story. It follows Kali, an aspiring merchant, and Puk, a down and out musician addicted to the titular spit. Set in the same world as Balam, Spring it recaptures much of that novel’s wonder and intricate worldbuilding while being entirely fresh and standalone.

One of the first things that helps Spit and Song distinguish itself is the ch
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall: 4.3 stars!
Writing, Language, and Execution: 4.5 stars
Plot: 4.5 stars
Character Development: 5 stars
Dialogue: 3.5 stars
Likeliness to Recommend: 4 stars

Riddle does a great job of bringing readers back into the world of Balam, Spring. Set in a totally different country, Riddle successfully brings in beautiful worldbuilding to enchant readers in this wonderful fantasy adventure following two unlikely partners. Riddle’s beautiful writing proves to be an enjoyable read for fans of all genres,
D.P. Woolliscroft
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Spit and Song is a blast. The frog and the flower, your new favorite fantasy odd couple, embark on a series of drug fueled (mis)adventures to get just enough money to sort their lives out. Both of them are way out of their depth, and one half of the couple is dealing with the kind of existential angst that most creatives will know all too well, but nonetheless they work their way through whatever life throws at them, all with a healthy dose of luck. The setting is interesting, feeling like somet ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I could not be more satisfied with this book! Riddle continues to prove that I'm pretty much going to love everything he writes.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

This is the fourth book I've read by Travis M. Riddle at this point and it's also the fourth book of Riddle's that I've sort of loved. I'm not sure exactly how he does it, but Riddle certainly knows how to create a fantastic story.

Spit and Song takes place in the same world as Balam, Spring, but it acts as a standalone and
Sheila Goicea
I'm excited to be a part of SPIT AND SONG blog tour with Storytellers On Tour from June 14th - June 20th, 2020!

I received a copy of this book from the author and Storytellers On Tour in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.


Content Warning: Profanity, Drug use & abuse, Mention of brothels
Each day they left before the sand could warm
Comfort lost, while the RIbroad pierced the sky
Each night of his far gone with spit and song
And hers a slog onwa
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Before talking about the book, I just want to say how much I adore the cover art. It’s stunning! You can find the author Amir Zand’s work at

At times I wasn’t sure whether Spit and Song sits firmly within the fantasy genre, or whether it might be labelled as sci-fi at times. I don’t mean that it feels futuristic, but the city of Yspleash our story begins in feels so much like Jakku and Tatooine from the Star Wars universe in many ways that I couldn’t help but draw comp
Matt McAbee
Spit and Song book two of the Ustlian Tales is a wonderful slice of life fantasy that is a nice change of pace from my normal reads. I usually don’t like the slice of life category but there is something about the way Travis writes that keeps me going. His characters leap off the page and make you really care about them.

The book centers around Kali and Puk. Kali is a Faif a person with multi-color skin and bright red hair, Puk on the other hand is a small being with blue damp skin and eyes like
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Straight away the intense setting descriptions creates a clear picture to help the reader really feel part of the storyline.
Moving onto the immense feelings descriptions seem to somewhat radiate through the page allowing the reader to feel sympathy towards the character.
The switches between characters throughout the book creates a sense of 'volume' within the novel, keeping people hooked.
Also the time and thought gone into each character is clearly displayed in how deep we can delve into their l
Despite being the second book in a series, Spit and Song easily reads as a standalone. It follows the musician Puk who’s addiction to fire spit gets him kicked out of his traveling troupe and the trader Kali who’s wares have decreased in value due to the introduction of a new product from across the sea. The book starts out a bit slow, setting up these backgrounds and leading the characters to meetup about 20% in. Both wanting to get to Atlua but running low on money, this unlikely pair teams up ...more
SFF ●llieSp●t Book Review
To compare this to anything, although the writing is different, the feel and style brought to mind One of my favorite series, The Bas Lag Books from China Mieville. It has that dark weirdness and otherworldly odd characters, yet still relatable and unique with a bit of a positive vibe.

This book definitely brought up some comparisons, however, where Mieville’s writing can be “heavy” and uncomfortable (in a good way, if that makes sense), Spit and Song breathed the adventure through the storyline
Phil Parker
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Spit and Song is one of the most original stories I’ve read in a long time and that’s why I loved it so much. It flies in the face of so many of the conventional fantasy tropes, almost as if Travis Riddle has deliberately set out to invert everything the fantasy genre expects. Perhaps it is deliberate! Perhaps he’s a revolutionary on a quest to change the world. He’s succeeding if so!
Spit and Song is a buddy story. For such a thing to work you need two characters who are not only very different
Jenna Jaco
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review to come!!!
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an enjoyable and satisfying read.

Fantastic and adventurous. I loved the characters, the flower and the frog, and the adventure they risk it all on.
Corey (grimdark_dad)
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book so goddamn much. It is for sure Not Your Typical Fantasy Novel, and that’s what makes it stand out. It almost felt a teensy bit like China Miéville’s Bas-Lag world, as populated by creatures from Jabba’s Palace…but also not really like that, either.

All told, Spit and Song is a total quirky gem of a fantasy novel, and I loved it.

Full review:
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've wanted to read one of Travis' books for quite some time now so I'm very thankful that he sent me his new book Spit and Song - and it definitely lived up to the expectations I had.

Spit and Song is set in the same world as one of his previous books, Balam, Spring, but is still a standalone novel.

What's special about it is that the two main characters, Kali and Puk, aren't human.
Kali is a faif, Puk is a qarm.
Both are very loveable characters, at least most of the time, and I really enjoyed goi
Katie P.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
This and more reviews -> Book Bustle

Spit and Song is a wonderful follow up to Travis M. Riddle's Balam, Spring! Fear not, this can be read as a standalone! I had no trouble understanding the story and the world, even though I hadn't read the first book. Though the book is hefty, weighing in at about 500 pages, I found the story to be easy to understand and it went by rather quickly once I'd gotten a hold on the characters and the other beings in the world.

Kali is a merchant with a dream, and th
Phil Williams
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’d been reading a lot of heavy stuff and wanted something breezy when I gave this a go, well aware Riddle has a slice-of-life, slow-burning peaceful approach from what I knew of Balam, Spring (which I’ve had for years but am yet to read but want to and leave me alone about that). I also knew he could write having enjoyed The Narrows. So, fresh out of mountains of grimdark books that each took two decades to plough through with burning hot tears and rage, this was the perfect antidote.

Ella (The Story Collector)
Kali is a merchant who longs to travel the world, trading good and seeing the sights. Puk is a musician with a drug addiction who has hit rock-bottom and finds himself stranded in an unfamiliar city with no way back home. A chance meeting and an illicit job opportunity bring the unlikely pair together on an epic journey that could change both their lives.

As usual, I am blown away by Travis’ originality. The creatures in this book are like nothing I’ve seen before. Set in the same world as Balam,
Steven McKinnon
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Spit and Song is a mesmerising fantasy buddy comedy set in a Jim Henson-esque wonderland, full of colourful (and all-too human) creatures.

We follow trader Kali and musician Puk on their cross-world race for a mystical artifact, as they butt heads and make friends along the way (and one or two enemies with a vested interest in said artifact...).

It's whimsical, yes, but it also deals with self-destructive impulses such as jealousy and imposter syndrome, and the things we do to tune that negativity
Lauren Kelsen
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
If you’re a fan of slower fantasy with amazing world building and complex characters then this is the perfect book for you!! I was so incredibly dazzled with the world, the creatures and the struggle Puk endured with his drug addiction and personal view of his self worth. There was a bit of a lull at midway, but I pushed through and it picked back up for a very exciting ending!
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! What a refreshing read this has been for me, a totally different take on fantasy with some great characters, a brilliant setting and fantastic story. 5/5 from me- a full review will be on my blog soon.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read.. Addicting and definite page turner!
Angad Oberoi
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Engaging story that is very character driven. I really liked the time given to Puk and Kali to develop! Full marks for that. Story wise it was uncomplicated but still enjoyable.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun and imaginative adventure of two unlikely characters.
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
SPOILER ALERT: I will not be discussing explicit spoilers, but will be talking about some of the important themes that the book contains.

I just finished this book, and really enjoyed it. Right before this one, I read the previous book in the series: Balam, Spring. While I enjoyed that, it's impressive how much Riddle improved on his writing in Spit and Song. It flows more naturally, and while very rarely the dialogue feels a little awkward, it is believable and makes the characters sympathetic.
Jason P
May 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A unique but meandering mess of a Tale

Another tale that wears its JRPG Inspiration on its sleeve, this is a unique but meandering story. Unfortunately, the extended length simply doesn't do the story any favors.

Unless you really enjoy JRPG inspired fiction, I just can't recommend this one despite its uniqueness.
Ronald SmithJr
Fun Readh

Interesting story, doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny, lots of suspension of disbelief, but it was fun. I would a little more of these characters.
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TRAVIS M. RIDDLE lives with his pooch in Austin, TX, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. His work has been published in award-winning literary journal the Sorin Oak Review.

Other books in the series

Ustlian Tales (2 books)
  • Balam, Spring (Ustlian Tales #1)

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