‘We belong to the Earth, Lainie-Bug. We were sent here in human form for a reason. If you don’t know what to do, then just be human.’
Right. Like that was ever a simple thing to do.
In the heart of the Wimmera region of Victoria, an ancient gateway to Eden is kept hidden and safe by a creature so powerful that even the moon would obey her commands – at least it would if she had any idea that she wasn’t just a normal girl about to finish high school.
When a mining company begins exploratory sampling near Lainie’s sheep farm, a family secret is revealed that makes her regret not having learnt more about her Indigenous heritage.
What she’s told by their farmhand, Harry – an Aboriginal elder – can’t possibly be true, but then the most irritating guy in class, Bane, begins to act even more insanely toward her than ever, until she can no longer deny that something very unusual is going on.
When Harry doesn’t return from his quest to seek help to protect the area from the miners, Lainie sets out to discover the truth of her heritage, and of the secret she’s been born to protect.
The concept of Songlines by Carolyn Denman is rather unique and is the main reason I picked this up, the blend of western fantasy with aboriginal stories sounded fascinating and I desperately needed to read this.
It was a slow burn of a novel which isn’t always what I am after and in this case, took me a while to get into, but overall I really enjoyed the way the characters are portrayed as smart fully formed humans with skills and capabilities. The premise of the Garden of Eden having been moved to the bush of Australia was definitely interesting, and surprisingly devoid of angels (I don’t know why but a deeply dislike angels as characters in novels).
Personal taste wise I really dislike the “destined to be together and no way out” trope when it comes to romances and the one in this novel is no different. I found it difficult to enjoy and believe at times yet it was engaging enough for me to feel the emotional impact of it. Lainie herself was a great character when she wasn’t being a heap of YA heroine stereotypes. Again I prefer novels without the stunning character everyone adores who thinks she’s hideous and incapable of being loved. But she is an adorably lovable character, the prankster who knows when to be serious and deeply thoughtful.
I really enjoyed that while we are dealing with the Garden of Eden and Cherubim and even a bloody flaming sword, this book isn’t some Christian trap trying to urge you towards the religion. I really would have liked to see more in the way of the aboriginal belief system work within this book other than an “elder” and an allusion to our MC being part Aboriginal. This had promised to be a phenomenal story and got us to the finishing stretches but just couldn’t seem to cross that finish line, luckily it still manages to reach excellent.
All of this said I’ll admit that the whole last chapter and epilogue of Songlines had me bawling my eyes out. Overall is it a spectacular book that will change your life? No. Will I continue reading the series in anticipation of the fourth book soon to be released? Yes, Yes I will.
I gave this book 4 stars.
Songlines by Carolyn Denman was originally published in 2016 and is the first in the Sentinels of Eden series. The first three books can be purchased at Amazon, Book Depository, Mighty Ape, or wherever you get your books.
The Fourth book in the series ‘Shamar’ will be out June 2019 and is not yet available for preorder.
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A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.