You may have heard of a nifty little author by the name of J.L Bryan, who wrote a pretty stellar series called The Paranormals. Well, I’m hear to talk about the first 3 books in his new 7 book series, Songs of Magic!
Jason plays guitar in a teenage garage band called the Assorted Zebras, but they have no fans, no gigs, and they’re going nowhere. Even worse, Jason has a crush on their lead singer, but she doesn’t seem interested in him at all.
Then Jason steals instruments from the fairy world. Soon the band is enchanting crowds, and Jason is a step closer to the girl of his dreams, but the new gear is brimming with dangerous and destructive magic they can’t control.
Their shortcut to success has cost a troupe of innocent fairies their livelihood and turned Jason and his band into enemies of the powerful Queen Mab, who sends supernatural bounty hunters to track them down, including one of the most dangerous horned creatures in Faerie…a small unicorn named Buttercake.
With their enchanted instruments charming the crowds, the Assorted Zebras attract interest from record producers, and soon they’re off to cut their first album and music video. Jason and his friends don’t know they’ve just become pawns in a sinister plot by a cabal of evil fairies…
Meanwhile, Aoide and her band pursue a new strategy for regaining their stolen instruments, one that will take them into the most haunted region in Faerie.
While their first single shoots up the Billboard charts, the Zebras hit the road as the opening band for an epic stadium tour across America. The future looks bright for the band…if they can survive the rioting fans, Queen Mab of Faerie, the dullahan, and a few evil teddy bears.
Aoide the Lutist and Liadan the banshee wolf cross into man-world on the trail of the stolen fairy instruments. Aoide is shocked at the strangeness of life among the humans, but she also learns about a thrilling new kind of music never heard in Faerie…rock and roll.
Jason is normal teenage boy, unsure of himself and desperately wanting to profess his love to his band mate, Erin, who unfortunately has a boyfriend who makes me gag in every scene. Yes, he’s really gag-worthy. Erin and Jason, along with
Mitch Mick and Dred (don’t call her Mildred, you might lose an eye) make up the Assorted Zebras. When we first meet Jason and gang, they are a measly garage band that has no hope of any future in the music biz. Even the neighborhood rugrats get bored with their music. However, after a run-in with a goblin and a trip to Faerie, Jason acquires some magical instruments that send humans into crazysauce territory, and thus begins the Assorted Zebra‘s descent into stardom hell. With magical creatures constantly on their tail for the return of these special instruments, Jason and his band mates are dealing with both instant, maniacal stardom and serious magical threats simultaneously. FUN TIMES!
Of course, since they become instantaneously famous, they are signed to the largest record company in the world. Mick and Dred are barely out of high school, and Erin and Jason have a year left. Yet somehow, their parents allow them to fly to Ireland to partake in a serious recording contract deal. They film videos and set out on a tour in a stinky school bus with no A/C and a tour manager that cracked me up, while protecting their cash cow instruments from monsters and mayhem.
You want world-building? J.L. hands it to you in spades and he told us all about it here. He has created a fun, imaginative, creepy, and crazy landscape that makes me squeal with delight. We’ve got the Sugar Swamps, the Depressed Cyprus Swamp, and a pumpkin patch that packs a punch. Ha. Say that 5 times fast. The list is endless. Scary Queen Mab is not to be messed with, and she is furious Fae magic is in the hands of pitiful humans. She unleashes all sorts of insanity to retrieve the instruments.
The dullhan, a nasty darkfae who carries her head around in a frakkin cage, really wants to retrieve the instruments so she can unleash her own wicked plan. She has recruited her wicked creepy darkfae friends: a woman with a spider-body, maniacal teddy bears and flying gargoyles. Their descriptions are SO great, and their magical abilities even more so. Some more fascinating creatures of Faerie are unicorns that grow in sugar swamps, giant saber tooth swamp ducks, the muffin-trap plant, banshee wolves, trolls, satyrs, goblins, leprechauns and elves. And who-owls. ♥
Grizlemor, a cranky goblin that ends up being more of a friend to the band, starts off annoying but quickly becomes a highlight of the series. I loved this guy, especially how he poofs out of existence, always tries to talk sense into Jason and gang, and eats nasty concoctions you would expect a Goblin to eat. Another favorite is Buttercake the unicorn, who is quite adorable and packs quite a surprise. Her elf keeper, Hoke + 5 million-other-words-because-he-has-the-longest-name-in-existence, is entertaining too.
Aoide (which I have no clue how to pronounce, so I called her Addie the entire time) is one of the musical Fae whose life is now turned upside down because some nosy human stole her instruments. She makes her way into the human world at some point since the rest of the Fae have been useless in retrieving her instruments. (You would think Fae would have no problems retrieving an item from a human, but Jason and gang can make some magic of their own.} Aoide is clueless about man-world and her interactions with humans are so entertaining! Liadan, the banshee wolf who accompanies her, is a character I came to like greatly.
I am pretty much rambling at this point, but you have to see my point by now. This series is so engaging because it’s fun and light, it doesn’t take itself seriously and it will make you smile and laugh because it is just damn entertaining. The mockery and satire warmed my sarcastic heart. Each book picks up exactly where the last left off, and since they are not very long, it’s like reading an endless story full of win.
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