Having enjoyed Sweet & Bitter Magic, I’ve been looking forward to Tooley’s latest. And I truly adored Sofi and the Bone Song. It’s an emotional and captivating story about ambition and love. For music fans, this is a must read. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Music runs in Sofi’s blood.
Her father is a Musik, one of only five musicians in the country licensed to compose and perform original songs. In the kingdom of Aell, where winter is endless and magic is accessible to all, there are strict anti-magic laws ensuring music remains the last untouched art.
Sofi has spent her entire life training to inherit her father’s title. But on the day of the auditions, she is presented with unexpected competition in the form of Lara, a girl who has never before played the lute. Yet somehow, to Sofi’s horror, Lara puts on a performance that thoroughly enchants the judges.
Almost like magic.
The same day Lara wins the title of Musik, Sofi’s father dies, and a grieving Sofi sets out to prove Lara is using illegal magic in her performances. But the more time she spends with Lara, the more Sofi begins to doubt everything she knows about her family, her music, and the girl she thought was her enemy.
As Sofi works to reclaim her rightful place as a Musik, she is forced to face the dark secrets of her past and the magic she was trained to avoid—all while trying not to fall for the girl who stole her future.
TW: parental abuse, emotional abuse, self-harm
Sofi and the Bone Song begins with heartbreak. Not only does it begin with loss, but it also begins with that pain of losing what we desire most. Concerned with becoming a Musik, Sofi’s entire life is upended when she loses the title. If this wasn’t enough to make my heart break for Sofi, Sofi’s conflicted family history and passion for music, thoroughly broke it. This contrast she has – which is told in flashbacks of her learning to play music – between playing with passion and for perfection. This chasing of not only un-attainability, but also to deny our love and self? Crushed.
The evolution of her training and the ways she smothers her wanting? What a heart wrenching emotional journey. Through training, she is taught that suffering creates art. That we must give up the desires of our heart, to break off pieces of ourselves, in order to produce. Even more, she is taught to ignore her own self, her gut, and her heart. That isolation and magic are necessary sacrifices. Can you already tell how much this struggle broke my heart? So her journey becomes one where she must confront her views on the world, music, and herself.
Sofi and the Bone Song is a story about love. The romance story line melted my heart. Especially how it forces Sofi to question her own self. But above all, it’s a story about self-love and self-acceptance. How we sometimes have to learn that we deserve kindness, it isn’t something we should have to earn. The world building of music and magic, including the kingdoms, was fabulous. Plus the ending was so emotional!
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Sofi and the Bone Song is a must read for lovers of queer fantasy, stories about self-acceptance, and music magic. Find Sofi and the Bone Song on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.