Author: Alice Ivinya
Genre: YA fairy tale retelling
Goodreads: Silent Melody
The Pied Piper took the children...
She was left behind.
When the Pied Piper came, only three children remained. One was deaf and one was blind. Being deaf meant life was hard for Adelaide in thirteenth century Germany. However, it also saved her from the Pied Piper's music. When the children were stolen, she was left behind. Now she and her blind friend must risk everything to free the children trapped in an eternal dance. But to rescue them she must face the Heartless Queen, who will do anything to keep them, and survive her twisted games. Adelaide finds she has no choice but to trust the man she should hate and hope he is not playing games of his own. If she fails, the children will be lost forever.
This is a beautifully-crafted, fantasy retelling of the classic Pied Piper fairy tale, with fully-formed, three-dimensional, diverse characters.
Set in Hamlin, Germany (the home of the original true story, in which 130 children vanished back in 1284 – but that’s a tale for another time) and the glittering fantasy realm of Avia, the story follows deaf teenager Adelaide. She’s left behind when the Piper’s haunting music lures the children of Hamlin into the woods, where they disappear without a trace.
Adelaide, being unable to hear the melody, recruits the blind daughter of her employer to guide her, and together the two make the treacherous journey through the woods and into the mountains, where they stumble through a portal into a magical realm.
Throughout the course of the book, Adelaide's courage grows and her inner-strength is revealed by several challenges created by the cruel, heartless Queen Oda, who is auditioning the stolen children of the world to become her heirs.
Peter (the perfect name for a piper, don't you think?) is a complicated figure, and I wasn't sure which side he was on right until the very last second. My heart was in my mouth as I read the final chapters, hoping that Peter would come good and whisk Adelaide away to safety in his arms.
I loved the fact that Adelaide's hearing loss was central to the plot in a positive way, not only did it prevent her from falling under the piper's spell, but there are moments throughout the story where her deafness and the secret sign language she and her sister invented come in really useful. I found the deaf representation very well done and Adelaide's bravery and selflessness were so inspiring.
Goodreads: Enchanted Melody
One curse breaks, another begins… The woman he loves may now be Crown Princess, but Peter's life is far from easy. The country is broken and many children are still missing. Not to mention that he still has to live with Queen Oda, who is far from sane. Peter must rescue the children that he stole, but their captives will not let them go without a fight. Desperate for redemption, he takes riskier missions in order to correct the wrongs of his past and feel worthy of Adelaide’s love. However soon he is in real danger when he stumbles on a forgotten mythological power, and a curse makes him change places with a bear. He must learn how to break the curse while freeing the children or leave Avia broken and threatened by war. Meanwhile Adelaide must choose between fighting to heal her country and saving the man she loves.
Book two is told from Peter’s point of view, giving us a deeper insight into the emotional struggles and heartache he faces as a result of the events in book one, and the prequel short story Heartless Melody (which you can read in Enchanted Waters).
Enchanted Melody is a loose reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, but it reminded me more of the Disney-Pixar movie, Brave. Peter, in his misguided search for the children he stole and the queen handed off to various tribes as slaves, stumbles across a legendary figure known only as the Stitcher, who offers him a way out of his predicament by switching his soul with that of a hibernating bear.
Forced to break the curse before bear wakes from its slumber and goes mad inside his human body, Peter decides to continue with his mission of finding and returning the stolen children of Avia. Accompanied by a young girl who lost a limb and was abandoned by her cold-hearted parents, but whose spirit shines brighter than Avia's blue crystals that decorate the Singing Woods, and her pet anteloupe, Enyi, Peter must learn to love again with his whole heart, or live out the rest of his days as a bear.
I loved discovering more about the history of Avia and the magic that the goddess blessed the realm with, as well as learning more about the different people who call Avia and the surrounding areas home. The shapeshifting tribes that reside in the mountains and lakes were fascinating, I would have loved to have learned more about the Painted Ones - the shifters who had abandoned their tribes and joined together for some common goal. But the tension Ivinya created between the tribes and the Avians was really credible, especially when Peter's mission didn't quite go to plan and all hell broke loose!
The Songs of the Piper series is a gorgeous, romantic fantasy read with a strong plot and well-drawn characters. I teared up more than once, particularly when reading about Charity, the young girl who walks with a crutch due to her missing leg, and nicknames bear Peter as Grumpy. The romance between Adelaide and Peter is a really sweet, slowburn fall from enemies to lovers, with a beautifully satisfying ending.
If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, sweet romances, fast-paced plots and really positive diverse rep, then I recommend this series.
This article was written by Lyndsey Hall.
Lyndsey Hall is a UK-based YA fantasy writer and reader, and author of The Fair Chronicles. She writes novels and short stories filled with magic, heart-stopping action and swoon-worthy romance. Pick a cover to find out more.