I fully confess! I am a rabid fan of A.G. Howard’s writing!
The Splintered trilogy absolutely stole my affections and remains one of my top favourite books of ever. (Hello #TeamMorpheus and that shall never change!) So I was I was DESPERATE AND DYING to read her latest book The Architect of Song. The “desperate and dying” was a very apt feeling considering this is about a ghost. (Hahahaha, get it? Dying to read….because it’s about a ghost?? Hush, I’m hilarious.)
This is a little different to the Splintered series because it’s (A) historical fiction, and (B) it’s an adult book. So someone award me for adulting whilst reading this. (GO ME.) I’m so pleased with this book, even if I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. Because it was beautiful and addictive AND THAT IS GLORIOUS.
- IT IS A GHOST STORY. I have a slightly ginormous addiction to ghost stories, okay?! If I see one, I am 100% all over it. The entire premise of The Architect of Song is: deaf girl + finds dead boy in cemetery + must work out the mystery behind his death + avoid marrying a pompous viscount + oh she makes hats + magical flowers + falling down holes + EVERYONE IS HIDING SOMETHING = happy me thank you very much. (Also fun fact: I wrote a wattpad story about a deaf girl and a dead boy, so clearly the combination is the best.) I just always adore stories where live people fall for dead people. Being dead is apparently attractive. Don’t go to cemeteries, kids, unless you want to meet your OTP.
- IT HAS DELICIOUSLY COMPLEX CHARACTERS. Characters are what makes or breaks a book for me. And these ones made it.
- JULIET: She is, obviously, deaf, and has been since she was a child. She’s a little bit of a damsel, which bothered me at times, but I mostly loved her creativity. She’s an awesome liar. SHH THAT IS A GOOD SKILL WHEN YOU’RE ALWAYS TALKING TO DEAD PEOPLE. And she’s a milliner and makes cool hats!! (And this is probably not the case: but I couldn’t help but think that was a nod to the Mad Hatter for Alice in Wonderland!)
- HAWK: He is our delightful ghost! Although, I mean, he had problems…apart from the fact he was DEAD. He was a bit aggressive with his attraction to Juliet at first, but he mellowed out as the story went along. AND I LIKED HIM A LOT. He’s also half Romanian and has darker skin. He had so many sassy lines, too. The dead ones are always the sassiest.
- LORD THORNTON: He is the rich, slightly mysterious, slightly snide viscount who wants to marry Juliet. Or maybe he wants to marry her land. WHO CAN KNOW. He is also (A) dashingly handsome, (B) has his own physical disability and is therefore #relatable to Juliet, and (C) a lot nicer than he lets on to the peasants. I totally adored how complex he turned out to be!
Okay, keep your socks on, peoples: yes there IS a love triangle. But I am like officially WONDERFULLY DOOMED to enjoy love-triangles written by AG Howard, apparently. The book ticked all the right boxes for me by developing BOTH of the men and making them intriguing so I didn’t even know who to ship. (I confess, my soft spot is the ghost because #tragedy <3)
- I DIDN’T WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. Which is definitely the feeling I want to have while reading. The first 50% wasn’t rocket-ship fast. But then the mysteries thickened and people started toppling into dangerous situations and I WAS HOOKED. Also plot twists? We gotcha plot twists.
- GORGEOUS WRITING. It is honestly my favourite thing. The words were picked so beautifully and they created such tangible images that I felt like I could see the whole thing. So much pretty.
- I SQUINT A BIT AT THE PORTRAYAL OF DEAFNESS. Now, as someone who is not deaf, I probably should shush here? But, I’ve been researching Deafness for several years for my own writing, so I’m hyper attuned to the details right now. (Not to say I know everything! Because I DO NOT.) One thing that stuck out to me is: Juliet lip-reads perfectly. This is not…realistic, in my honest opinion. I definitely recommend watching this video to see how freakishly difficult lip reading is. I felt like Juliet’s deafness didn’t really affect her life because her perfect lip-reading turned it into a “superpower” and kind of erased the fact she was deaf. Also it rings warning bells when even the blurb says things like “imprisoned by deafness“. NOW, IN THAT ERA, DEAFNESS WOULD’VE BEEN CONSIDERED “BROKENNESS”!! I totally acknowledge that! So it was realistic that everyone treated Juliet’s disability as a shameful thing. But I wanted to see Juliet at peace with her deafness and proud of herself by the end and she didn’t get there. (Maybe in future books??)
Ultimately, I’m definitely pleased with this book!
It was visually delicious and I loved being sucked into the world. The plot twists were the best of ever. I’m talking about me-sitting-there-going-omg-omg-omg. Honestly that is the kind of plot twisty reaction I want!! By the end I had ALL THE EMOTIONS and it is fabulous. A.G. Howard is 100% an auto-read author for me!! I CAN’T GET ENOUGH.
(Also I’m so wildly excited for AG Howard’s next book coming in 2017. I WILL HYPERVENTILATE UNTIL ROSEBLOOD IS IN MY HANDS. Phantom of the Opera retelling people!! AHHHH!)
THANK YOU TO THE AUTHOR FOR THE ARC. The Architect of Song by AG Howard was published August, 2016.
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.