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Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Song of the Red Cloak by Chantel Acevedo

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 26 July 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone (potential for a sequel)
ISBN: 1463719310
Format: ebook
Pages: 310 (ebook: 609)

Place(s) Traveled to: Sparta, Greece (465 BC ~15 years after the Battle of Thermopylae)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First Line: It began with a pair of infants, both just a few days old. (Prologue)

I first heard about Song of the Red Cloak by Chantel Acevedo when my friend Jen wrote about it on as part of her holiday guide for book buying. As Jen is also one of the duo that got me to pick up the Demon’s Lexicon series, among other reads, I knew that this was a book that I had to check out. When I first started the book it was a bit slow going as I had to immerse myself into ancient times, a bit of history that I haven’t looked at much since my Ancient History class freshman year of high school. But Acevedo does a wonderful job of explain all the relevant information that you need to know. Also, it helps if you’ve watched the movie 300…you know…for research and such. 😉

The story is set in Ancient Sparta around 15 years or so after the Battle of Thermopylae (which is what the movie 300 centers around…see, its relevant!)  and focuses on two boys who shouldn’t be friends. One is Nikolas, a Spartan Prince, and the other is Galen, a slave in the agoge where Nikolas is training to be a Spartan warrior. Song of the Red Cloak is told from Galen’s point of view and deals a lot with his desire to be free and obtain the right to wear the red cloak of a Spartan warrior. As with most books there is also an antagonist which mostly comes in the form of Acayo who is the son of the rival ruling house of Sparta. Much of this book is fueled with tension as these three boys face off all trying to gain the upper hand in a battle of wills and strength. 

As I mentioned, this book started off a little slowly for me but then once I got into it the pages just flew on by and I read the bulk of the story on the train ride to NYC for BEA. I became so lost in this world and so caught up in the stories of these characters that I hated for it to end. The story was so rich and detailed that I could almost visualize ancient Sparta as I read the book. The plot was filled with intrigue and mystery and several twists and turns that keep the reader guessing on what might happen next. Although, I was able to figure out some of the overall mystery I didn’t guess it all and for that I tip my hat to the skill of Acevedo’s storytelling. 

This was a book that I was talking up a lot while at BEA and if you ran into me there then you may have heard me mention it once or twice because this is a book that I think that everyone should read. It was so well written and so detailed in its research that it is sure to delight anyone who loves history. But its more than just a historical story. There is mystery and adventure and elements of fantasy and, of course, a little bit of romance. Once this story gets going it doesn’t stop until you run and smack yourself against the last page and then you sit there for a moment a little sad that it is over. While I couldn’t find any word that there will be more books I really hope that Acevedo turns it into a series because I think there is more to Galen and Nikolas’s story that has yet to be told. Although if this is the only book she writes with these characters then know that the story ARC presented is all nicely tied up and there is no major cliff hanger. So you won’t be left hanging although if you are anything like me you will want more. This is a book that I highly recommend so if you haven’t read it yet, you are going to want to add it to Mt TBR.

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