Publication Date: 26 July 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone (potential for a sequel)
Pages: 310 (ebook: 609)
The Author on the Web:
Chantel Acevedo – Official Site
Chantel Acevedo – Blog
Chantel Acevedo – Twitter
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.