This book has been high on my TBR since I first heard about it, and my Calligraphy Guild comp list was the nudge I needed to finally buy it. I’m not always a huge fan of E.B. Dawson’s short stories, but I don’t think any of her novels have let me down yet and Sing to Me of Rain is definitely my new favorite of her works!
What is Sing to Me of Rain about?
An innocent naiad. A wounded boy. An adventure that will change their lives forever.
Plip is a naiad of the Great Waterfall, destined to one day sing the songs that send rain out into the world.
Akino isn’t destined for anything but trouble. His father long gone, his mother working on a plantation far away, he doesn’t really belong in the village below the Waterfall. And the villagers don’t let him forget it.
When Akino convinces Plip to travel down the mountain with him, for his own selfish purposes, he launches them into a world more dangerous than either of them could imagine. A world where people are not always what they seem and the rain does not fall evenly across the land.
I rarely underline in fiction books. It took me long enough to be comfortable underlining non-fiction, and something still feels taboo about underlining fiction, but I barely got five pages into Sing to Me of Rain before deciding I needed to read it with a pencil in hand. The character conversations have so much depth! There are so many wise insights, and I underlined so many paragraphs. The depth never feels forced, either; it all comes about naturally through the characters’ musings about the world and the ways they see life. You don’t see that sort of worldview or reflective dialogue in a lot of fiction these days, and it was so refreshing to read!
Even beyond the deep conversations, the characters are charming in and of themselves. Plip has such a lovely sense of wonder and optimism. Akino is more cynical, and yet the fact that he’s a child is still evident in the black-and-white way he sees things. Tsomo and Ujio are two very different types of mentor characters, but both suit their roles perfectly; I loved the dynamic that Ujio had as a protective figure for the younger characters. And Burung was fun, with his quirks. Not to mention that the emotional attachments Dawson created between the reader and characters were incredible. I have never read a book that was able to make me so sad so quickly.
The setting was so rich and vibrant! I loved seeing the beautiful world that Dawson created, and the interesting creatures that inhabit it. It’s such a beautiful blend of bright and soft, as if the world were painted in jewel tones and then the edges were softened by hazy light. It’s vibrant and rich and deep, but it feels soft and approachable and hopeful.
A few passages I underlined:
Music had surrounded them their entire lives, and yet this was different somehow. The naiads’ songs were powerful, but each naiad sang alone. Plip had never heard anything as beautiful as all those voices rising and falling together, singing the same words with the same heart.
“Nobody wants children who aren’t their own.”
“Nobody is a dangerous word. It tends to spread lies.”
“Masters take many forms, my little friend, but we are none of us as free as we would like to be.”
Overall, this was a beautiful book, from the setting to the characters to the relationships to the writing… Absolutely a 5-star read.
Rating: 5 stars
Similarity to Calligraphy Guild: 4.5 stars (for the setting, deep character conversations, strong friendships, multiple mentors, emphasis on the journey over the destination, music as a prominent feature, etc.)
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