Schaffer endears the reader to his underdog protagonist by delving into Cameron’s character and dramatically stacking the deck against him. However, Schaffer hinders engagement by merely summarizing what is at the heart of Gods of Sound: the music. Guitar performances and competitions dominate the story, but instead of bringing the music to life with vivid descriptions, he states the songs on the setlists and moves on (“ with lightning fast fingers he played the beginning of an intricate classical song for Spanish guitar, gracefully slipping into the last two minutes of the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California,’ then into part of the heavier ‘Black Dog’ by Led Zeppelin.”) Consequently, readers are thrust out of the story, forced to look up the songs if they want to understand the scene better. Without capturing the power of the music, Gods of Sound falls shy of being the exhilarating, rock opera-esque adventure its audience might crave.
Still, Schaffer delivers a fantasy-fulfilling adventure that succeeds in the promise of most young adult novels: It immerses its readers in an entertaining world while mirroring their own coming-of-age journeys. Guitar lovers will appreciate the rise of a young and talented rock star, and YA fans will enjoy this hero who persists against every obstacle to find his real family.
Takeaway: Guitar lovers will enjoy this high stakes coming-of-age story that pairs the supernatural with the power of rock.
Great for fans of: Robin Benway’s Audrey Wait!, Sarah Nicole Smetana’s The Midnights.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A