In Julia Ember's dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.
Her voice was her prison…
Now it’s her weapon.
In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence has been forced to torture her country's disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen's bidding.
But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.
In this queer fantasy retelling of The Phantom of the Opera from Ember (the Seafarer Duology), Bordea comprises three classes: nobles; mages, who wield magic through song; and commoners. Eight years ago, Elene an ambitious corporeal mage, whose vocalizations affect living things and organic matter grew tired of second-class citizenship and slaughtered her way onto the throne. Now, as a continuing show of power, she summons the surviving nobility to annual Performings, where her principal a subordinate corporeal mage sings a torturous tune. When Remi de Bordealan, 16, attends the event in her ailing mother's stead, she is appalled to discover the queen's new chantrix is her childhood friend, orphan Cadence. Remi confronts Cadence, who insists that things would be worse for everyone if she refused Elene's orders. The further Elene pushes Cadence, however, the more persuasive Cadence finds Remi's argument for rebellion. Anguish and dread suffuse every page of this harrowing tale, which is told in alternating first-person narratives. An extended setup slows the start, and Ember rushes the conclusion, but the predominantly white cast feels fully fleshed out, and a romantic subplot exploring the girls' mutual attraction adds warmth and emotional complexity. Ages 14 up.