ARC Review: The Songbird’s Refrain


When a mysterious show arrives in town, seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Brighton is both intrigued and unsettled. But none of the acts capture her attention quite like the blue-eyed woman. Locked in a birdcage and covered in feathers, the anguish in her voice sounds just a little too real to be an act—because it isn’t. The show’s owner, a sadistic witch known only as the Mistress, is holding her captive.

And she’s chosen Elizabeth as her next victim.

After watching the blue-eyed woman die, Elizabeth is placed under the same curse. She clings to what little hope she can find in the words of a fortune teller and in her own strange dreams. The more she learns, the more she suspects that the Mistress isn’t as invulnerable as she appears. But time is against her, and every feather that sprouts brings her closer to meeting the blue-eyed woman’s fate. Can Elizabeth unlock the secret to flying free, or will the Mistress’s curse kill her and cage its next victim?


The Songbird’s Refrain

Jillian Maria

Published: 3rd September 2019
Rep: lesbian mc, bi li

5 Reasons to Read this Book

ARC kindly provided by Jillian Maria

One. The main character calls herself a lesbian! This seems like a fairly innocuous thing, sure, but given the number of times we’ve read books where the mc does not call herself a lesbian but prefers to use something else (which, obviously, is no bad thing in itself, but what does that then start to say about the word lesbian?).

Two. Kind of linked to that, Elizabeth being a lesbian isn’t this big thing in the narrative. Like you know when you can tell a book’s like oooh this mc isn’t straight, well here, it just is. It’s more like oh she likes girls and move on. It’s understated in exactly the right way.

Three. If you’re looking for a sort of creepy fantasy, then you will enjoy this book. It has sort of Stardust vibes, at times. You know how the main character’s mother is captured by an evil witch? Well yeah.

Four. It centres on a sibling relationship! And a wholly angst-filled one at that. Because sibling angst can just give you that particular shot of angst that no other type can, let’s be real.

Five. The magic system is really interesting and based around names, and the power that names have.

2 Replies to “ARC Review: The Songbird’s Refrain”

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