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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Review: Song of the Slums

You've heard of the Roaring Twenties and the Swinging Sixties, but what about the Rockin’ Forties? The 1840s that is. In Richard Harland’s novel Song of the Slums, Victorian England is introduced to, and shaken by, the world of rock 'n' roll.

Meet Astor Vance. Astor is seventeen and her step-father has just arranged her marriage to the handsome, but mysterious and aloof Lorrain Swale. Or has he? The reality of her situation strikes when, to her horror, Astor finds herself confronted by new responsibilities in the form of three rude and unruly children.

The world is changing dramatically, and so is Astor’s life. She is determined to cope, finding refuge in her music, but what Astor really needs is someone who can help her make sense of what's going on.

Enter Verrol. He's worldly and has attitude, and opens Astor's eyes to a world she has been mostly protected from. And Astor is sure there's something he's hiding.

Forced to seek shelter with the street gangs of Brummingham's Slumtown, Astor and Verrol are caught up in the rise from obscurity of the Rowdies, the next big thing on the local music scene.

Prepare yourself for a city shrouded in the smog and liquid sludge of industry, steam-powered airships, and political machinations. This is an action-packed story full of surprises, which explores big questions about courage, integrity, compromise, loyalty, love, ambition and knowing what you want.

Steampunk with style. Song of the Slums is a great introduction to the genre for anyone who is yet to try it, and for those looking for a story with rhythm and heart.

Title: Song of the Slums
Author: Richard Harland
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781743310052
For ages: 12 - 16
Type: Young Adult Fiction

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