Review: Song of Vines (Singer Tales)

Song of Vines is the thrilling finale of the Singer Tales series by Deborah Grace White. With an inspired gender-bent retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk," a star-crossed romance, magical mishaps, and a big reunion of familiar faces, this book hits all the right notes to bring the series to an exciting crescendo. I enjoyed this book a lot more than its prequel, Song of Trails, which felt off compared to the other Singer Tales stories. The heroine in this book is particularly relatable to Millenials as a curious and hopeful young lady who has fallen on hard times financially. Song of Vines manages to bring together the events that took place in all the other books and wraps up the intricate world of elves, giants, and song magic that has been expertly woven into the DNA of the Singer Tales.

Jacinta has fallen on hard times after her parents lost their esteemed jobs at the castle before her father's passing. Gone are the carefree days of her childhood when she would play games with Prince Matthias and Princess Mariella at their summer estate. Now, it's a struggle just to ensure that she and her mother have enough food to survive each day. Things get so desperate that she is forced to go to the market and sell their prized cow where she unwittingly makes a deal with an elf for some beans that are allegedly magical. Thinking she was conned, Jacinta returns home in defeat to find that the beans actually did possess magic and open a secret passage into Kjemper, the fearsome kingdom of the giants. After following the beanstalk's path, she is given a message from a rebellious giant to take back to her king. When she does so, she is reunited with Prince Matthias and must face the obstacles that stood in the way of their relationship over the years.

One might think that after reading so many fairy tale romances, they would lose some of their appeal but I loved the love story in this book. It reminded me of Andrew Lloyd Webber's underrated "Cinderella" musical in which she and the prince were childhood friends who grew apart over the years due to their drastic differences in status. The prince's parents in this book are horrid, doing everything in their power to keep the two star-crossed lovers apart and constantly plunging Jacinta into danger, which she repeatedly faces head-on out of loyalty to her kingdom. Fortunately, Matthias's headstrong sister, Mariella, goes out of her way to prove to Jacinta that their parents' prejudice does not apply to them and to make her feel as welcome as possible in the castle in the hopes that Jacinta and Matthias can rekindle their old flame. Mariella is a wonderful friend and a bright light throughout the dangers and uncertainties of Jacinta's circumstances.

This book does an excellent job of tying together all the elements of "Jack and the Beanstalk" while also bringing the events of the other books in the Singer Tales to a satisfying conclusion. Although some of the whimsy of the fairy tale is lost when the beanstalk grows in a northward path instead of extending up into the clouds, it is made up for through the clever use of an invisible tunnel that only Jacinta has access to. The kingdom of the giants, which was introduced in Song of Winds, is described in great detail, emphasizing the brutish nature of the mythical race and how different their culture is from the elves and humans who reside in this world. Valwynn, the elf who trades Jacinta's cow for magic beans, is an excellent source of comic relief, always showing up at unexpected times and offering some of the most amusing quips in the book.

Song of Vines is a triumphant finale to the Singer Tales, masterfully weaving together the threads of previous books and fairy tale inspirations. Deborah Grace White's clever retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" shines with a star-crossed romance, magical mayhem, and a grand reunion of beloved characters. With its expertly crafted worldbuilding, heartwarming relationships, and thrilling adventures, this book is a must-read for fans of the series and fairy tale retellings alike. The satisfying conclusion to the Singer Tales series will leave readers with a sense of wonder and a reminder that even in the darkest times, love, loyalty, and friendship can conquer all.


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