Yesterday I finished a book I knew I wanted to read the first time I saw the cover, Alyson Grauer's On the Isle of Sound and Wonder. You've heard the old adage that you can't judge a book by its cover. Well, in this instance, I can say with confidence that if you love this cover, you'll love this book.
I know I did.
On the Isle of Sound and Wonder is a steampunked version of Shakespeare's The Tempest. I should say that I've never read The Tempest, nor have I seen it on stage so my perspective of the story might be different had I done so. However, I look at my lack of familiarity with the original as a plus because I read Aly's tale without unprejudiced by the Bard's account. Everything was completely new to me.
The story begins with a birth, a death and a banishment. Next we're flying in an ship, a ship that can sail in the clouds and on the waves. Disaster happens and the ship falls from the sky. The survivors find themselves on a strange island with monsters, magic and mystery. Also on the isle are five inhabitants, an exiled prince, his daughter, a monster, a fairy and a large cat.
The story is fresh, imaginative and full of wonder. We are transported to a world full of characters with whom we can relate and empathize. This is Alyson's debut novel, something that continued to surprise me as her whimsical command of the language shines through in each page, in each storyline.
Yes, there are steampunk elements in On the Isle of Sound and Wonder, but they don't overwhelm. They act as garnish for a rich story of deception, lost love, romantic possibilities and dark magic. If you know The Tempest you'll most like have a different opinion of this version. I know I enjoyed it immensely. If you like steampunk, if you like Shakespeare and if you like the cover, you'll love this book too.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23389467-on-the-isle-of-sound-and-wonder?ac=1