#Marchofthesequels Review: Waxing Lyrical by Adam Jacob Burgess

Sequels are notoriously difficult for authors to sell. Even people who love book 1 often don’t go on to read the sequel. In March a group of us book bloggers have decided to read and review mainly sequels. Welcome to #marchofthesequels!

The second exciting, hilarious, excitingly-hilarious instalment in The Actum Tempus Saga.

All Sawwse wants is to find master lyricist Órga Dán, learn everything there is to know about lyrics and win Esh’areth’s premier talent competition. Instead, she finds herself face-to-face with terrifying sea monsters, lonely necromancers, war-forging Little Kings, and even a pernickety dragon…

Still, this is all par for the course when babysitting the most powerful wizard in the world.

Especially when she happens to be twelve years old.

Amazon | goodreads


My Review

I am reviewing this book for #marchofthesequels and also on behalf of Rosie Amber’s book review team: #RBRT. Thank you very much to Rosie and to the author for sending me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Firstly I should state that Waxing Lyrical is a sequel and having not read the first book in the series I was a little at a loss as to the background relationships among some of the characters. However, this did not hamper my enjoyment of this irreverent tale of a determined lute-playing gnome called Sawsse. Sassy Sawsse is set on becoming the best musician in the world by winning an esteemed competition. Her quest to find a lyrics teacher called Órga Dán to help her on her path forms the main drive for her story arc. Her lyrics really do leave something to be desired at the beginning of the story!! Sawsse is a member of a guild called Actum Tempus and some of her fellow guild members, shape-shifting Ruby and Rangrim the dwarf accompany her on her quest, which eventually takes them to Athrú, home to the Valley of the Roaming Winds. Two other guild members, Larn and Corinne, have been sent to Athrú to investigate a magical scroll which has turned all of its readers into babies.

Meanwhile also in Athrú, a twelve-year-old girl called Agnes has been chosen by ‘The Magic’ to be the latest member of ‘The Twelve’ a gathering of the twelve most powerful mages, and finds herself with uncontrollable magical powers and no one to advise her on how to use them. She is also suffering from disturbing night terrors. These story arcs converge and Sawsse is left looking after Agnes while trying to meet her own deadline with Órga Dán.

The scene-setting in this short novel is imaginative and leads to an easily visualized world populated by gnomes, dwarves, goblins, ogres, trolls, imps and many other fantastical races, including a living mountain called Greg, a waistcoat wearing stork and a bunch of necromancers:

“Thick snowflakes fell faintly there during winter, softly kissed the earth, and then remained untroubled for weeks. In other words, naff all ever happened on these serene lowlands. There wasn’t very much that could happen, because there wasn’t very much there. There were several farms, but the soil wasn’t rich enough to produce any decent crops, like cheesecorn, rhubarbham, and courgettes. Instead, the plains were blanketed with wildflowers like Silentus Witnessium, Broadus Churchus, and Morseus. Between the huge stretches of flowery fields ran long thin winding lanes. The road started in Pax, by the ruins of Zell, but when it reached the Tranquil Plains it split into myriad bridleways, pathways and laneways. It eventually did connect with the eastern side of Esh’areth, toward Dringle and the Bounce Lands, but it took a bum-achingly long time.”

Fans of British drama series will recognize the references in there and there were other similarly amusing references and puns peppered throughout the book. I particularly liked the name of Sawsse’s rival, the dwarf Vuvu Zela. There are also plenty of footnotes throughout the text which can break up the narrative but were more often hilarious. They are often snippets from the Gnomeopedia which is a little like the guide in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a manual for gnomes handily explaining everything and everywhere.

As well as puns and humorous references, the book relies on many tried and trusted fantasy tropes: found family; an unlikely hero; a quest – and the author uses them expertly to craft a highly enjoyable and at times laugh-out-loud adventure. There are plenty of unexpected twists along the way.

I would recommend this book for fans of Dungeons and Dragons style adventures and comedic fantasy – but I would recommend starting with book 1 in the Actum Tempus Saga: In The Grip Of Time in order to fully do it justice!


About the Author

Adam Jacob Burgess was born atop the misty peaks of Story Mountain, under the watchful eyes of the Gods of Tight Plotting. The Monks of Myth bathed him in the River of Magical Prose, imbuing his very being with clarity, precision and wit. When he was old enough, he drank from the Narrative Lifestream, which possessed his mind with a multiverse of sagas, legends and fantasies. Unfortunately, he has no talent. So, there’s no way for these stories to get out. He writes about gnomes instead.

Website | Twitter

2 thoughts on “#Marchofthesequels Review: Waxing Lyrical by Adam Jacob Burgess

  1. Pingback: March of the Sequels Hub | Sue's Musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s