Songlines (The Sentinels of Eden Book 1)by Carolyn Denman
Published on August 19, 2016
Format: eBook Source: Library
'We belong to the Earth, Lainie-Bug. We were sent here in human form for a reason. If you don’t know what to do, then just be human.'
Right. Like that was ever a simple thing to do.
In the heart of the Wimmera region of Victoria, an ancient gateway to Eden is kept hidden and safe by a creature so powerful that even the moon would obey her commands – at least it would if she had any idea that she wasn’t just a normal girl about to finish high school.
When a mining company begins exploratory sampling near Lainie’s sheep farm, a family secret is revealed that makes her regret not having learnt more about her Indigenous heritage.
What she’s told by their farmhand, Harry – an Aboriginal elder – can’t possibly be true, but then the most irritating guy in class, Bane, begins to act even more insanely toward her than ever, until she can no longer deny that something very unusual is going on.
When Harry doesn’t return from his quest to seek help to protect the area from the miners, Lainie sets out to discover the truth of her heritage, and of the secret she’s been born to protect.
I like this book in the beginning but the more I got into it the more I realized that it was a bit of a mess. It is trying to be a mash up of Biblical and Aboriginal mythology with a hint of a faerie-esque story but it doesn’t work seamlessly.
The premise is that the Garden of Eden was moved out of the Middle East to rural Australia. Obviously. It is invisible now and is guarded by Cherubim who have assumed human form. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, no one tells the next generation of Cherubim growing up anything about this until it is an emergency.
It starts out good with the main character suddenly having visions of things that are happening around her farm. That was interesting. I liked her relationship with her best friend Noah. True opposite-sex platonic friendships are rare in YA. I liked the idea that they don’t know what their powers because they only develop when they have to use them.
But then it starts to add in too much. There are destined mates and teenage angst and shady lawyers. Throw in too much secrecy about family and everyone is confused. Mothers are missing and bodies start piling up. There are even dead dogs, which I do not approve of at all. I especially don’t like the fact that no one seems to know what happens to their dogs. I thought that was going to turn into a plot point but no. Their dogs just run off after a few years and the humans don’t think too much about it.
I thought Lainie was a fun character. She wants to get out of her rural hometown. Then she suddenly finds out that she physically can’t leave. She’s stuck with a destiny that she never imagined. She’s trying to cope the best she can but isn’t doing well at all.
As if stories from the Bible weren’t enough, now he had to put up with my sci-fi jargon as well. Personally I felt less disturbed by the idea of a bigger-on-the-inside-other-dimension than I did with a Bible story coming to life. What did that say about me, exactly?
There are several sequels. Looking at the synopsis they don’t appear to be chronological or a continuation of the same story. A few seem to go back in time to investigate other Cherubim when they were teenagers. I’m glad I read it for the Australian-based story and the inventive idea but I don’t think I’ll pick up any more in this series.