By David W. Landrum
Published by Dreaming Big Publications
Reviewed by Ally Barber
ABOUT THE BOOK
Nelleke Reitsma is one of the world's top lutenists and guitar players. She is very good because she has had 350 years to practice. Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute records her life, beginning with her entrance into the world of the undying through friendship with Izaak, a mysterious young man who only comes out at night; and, eventually, her crossing over into that world. Leaving her native Netherlands for England, she finds herself embroiled in a fight to save the vampire community of London from destruction. She encounters Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, and, using her connections to government and the theater, uncovers the last followers of an ancient religion that possesses power capable of destroying Nelleke and the coven of vampires to which she belongs. It is up to her to stop them. A fascinating and compelling piece of paranormal fiction, it abounds in danger, romance, horror, love, and beauty.
Genre: Supernatural/Historical Fiction
4 out of 5 stars
After having been saved from certain death by a mysterious man, Nelleke finds herself suddenly thrust into a strange new supernatural world that she had not been privy to previously. Forced to flee her Dutch homeland in order to be with her baby daughter, Nelleke embarks on a new part of her life that changes her very nature completely.
Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute is a very entertaining and enjoyable read. The plot is very unique from other contemporary vampire novels and focuses on the politics of vampire covens as well as the relationship between human and vampire bodies of government. As the book takes place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Sinfonia is also a work of historical fiction, which is a wonderful layer to the plot as real historical figures appear and it provides realism and legitimacy. Nelleke is a wonderful protagonist. She is clever, independent, and bold, secure in her status as a vampire and a woman. Her life is not dictated by the actions and emotions of some hot vampire guy, which is pleasing to see in a vampire novel. The world of the novel is fascinating and captivating, encouraging the reader’s eagerness for the next installment.
My only real issue with Sinfonia is the questionable use of Nelleke’s rape. Other than being a source of shame from the perspective of her parents for the first pages and causing the birth of her daughter, Nelleke’s violent sexual abuse at the hands of several men does not seem to have any psychological or emotional effect on the protagonist, which I think is very unrealistic. Such a traumatic experience is sure to have some lasting effect on her, but the reader simply does not see any. It honestly feels as though the rape occurs simply for her to be saved by Izaak and therefore introduced to the world of vampires, which is quite problematic.
Overall, Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute is a delightful addition to the plethora of vampire-themed novels. Nelleke is a incredible protagonist whose tenacity, ingenuity, and independence is sure to appeal to anyone. The plot of the novel is both exciting and very original, keeping captivated and eager for the next installment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David W. Landrum lives and writes in West Michigan. His fiction, poetry, and scholarships have appeared in journals and magazines around the world. Landrum has published over 150 short stories in such journals as The Horror Zine, 34th Parallel, Black Denim Review, Silver Pen, Erotique, Non-Binary Review, Night to Dawn, The Lorelei Signal and in many others. His novellas—The Gallery, Strange Brew, ShadowCity, The Last Minstrel, Le Café de la Mort, Mother Hulda, The Prophetess, and The Sorceress of Time, along with his full-length fantasy novel, The Sorceress of the Northern Seas, are available through Amazon. He has also published a great deal of poetry and many academic studies.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.