Reviewed by London Koffler
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.
My Review: 4/5
I have grown tired of popular vampire novels and their clichés. I feel like I’m reading the same story over and over. However, in this new take on a vampire story, Landrum crosses fantasy with history. He takes the time to explain his vampires’ “rules,” some of which differ from the traditional, and he carefully weaves his tale with famous people and events in history. He explores the relationships among vampires as well as between vampires and humans. While the vampire craze of the past decade or so often focused on vampire love stories, Sinfonia finds more substantial plot points to focus on. I found it refreshing that Nelleke is so influenced and motivated by her daughter, rather than by a man. Nelleke herself is the strong female protagonist I often found missing from popular vampire novels. Despite her abuse early in the story, she overcomes and becomes a strong, independent woman and an increasingly influential vampire as she climbs the ranks of the vampire community.
While I know this is a novella, sometimes the plot moves too quickly, and events that deserve some more time are rushed or glossed over. In addition, I felt there is more telling instead of showing in some of the storytelling. I would have preferred to use my imagination to picture his world and characters. Also, because the story is set throughout history, I would expect dialogue to demonstrate that. However, sometimes the language used is either obviously modern or forcibly antiquated. Despite this, I found Sinfonia to be a fresh, unique vampire story, and I look forward to reading new additions to the series.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.
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.