Blog Tour: Giveaway: ARC Review: The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

review         book

I'll Meet You Theretitle: The Architect of Song
author: A.G. Howard
rating: 4/5 (from hated to loved) or 8/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, or anything by Cat Winters.  People who have been hoping that New Adult would branch out and get some plots other than "bad boy at college."
TA lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

in depth

  • You may know A.G. Howard from her delightful Splintered series, a modern-day day-glo punk update on the traditional Alice story.  If you loved it, read this.  If you didn't love it, still read this.  The Architect of Song is at once a return of the vivid, atmospheric writing that always drew me in, and a testament to her skill and versatility as a storyteller.  I'm so honored to be part of this tour celebrating one of my favorite voices in young adult--and now new adult--fiction.  

  • Architect is a whole different beast.  Whereas Splintered is all gritty glitzy whimsy, Howard's newest story is all decaying lace and fragile gray beauty.  She takes up the mantle of Shelley and Bronte (Emily, the good one) and brings us a Victorian gothic romance that breathes with the same subdued darkness as its forebears, has the same gentility and mystery, but is accessible for a modern reader.  

  • I connected at once with Juliet.  She's a feisty, pushy, willful, clever girl disguised in meek clothing.  Deaf since a childhood accident (yes, people, we have a protag with a disability! Seriously, why don't we have more of that?), she has learned to read lips well enough to hide from most casual acquaintance, but fears the anticipated humiliations of making herself known to the world.  So she shuts herself away with her uncle and maid--and, until recently, her mother.  

  • The death of Juliet's mother shreds Juliet in two and galvanizes the reemergence of her spirit into the world.  Emboldened by grief, she finds herself at odds with the powerful Nicolas Thornton, who lusts after her family house.  Then there is the matter of the strange flower she stole from the cemetery, and the ghost that came with it.  What ensues is a dark, atmospheric mystery entangling the secrets of ghost and man, and perhaps a few of Juliet's own.  Despite a few dips in the middle, Howard's pacing is treacherous and tense and teasing.  She knows when to hint, when to lull, when to let slip a shocking piece of information.  

  • Mingled with the mystery is the romance that makes a gothic what it is.  As Juliet relearns what it means to be herself--a charming, clever, viciously witty girl--she also finds herself growing close to two lonely young men.  One is Hawk, the ghost, trapped always by her side.  He's cheeky and brash in a way that only a ghost can be allowed, a little frightening jealous but also selfless and sweet.  Then there's Thornton, at first an object of hatred, whose past is checkered by rumors of debauchery, temper, and dealings darker still.  Yet, through Juliet's reluctant alliance, she discovers a shy and selfless creature who seems at odds with his villainous portrait.  My own heart ached as her heart became split between the two of them.  The love triangle isn't irritating because it develops naturally and feasibly, but also because it's an impossible situation that fits the bill of a good Victorian tragedy.  Also they're both incredibly sexy, so can't really complain.  

  • Juliet's deafness is an interesting point throughout.  On one hand, I love that Howard's protagonist is disabled but not defined by her disability.  It's an important part of her, but it's one part.  On the other hand, so many contrivances exist to make her deafness almost moot at times (lip reading, being narrated to by her ghost) that it seems sometimes to be a challenge only as a plot convenience.  On the other other hand, I love that Juliet comes to own her deafness and to carve herself a place in the world that includes and embraces it.  

  • Between romance, mystery, and richly beautiful prose, Howard spins a tight web of secrets and deceptions that spool faster and faster to a surprising conclusion.  Thrown into the mix are Romany lore, Victorian classism and sexism, starcrossed love, spiritualism, and the power of family to break and bind.  Howard's is a world sweeping in its scope that draws you in to the drama of its characters and leaves you quite breathless.  My heartstrings were thoroughly shredded by the last page--and yet, I ache for more.  

in a sentence

The Architect of Song is a sweeping story of love and loss, mystery and tragedy, a darkly glittering gem richly written and peopled by truly unforgettable souls.  


will i read this author again?  Yes yes yes yes yes 
will i continue the series?  Yep, although I'm kind of sad it'll be a different set in the generation.  I'll miss Juliet and Hawk and Thornton!  

Note: I received this copy in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

about the author 

A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads

enter to win loads of cool prizes!  

catch more stops on the architect of song tour! 

Week One:
7/25/2016- Dark Faerie TalesGuest Post-Hybrid Author
7/25/2016- a GREAT readReview

7/26/2016- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
7/26/2016- BookfeverReview

7/27/2016- FiktshunCharacter Interview

7/28/2016- The Reading CaféReview
7/28/2016- Adventures of a Book JunkieReview

7/29/2016- Please Feed the bookwormReview
7/29/2016- 21st Century Once Upon A TimesReview

Week Two:
8/1/2016- Once Upon a Twilight - Exclusive Excerpt
8/1/2016- Ramblings of a DaydreamerReview

8/2/2016My Friends Are FictionGuest Post- Fashion
8/2/2016Sarcasm & LemonsReview

8/3/2016BookHounds YAReview

8/4/2016BookiemojiExclusive Excerpt
8/4/2016Owl Always Be ReadingReview

8/5/2016Mundie MomsReview
8/5/2016Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post- Playlist
8/5/2016The Cover ContessaReview


  1. The architect of song sounds great ♡ I would love to read this book. Thank you

  2. Your reviews sound so pretty. I hadn't realized until this tour that Howard had a new book coming - looks like I have something to add to my TBR!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. Oh wow I didn't really know what this was about until now, but I have to say I am intrigued. It reminds me of The Mediator series by Meg Cabot, which features a ghost that only the protag can talk to. Also I love how there is a disability featured here!

    I actually might consider pre-ordering this. Or getting it from the library maybe. Thanks for the review CJ!