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Reviews: What's Being Said About The Choir Boats

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Reviews - What's Being Said About
The Longing for Yount Fantasy Series
Locus Magazine's "New & Notable Books" List

Cybils 2012 nominee for Fantasy/Science Fiction award

A "Best of 2012" pick at Sleeping Hedgehog

January Magazine's Best Books of 2009 List

Liviu's Top Ten in 2009 Remarkable Small Press Reads
(Fantasy Book Critic)

A 2009 Top Pick by Faren Miller
(Locus Magazine)
"The Indigo Pheasant is Dickens by way of C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen, set in a London where literature, history, science, and magic are all real.  The world is fascinating, the language is stunning, and the plot is beautifully maze-like, but it's the diverse and skillfully drawn cast of characters that really make it come alive.  I liked it even better than The Choir Boats, and that's saying something."

– Delia Sherman, September 2012

"Two young women, both brilliant mathematicians in 1817 London, must decide whether to team up to battle the fallen angel that holds the lost land of Yount in this young-adult fantasy alternate-history novel, sequel to the critically praised The Choir Boats."

Locus Magazine, New & Notable Books, November 2012

"In newer books, I offer Daniel A. Rabuzzi’s The Indigo Pheasant: Longing for Yount Volume 2, with a beautiful cover piece and intriguing interior illustrations by Deborah Mills.  A history that wasn’t but might’ve been, brimming with mathematics and music, secrets and slavery, angels and engines, this was a dense, dark read, full of unexpected bright spots and with a tendency toward beautiful turns of phrase.

– Camille Alexa, Sleeping Hedgehog, February 2013

"An ambitious chimera of a tale.  Rabuzzi instills his prose with considerable wit, humor and a joyous use of language, his love of literature and history filling every page."

– A Crow's Caw, October 2012

"In my opinion, The Choir Boats is the most underrated young adult title of 2009, although it’s by no means limited to young readers. It’s a gorgeous and light-hearted story, chock-full of clever words, characters, surprises, and one truly spectacular twist at the end. If you’re seeking an engrossing and entirely unique world to sweep you off your feet, look no further. "

The Ranting Dragon,  May 2012

"The Indigo Pheasant was a checklist of things I appreciate in my fiction:

1.  Strong and interesting protagonists, for whom I can care...

2. Interesting world building (aided, in the case of this book, by the inclusion of miscellaneous side matter, like newspaper clippings and letters)...

3. Authorial tricksy-ness.  The cards are not laid out on the table all at once."

Charlotte's Library, October 2012

"(There is) an exuberance, an ebullience, a delight in irrepressible intertextuality...(The Choir Boats) makes enormous use of mythology, drawing together symbols and ideas from African as well as European myths, and blending them with the history and literature...I look forward to the next volume of this work."

–Sue Bridgwater, The Mythopoeic Society

". . .  a deliciously convoluted tale. . . .The Choir Boats is a strong opening to what could be a remarkable project. Since it came from a small press without a great deal of fanfare, I particularly urge you to check it out."

--Faren Miller, Locus Magazine, January 2010 issue

"It’s clear that Rabuzzi had an immense amount of fun writing the book, and I think most readers who enjoy a fantastical and playful yarn will have as much fun reading it. It’s a story that can be read aloud or to oneself, breezed through quickly or slowly savored a chapter a night. The novel will appeal to both young and older readers."

– Katherine Petersen, The Specusphere

"(A)n auspicious debut . . . a muscular, Napoleonic-era fantasy that, like Philip Pullman's Dark Materials series, will appeal to both adult and young adult readers. There's a Dickensian Rabuzzi's book; it's filled with outsized characters, colorful slang, outrageous coincidences, buried secrets, stunning revelations, and star-crossed lovers."

– Paul Witcover, Realms of Fantasy Magazine, February 2010 issue

". . .  The Choir Boats is great fun: Rabuzzi’s characters are original and as the book leaves London behind the reader is off into a fresh and lively new world."

--Gavin Grant, Publisher of Small Beer Press
  Not a Journal

"(A) fantastic and deeply entertaining debut novel . . . Part steampunk adventure, part classic fantasy, The Choir Boats might be earmarked for young adults, but anyone to whom this sounds like a rich ride will be surprised and delighted."

– Lincoln Cho, January Magazine
  Best Books of 2009: Children's Books

"With full flanks ahead, The Choir Boats charts a magical course of verve and wit through a richly detailed nineteenth-century world, spinning off little arabesques of wonderment with every turn of the page."

Matt Kressel, Senses Five Press

"The Choir Boats mixes all the best elements of folklore, Georgian romance, and fantasy to produce an eloquently crafted tale . . . The tale is a significant contribution to the field of fantasy . . . The Choir Boats is Gulliver's Travels crossed with The Golden Compass and a dollop of Pride and Prejudice. Rabuzzi has a true sense of wonder . . . I cannot praise Daniel Rabuzzi or The Choir Boats enough. This story is unique (and) an instant classic of fantasy, and perhaps even the co-progenitor (with Novik, Clarke, and a few others) of a new subgenre in speculative fiction."

– John Ottinger, Grasping for the Wind

"I love the rich, evocative language used to tell this story. The descriptions are poetic, painting vivid images both of Victorian London as well as the mysterious lands beyond the horizon . . . I adored the characters, who are complex and fascinating, as well as the way in which so much about them is revealed through skillful use of dialogue. The story abounds with strong female characters in particular."

Books & Other Thoughts

"There wasn't a moment of boredom while reading this book. With characters so precisely developed, especially the female ones, I did not once scan a paragraph or skip a page (which I admit I do sometimes), for I might miss a pistol duel, a bloody trail of footprints or a strange new species . . . (T)his book is the highest on my list of must reads this year and most definitely a story that future generations will be captivated by."

The Novel Blog

"(A) fun fantasy that blends many elements into a read that is endlessly entertaining."

Midwest Book Review

"(P)romises to be the start of a vibrant fantasy series...This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy alternate history or stories where characters are transported to another world. People who enjoy old British writers like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens will be amused by the brief references to the characters in their novels living in the world of The Choir Boats."

– K. A. Severson,

"In The Choir Boats, the first novel in a new fantasy trilogy by folklorist Daniel A. Rabuzzi, young readers get a crash course in that rich global tradition, along with a seminar's worth of material on world religion and mythology . . . The Choir Boats is a fine opening volume of a seagoing saga that measures up to its multiple reference points."

– James Grainger, Quill & Quire

"The Choir Boats, the first book of the "Longing for Yount" series, attracted my attention by its synopsis and the excerpt on the author's site. (O)nce I got into the novel and immersed myself in its wonderful atmosphere and its usage of charming archaic language and obscure or made up words that fit perfectly, I could not put it down until I finished it."

– Liviu Suciu, Fantasy Book Critic

"Rabuzzi is a terrific writer but a storyteller first. You can feel his sense of wonder and deep involvement in his world of Yount from the very beginning . . .

Rabuzzi weaves an original cast of character effortlessly and creates a world all his own reachable by only some. Luckily we are to be included in the party."

Stiletto Storytime

"In many ways this is a gentle read, perfect for curling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and allowing yourself to be drawn away. If you do you will be rewarded with a journey to victorian London and the stranger climes of Yount, as well as the spaces in between.

...I should stress as well that this is a tale, a yarn, an event of storytelling rather than a straight adventure or fantasy, it's pace and characters are those of the best fireside story tellers rather than of a modern fantasy. ... There is no question I will have to find out what happens next..."

– Hagelrat, UN:BOUND

"Threaded throughout the tale are extensive literary and historical references, music, myth and folklore, mathematical theories and comparative religion. There are strong and commendable themes of feminism, anti-racism and anti-slavery and obvious feline appreciation. When combined with colourful locations in Britain, India, South Africa, America, the South Seas and Yount itself, they make for a very rich brocade indeed, well suited to the brightly-coloured waistcoats sported throughout by one of our merchant heroes."

– J.S. Watts, Neon Magazine
               DANIEL A. RABUZZI
                     author of
                      The Choir Boats & The Indigo Pheasant