The Choir Boats: Longing for Yount, Volume 1

ISBN: 9780980941074
eISBN: 9781926851761

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London, 1812 | Yount, Year of the Owl

What would you give to make good on the sins of your past? For merchant Barnabas McDoon, the answer is: everything.

When emissaries from a world called Yount offer Barnabas a chance to redeem himself, he accepts their price—to voyage to Yount with the key that only he can use to unlock the door to their prison. But bleak forces seek to stop him: Yount's jailer, a once-human wizard who craves his own salvation, kidnaps Barnabas's nephew. A fallen angel—a monstrous owl with eyes of fire—will unleash Hell if Yount is freed. And, meanwhile, Barnabas's niece, Sally, and a mysterious pauper named Maggie seek with dream-songs to wake the sleeping goddess who may be the only hope for Yount and Earth alike.

Reviews of The Choir Boats: Longing for Yount, Volume 1:

Threaded throughout the tale are extensive literary and historical references, music, myth and folklore, mathematical theories and comparative religion.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.
The tale is an instant classic of fantasy . . .
“. . . the inventiveness and sense of wonder coupled with the writing style make [The Choir Boats] . . .
[A]n auspicious debut . . . a muscular, Napoleonic-era fantasy that, like Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials series, will appeal to both adult and young adult readers. There's a Dickensian vibrancy . . . to Rabuzzi's book; it's filled with outsized characters, colorful slang, outrageous coincidences, buried secrets, stunning revelations, and star-crossed lovers.
Realms of Fantasy
In The Choir Boats, the first novel in a new fantasy trilogy by folklorist David 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.
—Steven W. Beattie, Quill & Quire
Both the voyage and the arrival are adventurous, filled with perils and continuing uncertainly about just who or what might be Evil in a deliciously convoluted tale . . . a strong opening to what could be a remarkable project.
—Faren Miller, Locus
[A] fun fantasy that blends many elements into a read that is endlessly entertaining.
[Rabuzzi exercises] an exuberance, an ebullience, a delight in language.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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
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.
[P]romises to be the start of a vibrant fantasy series.
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.
[A] tale, a yarn, an event of storytelling rather than a straight adventure or fantasy, its pace and characters are those of the best fireside story tellers rather than of a modern fantasy.
—Hagelrat, UN:BOUND

Other Reviews

goodreads 3.79/5 stars more...

Author Info

Daniel A. Rabuzzi studied folklore and mythology in college and graduate school, and keeps one foot firmly in the Other Realm. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Sybil’s Garage, Shimmer, ChiZine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Abyss & Apex, Goblin Fruit, Mannequin Envy and Scheherezade’s Bequest. The Choir Boats, the first volume of his Longing for Yount series, was published through ChiZine Publications in 2009, followed by the second volume, The Indigo Pheasant, in 2012.

He has also had twenty scholarly and professional articles published on subjects ranging from fairytale to finance. A former banker, Daniel earned his doctorate in 18th-century history, with a focus on issues of family, gender and commerce in northern Europe. He is now an executive at a global non-profit organization that provides educational materials to children from under-resourced and traditionally marginalized communities. Daniel lives in New York City with his wife and soul-mate, the artist Deborah A. Mills, along with the requisite two cats.