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Music Shall Untune the Sky (Book 1)

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In 1866, the three protagonists set off from Prague on the train the Elizabeth to retrieve Professor Xiau Kang's wife in Singapore. Along the way, Celwyn's magic becomes the central focus. Everything is based upon the question, "what if?" The trip is fraught with unexplained occurrences, murders, magic, and more adventure. Along the way, the author Jules Verne crashes his h In 1866, the three protagonists set off from Prague on the train the Elizabeth to retrieve Professor Xiau Kang's wife in Singapore. Along the way, Celwyn's magic becomes the central focus. Everything is based upon the question, "what if?" The trip is fraught with unexplained occurrences, murders, magic, and more adventure. Along the way, the author Jules Verne crashes his hot air balloon next to their train in order to join their entourage. Once they arrive in Singapore they are attacked, and eventually end up on the Nautilus with Captain Nemo. It seems that Professor Kang, automat and book lover, is also one of the few experts in the world on the basics of building a flying machine, something very much desired by Nemo. Months later, after their return to Prague, Celwyn is wounded again and dies just Kang rendezvous with the Nautilus and Captain Nemo.


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In 1866, the three protagonists set off from Prague on the train the Elizabeth to retrieve Professor Xiau Kang's wife in Singapore. Along the way, Celwyn's magic becomes the central focus. Everything is based upon the question, "what if?" The trip is fraught with unexplained occurrences, murders, magic, and more adventure. Along the way, the author Jules Verne crashes his h In 1866, the three protagonists set off from Prague on the train the Elizabeth to retrieve Professor Xiau Kang's wife in Singapore. Along the way, Celwyn's magic becomes the central focus. Everything is based upon the question, "what if?" The trip is fraught with unexplained occurrences, murders, magic, and more adventure. Along the way, the author Jules Verne crashes his hot air balloon next to their train in order to join their entourage. Once they arrive in Singapore they are attacked, and eventually end up on the Nautilus with Captain Nemo. It seems that Professor Kang, automat and book lover, is also one of the few experts in the world on the basics of building a flying machine, something very much desired by Nemo. Months later, after their return to Prague, Celwyn is wounded again and dies just Kang rendezvous with the Nautilus and Captain Nemo.

39 review for Music Shall Untune the Sky (Book 1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gina R Mitchell

    Music Shall Untune the Sky is book 1 in the Celwyn series. The prequel is The Violins Played Before Junstan. While it isn’t necessary to read the prequel first, I believe it will be of benefit. Book 1 picks up in Prague with the protagonists heading to Singapore by train. The adventures are many along the way with Jules Verne crashing his balloon and joining the journey. They even meet up with Captain Nemo later in the tale. The story is full of vampires, witches, magic, Autobots, and so much mor Music Shall Untune the Sky is book 1 in the Celwyn series. The prequel is The Violins Played Before Junstan. While it isn’t necessary to read the prequel first, I believe it will be of benefit. Book 1 picks up in Prague with the protagonists heading to Singapore by train. The adventures are many along the way with Jules Verne crashing his balloon and joining the journey. They even meet up with Captain Nemo later in the tale. The story is full of vampires, witches, magic, Autobots, and so much more. The humor surprised me, as the dialogue had me chuckling many times. The pace is lively and keeps the reader entertained and turning the pages until the end. The settings are richly described. At times, the book played like a movie in my mind. I most identified with Bartholomew as I am a worrier too, but every character plays their role quite well. The book is a fantastic mash-up of genres that works very well to entertain the reader. Fans of fantasy, history, paranormal, and action will love this tale. I am a little surprised that the book blurb rather gives away the cliffhanger. Now, if you plan to read the next book, this isn’t a problem. But it is unusual.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Grant

    Lou Kemp blends classic sci fi literature and magic perfectly in the exciting steampunk fantasy epic Music Shall Untune the Sky! The year is 1865 and three friends begin crossing the land in their magical train when a hot air balloon crashes next to them ferrying a mysterious addition to their team. I loved Kemp’s mixture of historical figures and literary stand outs like Captain Nemo into this partially real, partially magical world! This adventure felt very unique and fun, packed with lovable Lou Kemp blends classic sci fi literature and magic perfectly in the exciting steampunk fantasy epic Music Shall Untune the Sky! The year is 1865 and three friends begin crossing the land in their magical train when a hot air balloon crashes next to them ferrying a mysterious addition to their team. I loved Kemp’s mixture of historical figures and literary stand outs like Captain Nemo into this partially real, partially magical world! This adventure felt very unique and fun, packed with lovable characters and a slew of interesting locations. If a mash up of steampunk and classical literature intrigues you, definitely turn your gears toward Music Shall Untune the Sky!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Piro

    Author wants review private.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vic Cavalli

    If you enjoy fantasy, magic, witches, and vampires locomoting through a vividly evoked nineteenth-century European (and beyond) setting, you will probably enjoy Lou Kemp’s Music Shall Untune the Sky: “ . . . the publisher of the Česká Novina, reports last night was a grand display of magic. Of vampires, of music, and drama. On top of the Opera House dome, they found burned skeletons in an odd-looking iron net. Vampires” (32). Kemp describes her characters well (often with a touch of humor) and t If you enjoy fantasy, magic, witches, and vampires locomoting through a vividly evoked nineteenth-century European (and beyond) setting, you will probably enjoy Lou Kemp’s Music Shall Untune the Sky: “ . . . the publisher of the Česká Novina, reports last night was a grand display of magic. Of vampires, of music, and drama. On top of the Opera House dome, they found burned skeletons in an odd-looking iron net. Vampires” (32). Kemp describes her characters well (often with a touch of humor) and they come to life through well-paced dialogue. Here are a few examples: “Like a wayward caterpillar, a thin mustache decorated his upper lip. The magician controlled the urge to make that impression more real” (42). “With enough white whiskers for a walrus, and rosy cheeked and round-bellied as Saint Nick, the man looked the part as he pulled levers, and called over his shoulder for more coal” (50). “A very sleepy, and annoyed, witch answered the door. She stood as tall as she was round. From under a fringe of black hair, she squinted at them like they might be selling bibles” (302). Kemp’s use of setting is also effective, and in my opinion the main strength of her novel. Here are some excellent examples: “The lightning blossomed upward unfolding like an enormous rose as it spread across the sky” (10). “They could clearly read “Elizabeth” in beautiful gold script on the nose of the locomotive. Steam from the engine filled the parlor and the floor vibrated” (20). “The Hotel Marlboro’s dining room displayed the conservative, old Continental atmosphere of white tablecloths, solemn waiters, graceful draperies and well-polished silver. In an alcove near the entrance, an elegant woman played a viola, and the music floated above the whispers and murmurs of the diners. Across the room, a table of expensively dressed women huddled amid whispers and the occasional furtive look over the fox furs on their shoulders” (30). “The view out the Elizabeth’s windows brightened as the clouds dispersed, and the sun shone over mile after mile of apple orchards. Like the scene had been staged just for them, a long straight stretch of tracks opened up before the Elizabeth. In the distance, slivers of the Dřevnice River could be seen before the foothills of the Tatra Mountains” (53). “The train’s engines had just begun to rumble, and dawn pinked the edges of the sky. The Elizabeth appeared to be parked next to a lake. Across its glassy surface, a wispy layer of fog hovered . . .” (60). “While they talked, fields of flowers covered the landscape for as far as the eye could see, and in the distance a sliver of a sapphire blue lake glimmered” (65). “The low foothills before Chernivtsi appeared dry, and ripe for a grass fire” (88). “As Verne reached for his book Celwyn waved a hand, and a heavy blinding snow fell on the barren landscape outside. Celwyn began to play the pianoforte with a light touch, as if the snowflakes fell on the keys. Gradually, thousands of twinkling red lights descended with the flakes. As they covered the rocks of the foothills, the magician added an echoing soprano whose voice undulated within the snow and music. Beside them, a thin river twisted and turned, accompanying the Elizabeth through a low valley” (144). “As a chorus of horns echoed, intertwining with the free-floating flags, the acrobats faded away, replaced by schools of fish in brilliant reds who swam through the air as if through water. Clouds of silvery trout hovered over the dining table as a tribute to Kang’s fondness for the dish. The music sweetened, and then softened, as the fish shimmered to nothing, replaced by the thick greenery and pungent scent of the jungle” (145). “The terrain of India became increasingly lush over the next few days, with long stretches of jungle and forests so dense Celwyn could only see a few feet into them as the Elizabeth chugged by. He found the flashes of oranges, yellows, and brilliant blues from the orchids and exotic birds hidden in the branches and vines especially intriguing. The area represented an opportunity to study so many species. He wished Zander traveled with them” (152). “The tiger that had sat next to Prince Leo’s feet took shape, lying on its side, and stretching. With a yawn, it rolled onto its back. This time, its black stripes had been enriched with slivers of sapphires. When the cat flexed its muscles, the jewels rolled across its flesh” (152). “In the distance, all of the Bay of Bengal could be seen, glittering like a million jewels before the horizon. For miles to the west, a white beach framed the water as the swamps changed to forests ribboned with herds of deer. Fields of mangos and bananas bordered the jungle that seemed to swallow everything in front of it” (154). “As the clouds above them receded, swaths of sunlight painted the water below. It glimmered as brilliantly as the gods intended” (184). “They gathered on top of the submarine, and the scope of the amphitheater surrounding the ship became much more apparent. Its circumference measured a good quarter mile, and the interior walls rose at least as tall as a five-story building. Like enormous stone soldiers, the forest of stalagmites flanked the lake and the massive opening above them appeared big enough to drive the train through. All around the opening, like small satellites orbiting a sun, a dozen or more holes let in streams of light above long stretches of the obsidian sand that led to the water” (202). “Underwater shelves had been represented, and exact depths noted as the shelves continued to other maps. Minute details of the composition of the soil and rocks lined the margins, sometimes with drawings of mystical sea life. Intricate skulls floated in the waves. Detailed representations of the North Sea, and the Agean Sea, on linen had been hung along another wall” (229). “The water shone in the weak afternoon light as long-legged egrets stood in silhouette against the emptiness of the landscape” (361). And there are many more jewels for the reader to discover in her 367 pages of text. Enjoy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julia Walker

    Beginning where The Violins Played before Junstan: The Prequel ends, we find Celywin, Bartholomew, and Professor Kang leaving Prague headed for Singapore to pick up Professor Kang’s wife, Elizabeth. Their adventure continues as they travel by private train (The Elizabeth), attempting to avoid all police and the Russians due to a small incident with some valuable Russian rubies. All the main characters from the prequel are included making this second book loads of fun with its amazing characters. Beginning where The Violins Played before Junstan: The Prequel ends, we find Celywin, Bartholomew, and Professor Kang leaving Prague headed for Singapore to pick up Professor Kang’s wife, Elizabeth. Their adventure continues as they travel by private train (The Elizabeth), attempting to avoid all police and the Russians due to a small incident with some valuable Russian rubies. All the main characters from the prequel are included making this second book loads of fun with its amazing characters. The adventures certainly keep the pages turning with the daring feats of magic, vampires, witches, and characters that include the likes of Jules Verne and Captain Nemo. There is a good deal of witty banter between the characters that makes the book delightfully funny as well as tense with danger lurking at every turn. Kemp does a fabulous job keeping the story set in the mid-1800s with all the right dress, stations of employment, caste systems, and cities they pass through on their way to Singapore. Kemp also manages to create a world that combines paranormal, magic, history, and steampunk in such a way that the reader can easily find themselves in the story. Kemp’s writing continues to be superb, proving that the Celwyn series will go on in all of its glory. I know I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diana James

    *I was given this book to read in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book I read in the series, so the prologue was initially challenging because I was not familiar with the characters or what happened previously. In just the first few pages, we are introduced to twelve different characters. Additionally, the book could do with some editing as there were misspellings, errant punctuations, and other things that could be tidied up throughout, but they are not rampant and did not stop *I was given this book to read in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book I read in the series, so the prologue was initially challenging because I was not familiar with the characters or what happened previously. In just the first few pages, we are introduced to twelve different characters. Additionally, the book could do with some editing as there were misspellings, errant punctuations, and other things that could be tidied up throughout, but they are not rampant and did not stop me from proceeding. Unfortunately, the synopsis written above at the time of this review gives away spoilers (and also has a typo), so the end of the book was underwhelming. It was also abrupt. I found the final climax unsatisfying, considering the one particular threat that has loomed over them throughout their adventures is brought to a quick end that states what will happen instead of the reader getting to see the resolution occur. The last paragraph seems like an afterthought, and the end would be stronger if it was left off. I had difficulty understanding some of Jonas’ actions (or lack thereof) because his magical limitations are not clearly defined, which might have been described in the prequel. Overall, the flow worked well, and I grew fond of the characters. I found myself chuckling at their antics and banter and even got goosebumps once for one of the characters later in the book. Even with the downsides listed previously, the read was interesting and compelling. I did want to keep reading to find out what happened and how things were resolved at the end. The author does well with appropriate terminology for the time and paints lovely pictures with their descriptions, even if some info/description dumps could be worked in more subtly. Early examples of creative phrasing (that don’t give anything away) include the description with the “frog opera” and “. . . her eyes twinkled with romantic mischief.” There are things that can be improved and bits that can be tightened, but I still enjoyed the book because of the characters, descriptions, and storyline. If you can overlook the less positive things (which I hope you can), I still recommend reading this book. However, you may want to look into the prequel first.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amys Bookshelf Reviews

    Another great story Kemp pens a grand story in Music Shall Untune the Sky. I read the Celwyn first and prequel books in the Celwyn series. The characters had a lot of depth and were very realistic. I read a lot of stories, and I love the different writing styles and storytelling abilities. This author had a grand writing style, and indeed can tell stories. This author has a great imagination. It is a very well-written story, and I enjoyed it. It’s one of those embraceable stories. It’s definitely Another great story Kemp pens a grand story in Music Shall Untune the Sky. I read the Celwyn first and prequel books in the Celwyn series. The characters had a lot of depth and were very realistic. I read a lot of stories, and I love the different writing styles and storytelling abilities. This author had a grand writing style, and indeed can tell stories. This author has a great imagination. It is a very well-written story, and I enjoyed it. It’s one of those embraceable stories. It’s definitely un-put-downable! This story takes the reader back in time, but also to a whole new world of magic and mystics. Music Shall Untune the Sky is a definite recommendation by Amy's Bookshelf Reviews. I look forward to reading many more stories by this author.

  8. 4 out of 5

    R.A. Hutchins

    Magic and mystery, adventure and adversity, this story takes the reader on a stunning journey from Prague to the Orient. With the threat of danger at every turn, nothing is impossible and everything is unexpected. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    M. Marie Walker

    A wild adventure with a splash of everything! From the very beginning, my interest was piqued. It was my first time reading this particular type of genre and it didn't disappoint. At times, I laughed, at others, I worried; all the while, enjoying the flow and authenticity of the friendships in the story. From sci-fi to magic to history with a dash of drama, this wonderful tale had a little something for everyone. I am very glad to have read it and do definitely recommend. A wild adventure with a splash of everything! From the very beginning, my interest was piqued. It was my first time reading this particular type of genre and it didn't disappoint. At times, I laughed, at others, I worried; all the while, enjoying the flow and authenticity of the friendships in the story. From sci-fi to magic to history with a dash of drama, this wonderful tale had a little something for everyone. I am very glad to have read it and do definitely recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charmaine Cook

    This is a great continuation after the prequel, The Violins Played Before Junstan. Again a great plot. The characters are believable and you are with them all the way to the end. Well worth the read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    John Ryland

    Enjoyed the read Not my usual genre but I gave this book a shot. I'm glad I did. Good character development, plenty of action and suspence. Definately reccomend for those in the genre. Enjoyed the read. Enjoyed the read Not my usual genre but I gave this book a shot. I'm glad I did. Good character development, plenty of action and suspence. Definately reccomend for those in the genre. Enjoyed the read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Wretlind

    I have an obsession with several things: trains, magic and/or magicians, Jules Verne and automatons, to name a few. It is not going to be a surprise, then, that I found Lou Kemp's Music Shall Untune the Sky entertaining and a book that, like its predecessor, pulled me in and kept me enthralled. It has wit, detailed descriptions, believable characters each with their own flaws, and a solid plot that moves from chapter to chapter...mostly on a train. In this solidly steampunk novel, there are quite I have an obsession with several things: trains, magic and/or magicians, Jules Verne and automatons, to name a few. It is not going to be a surprise, then, that I found Lou Kemp's Music Shall Untune the Sky entertaining and a book that, like its predecessor, pulled me in and kept me enthralled. It has wit, detailed descriptions, believable characters each with their own flaws, and a solid plot that moves from chapter to chapter...mostly on a train. In this solidly steampunk novel, there are quite a few characters introduced to us early on with several more appearing in later chapters. Our protagonist, the tea-loving magician Jonas Celwyn, is joined by both Xiau Kang, an automaton, and Bartholomew, a widower from Juba. There is a cast of characters at the beginning that really helps if you are new to Kemp's world. I do not believe it is necessary to start with the prequel (The Violins Played before Junstan), but I do think it will help the reader become familiar with the characters. That I read these two books back-to-back really did allow me the chance to empathize with the characters even more in this book than I did in the first. The story takes us on a wild journey of murder, deception and awe to Singapore and then back to Prague with a few extra (and special) surprise stops along the way. While much of the journey is spent onboard the magical train Elizabeth, there are quite a few other settings which are both familiar and fantastical. Along the way, we meet two of Verne's own creations, Captain Nemo and Phineas Fogg, nicely integrating the Cewlyn series with several classics I grew up reading. That, I believe, is what most captivates me about the series: the immersion into a world I dreamed of a child. Any book that can bring me into place--be it a fantastical world, a historical one, or a combination of the two--succeeds. If I am left with an impression and think about the characters days or weeks later, even better. Music Shall Untune the Sky does this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Rosenblum

    Imagine being dropped into a hurricane. That was my first thought when I started reading. Speeding along on a bullet train (ok it's a coal run engine and the train is named Elizabeth, but still!) and appearing mid-scene I was hanging on. It took just a short amount of time for me to start putting past adventures together with the cast of creative characters. This is steampunk with magical realism. Just as I was adjusting and getting the story together in my mind, the author throws in wonderful h Imagine being dropped into a hurricane. That was my first thought when I started reading. Speeding along on a bullet train (ok it's a coal run engine and the train is named Elizabeth, but still!) and appearing mid-scene I was hanging on. It took just a short amount of time for me to start putting past adventures together with the cast of creative characters. This is steampunk with magical realism. Just as I was adjusting and getting the story together in my mind, the author throws in wonderful historical figures such as the author Jules Verne and Captain Nemo and his Nautilus. I really enjoyed this read and the fast paced adventure. Tie yourself down and enjoy the whirlwind.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anita Dickason

    What an amazing read? The author skillfully weaved magic, adventure, and steampunk with a bit of historical fiction tossed in. I loved the characters, and the plot kept me enthralled to the last page. I am looking forward to reading book #2 in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Mojica

    Magical and wonderful The book has an excellent pace, and the dialogue is great. The author does an amazing job at building the world you are immersed in with magic and interesting plot devices. You will definitely love this book

  16. 4 out of 5

    AC

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joel Flanagan-Grannemann

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rose Walken

  19. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Reinhart

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anne Secher

  21. 5 out of 5

    Larry Diamond

  22. 4 out of 5

    Becks

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dayna

  25. 5 out of 5

    Douglass Abramson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bre

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alandrea

  28. 4 out of 5

    Damien Craig

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chasity

  30. 4 out of 5

    John

  31. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  32. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Hughes

  33. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Ganus

  34. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Michele Rice Carpenter

  36. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  37. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  38. 5 out of 5

    A.K.

  39. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

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