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December 11, 2022

The Musician by Heloisa Prieto ~ a Review

by MK French

Thomas lost his parents as a child, and all the wealth or talent in the world could never replace them. His only friends are the musical creatures that no one else can see, and music is his connection with them. When his secret is revealed to a group of strangers, they want to steal the creatures. Dr. Alonso and his daughter Dora trick Thomas into joining a cult, and he’s unlikely to ever escape it. However, the Guarani shaman Marlui senses the danger around Thomas and vows to protect him from Dr. Alonso. Can she save Thomas before he gives in to Dora and loses his musical powers?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of magical realism novel The Musician by Heloisa Prieto
December 2022; Koehler Books; 9781646638642
ebook, print (200 pages); magical realism

We’re introduced to Thomas as a young man who sees the shadows move and dance in time with music. It had been chalked up as imaginary friends as a child but set him apart. Excerpts from his journal between chapters show that he definitely doesn’t think the way average eighteen-year-olds do. He lists indigenous tribes, various senses, song titles, random questions, and maintains a sense of childlike wonder. In fact, he befriends two young boys with the same easy enthusiasm of early elementary school years. Marlui grew up in the rainforest, connecting to spirits and her ancestors, living between both worlds. There are fewer POV chapters from her perspective than Thomas’, but despite growing up in the rainforest she still strikes me as having a lot more common sense than he does! Dr. Alonso from the start is pushy and hardly gives Thomas a chance to think as he barrels his way into the conversations Thomas struck up with the people listening to him play. He and his daughter come across as really creepy as I read their introduction, and that impression doesn’t improve with time.

Heloisa Prieto is well known in Brazil as a children’s and YA author, researching myths and legends of her country. Knowing that, of course, I’d want to read this book, her debut in English. Some phrasing is different from what English-speaking readers may be used to as a result of the change in language (such as “the beautiful dream he experienced had been erased from his mind” in the second paragraph). Even so, her use of language is very lyrical here, adding to the sense of folklore. Chapters are short and switch POV between various characters so that we see different perspectives of the same morning and how people are affected by music. As the story progresses, we see how they’re linked to each other. It really feels like a fairy tale, with music as the magic to bind people together and allow them to show their true selves.

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Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 


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