I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and was excited to read the next one. What I got was a very blah book. It's hard to pinpoint the exact problem.
Almost all character/world building is left to the first novel. The first novel had Anna's introduction to Erde and many of her reactions to her new circumstances, and learning about her new powers. This book doesn't build on those themes much, though relying on the same complaints she often had, from the first book.
All politics are mostly shown by snippits of the other world leaders of Erde having bland discussion with their subordinates. Perhaps this is all building towards something larger in the next book, but I felt that I would have been just fine with Anna's storyline, and not had the world politics revealed to me without so much as a spellsong.
OK, the novel is called the Spellsong War, but the Spellsong War parts bored me to tears, as well as the traveling between them, so what was left to this book? Not much.
Speaking of long sections. I haven't read many Modestitt Jr books, so I don't know if this practice of copying text is common in the other ones. I could almost feel the copy-paste in the computer happening as I read. I had the sense that I had read several sections before, almost to the letter.
The same description about flowery language, same complaing from Anna about the things following it happened over and over.
It's always Holly Lolly Polly Pop... We learned more warm ups in 2nd grade, why does she almost never vary it?
Almost everytime the hat is mentioned it is 'the floppy hat' with no other description. If you're not providing new information about an item, why bother mentioning it? I can almost always remember to imagine it as floppy. or flowery, or that she has to clear the same mucus from her throat or ect.
Music. This is a problem. I have never been an opera singer, but I have been in a performing orchestra. Anna is missing some spark that makes it seem like she's been up on the stage. That she knows more about music than words like vocalise, or strophic (which is not clear to me, as a musician, though I could research it). She never seems to feel the music build in her, never describes what it's like to be the music, the intrument, to be carried by the rush of performance. Perhaps she's too...tired.(as she always is) But would it have hurt L.E. to do a bit more research into how music feels? how it feels to perform? Has he ever talked to a group of musicians? felt their passion? seen how they can geek out over an overture, or aria? Also, I understand she may not be a composer, but the snippets provided don't do enough to show that they are actually part of songs, The closest we get is a bit from The Battle Hymn, but as a classically trained opera singer(usually charged with memorization of their music) she should have a much larger set of music to draw from, even children's music as she's had children.
Many of these things I forgave in the first novel, due to the intresting premise, characters, places. Somehow Anna has become a flatter character, with less to offer in this novel. I had expected things to evolve more, and was let down.
With all of that said, I'll still likely give the 3rd book a try, I'm still interested in the premise, and want to see if things really do improve with the 3rd novel. I'm hoping for less travel, and more character building.