Throughout the year, I’ll dig deeper into the prompts of The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2022. I’ll talk about the music, the prompt and recommend about 5 books I think would go well with it. The prompt of the week: Anthem of the Angels.
I honestly don’t remember when or how I heard Breaking Benjamin first, but it was early into my love affair with rock and roll. Probably around the time Phobia, their third studio album came out – which is freaking awesome, by the way. I shortly became obsessed with the band, and although I don’t follow them that closely these days, they still remain in my top 5 or maybe even top 3 favorite bands. Whenever I’m in a dark mood, or I’m angry, I pick up their songs. I just freaking love Benjamin Burnley‘s voice, and although I’m not exactly the fangirling type, I really would love to meet him one day. I was lucky enough to see them once, when they visited Budapest a couple of years ago. They came to Sziget Festival and thus this was the first and only time I ever went to that event. But damn it was soooo worth it. Especially as I got a nice place in the first row near the middle of the stage. Best. Memory. Ever. Knowing Ben’s phobia regarding planes (among other things), it’s not very likely we’ll see them again anytime soon.
Anyway. Anthem of the Angels is on their fourth studio album, Dear Agony, which also happens to be my favorite, although We Are Not Alone is a very close second. Dear Agony also has my favorite BB song, I Will Not Bow. Its refrain comes to me a lot, especially when I’m stressed out or having a rough patch. The album also has other pretty kick-ass songs such as Dear Agony, Give Me a Sign, or, Anthem of the Angels.
Listen to the album
Listen to the Song
Anthem of the Angels is a very powerful song about grief, loss, about saying goodbye to a loved one who is at death’s door. I’ve read somewhere that Ben wrote this song about his grandfather and dedicated the album to him.
There is nothing left of you
I can see it in your eyes
Sing the anthem of the angels
And say the last goodbye
I keep holding onto you
But I can’t bring you back to life
Sing the anthem of the angels
Then say the last goodbye
Since this is my only kinda music-related prompt, I’ll use it for something music-related. Preferably something about a singer. I’m sure one of such books will come my way as I always have periods when I seek them out. But it can be also about a book that features angels in some way. Or a book where death has a prominent role or saying goodbye to something/someone that hurts as the song itself is a pretty dark one lyrically.
This is another prompt that can mean a lot of things to lot of people, so in my recommendations I tried to pick books for many things – music, angels, loss – in a wide variety of genres.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Yes, once again I pick a Gayle Forman book and I’m not even sorry about it. And that’s because If I Stay is just perfect for this prompt. It has music – the two MCs are both musicians although they prefer different genres, it has loss and grief and the desperation of the living who doesn’t want to let go. This was my very first Gayle Forman book which I picked up randomly in the library one day and I just loved it. One of the most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read. Also Adam is the only book guy I ever wished I could meet in person.
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time.
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
How about a bit of a comedy? The Stupidest Angel should be a good choice if you are looking for a less conventional Christmas read this year. I probably should have saved this prompt for December, but oh well. It’s been a good few years since I’ve read this particular Christopher Moore novel. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I guess if you love his other comedic novels, you won’t be much disappointed by this one either. And since it features an angel – a stupid one at that! – I thought this might be a good fit.
Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into the holiday spirit.
But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he’s not on his deathbed. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.
But hold on! There’s an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It’s none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel’s not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say “Kris Kringle” he’s botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.
Only Christopher Moore, the man who brought you the outrageous lost gospel Lamb and the hysterical fish tale Fluke, could have devised a new holiday classic that tugs at the heartstrings and serves up a healthy slice of fruitcake to boot.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
As for Daisy Jones & The Six, I picked this one for two reasons: a) it’s about music and it fits and b) it’s a book every music lover should read and I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to shout about it. It was definitely one of my favorite reads back in 2019 (JFC, I honestly thought it was like a year ago or so… Yikes.), and it’s a good choice for a summer read. I really enjoyed the unique way it was written, the characters, the story. Man, I probably should reread it sometime soon. Apart from music it also deals with a lot of heavy topics, so it’s definitely not all rainbows and sunshine.
A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
I’ve read Tad Williams‘ Bobby Dollar trilogy way before I started blogging. I said it elsewhere, but my real ticket into Fantasy was UF, and it’s still a genre close to my heart. I really should write up that post about all the great UF series people should read, I’ve been planning for about a year now… Ahem. To date, this is still the only work of Tad Williams I’ve read, so I can’t really compare to his other work. I certainly enjoyed it a lot as it was about a sassy angel doing his business and getting into deeper and deeper trouble as such characters usually do. As I also said in other places, I wrote both of my dissertations about angels in one way or another, so any book with angels in them are something that gets my attention right away. Although this particular angel does not sing, I still decided it would get a place on this list.
Bobby Dollar is an angel — a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own — pride, anger, even lust.
But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.
When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. “End-of-the-world” bad. “Beast of Revelations” bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get–in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them.
You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven. Brace yourself — the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
Last but not least, I decided to pick something lighter. A romance book I’ve read like 3 times so far on audiobook, because I just enjoy it that much. We know romance is generally not my cup of tea, but sometimes that’s what I crave. I needed escapism and I came across The Happy Ever After Playlist which seemed like a good fit. Look, I admit, the moment I saw it was about a musician, I was sold. Yes, I’m that easy to buy, shut up. I didn’t have high expectations and it was a really good surprise how much I loved it. Yes, it’s cheesy and it has a couple of clichés, but it’s witty, entertaining and Sloan and Jason are easy to root for. I know it’s a second in a series, but all of the books are completely stand alones, so you can read whichever you like. Apart from the obvious music reference in the title, this book also fits the Anthem of the Angels prompt as Sloan is dealing with her grief for her fiancé which is an important part of her character.
Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.
Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?