Book review | Swan Song of my Era by Elsie Swain
Author: Elsie Swain
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ rep
No. of pages: 404
Published by: Ukiyoto Publishing
Published on: 21st April 2021
My rating: ★★★★☆
What happens when Hope Vale, an aspiring vitiligo make-up artist who wants to eradicate the market of whitening products meets Spes Zrey, an arrogant Hugo-Boss awardee struggling to shape her designer dream, as they envision reshaping Asia into the next fashion empire together? 'Set in Malaysia, this contemporary fiction is all about the grueling ambition against all hurdles of reality to break the confinements of gender and the stereotypes of preferred white beauty in Asia.
Set in Malaysia, Swan Song of my Era is the journey of Spes Zrey, an extraordinarily talented, arrogant, and a Hugo-Boss award recipient and Hope Vale, an equally talented make-up artist with vitiligo— as they set on their journey to change the skin-whitening products obsessed society.
Both Hope and Spes are both a symbol of hope, but with very clashing personalities. Spes comes with a past trauma, a broken family that has made her heart hard. Meanwhile Hope is a pure ray of sunshine. As Hope gets to melt Spes' heart and her skeptic view of the world, she inspire her to become a better person, and in turn Spes instills courage in Hope. Hope and Spes' journey is filled with competitions to prove themselves and fighting a judgmental society which has obnoxious beauty standards.
With a prose as beautiful and metaphorical as poems, and dialogues that are filled with heartfelt emotions, author Elsie Swain converges art, culture, literature and love into a book that will surely touch your heart. Spes' relationship with her siblings and her rivals take a very smooth arc in the book. Her feelings for Hope and their relationship delves into a slow-burning romance that is very much character-driven. The whole setting of the book is like an intricate portrait that looks so simple yet on a closer look you'll find the finest details that will leave you with amazement.
The only downside of the book it that it takes time to settle in. The first 40% of the book will make you wonder where it is leading to. But with Hope's entry everything falls into place. Also, the dialogues go on for pages so I had the extreme urge to skip a few paragraphs, but the beautiful characters and their stories kept me going.
I have no other words for the writing style other than "beautiful." This book has legit one of the most beautiful writing I have come across. It might look compley, but it has a smooth way of going inside your heart. The book is 90% dialogue-based and 10% description-based, and it is through the dialogues that the actual story flows. The use of metaphors and allegories adds to the charm of this book. It is indeed a great piece of writing.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.