I’m typing this recommendation from my couch, in my dark living room, at 5:00AM on a Sunday morning. This is the only time I will have to myself today until after 9PM, but I’m in a good mood. You see, I wasn’t asked to write this rec.
I begged to write it.
Yes, you heard me right.
I begged to write this review because everyone should be reading La Canzone. If you know me and trust me, don’t bother with the rest of this recommendation. Go ahead and start reading.
For those of you who don’t know me from Eve, or who can’t simply take my word for it, La Canzone is the story of Bella and Edward. Most fan fiction is about Bella and Edward, so that doesn’t sound particularly impressive, but I would like you to focus on the word story. This is not a fanfic whose primary goal is to get our protagonists between the sheets. La Canzone is a story, first and foremost, and as such, it excels at some of the key elements of a story: setting, characterization, and plot.
Closer still, as he lured me in, I felt the warm glow reflected on my face. Here, under the piano, I am a guest in his circle. I step into the column of sound and light... -Chapter 4
When I read a chapter of La Canzone, I am transported back to the way I felt when I read Twilight. The uncertainty and the longing come through full force, and I don’t want to look away until the end. Twilight accomplished some of this magical uncertainty by putting Bella out of her element, in a new school and in a new town. La Canzone does the same, but instead of being sticking us with another high school fic, Philadelphic elevates the text by setting us in music school.
Bella is a talented soprano from meager means who pursues her dream by enrolling in music school. Her first day of freshman year, she discovers music school will be a challenge beyond anything she has experienced thus far. Our heroine is not without a bit of luck, though. Her voice teacher is the best, and he has secured the school’s choicest pianist to accompany her during the semester. The pianist is Edward Cullen, music doctoral student, and he is a piano prodigy who Bella estimates to be seventeen or eighteen years old. This makes him approximately the same age as Bella.
The setting works, largely because Philadelphic is a trained musician herself. Whenever there is a huge knowledge gap between author and audience, there is always a risk that the text will come off as confusing, or worse, pedantic. Neither is the case here. The musical bent to the story is intense but not overbearing— the focus is more on the experience of loving and living music than it is about technical minutiae.
“I definitely wanted to ask for yours, Angel,” he says kissing her forehead, “ever since I saw you busking at the bus stop like a gypsy kid.”
“I was not busking!” she laughs, blushing. “I was just practicing until the bus came. It’s not my fault people threw money in my violin case.” -Alice and Jasper in Chapter 2
Characterization is another area where La Canzone shines. Most fanfics are OOC (fanfic speak for “Out of Character” as compared to the original text the story is based upon). There are many reasons a story might have characters who behave OOC, and most of them are legit. La Canzone is different, in that Philadelphic strives to keep Bella and Edward as in-character as possible. Some changes are necessary—this an alternate universe after all—but for the most part, details from the text have been preserved. This definitely contributes to the Twilight-esque feel of the story. Bella and Edward aren’t the only characters Philadelphic spends time fleshing out. Alice, Jasper, Angela, and Bella’s voice professor all receive their due.
Writing about Bella’s trials in music school and her chemistry with her pianist would have been a story in itself. And while that would have been entertaining, especially given Philadelphic’s music background, I am delighted that there is more to this story. Specifically, there is a plot.
He snatches me into a dark alley, and I feel an unshed scream threaten to rip apart my lungs… -Chapter 5
The plot is what makes this story a must-read.
Let’s face it. If you’re reasonably well read, you know there are only so many plots. Most stories are predictable, especially in a fandom based around the idea that Bella and Edward will end up together. I’m a little bit difficult to please in terms of plots in fan fiction, and I suspect I’m not alone.
With most Twilight fan fiction, I read the first few chapters, figure out how the story ought to go, and then am disappointed. If the story goes the way I predicted, it’s boring. If the story deviates from what I guessed, all too often it is due to a ridiculous plot twist that had no basis in the previous chapters.
La Canzone has held my attention for twelve chapters over approximately 60,000 words.
I’m not sure how it will end. That’s GOLD. It keeps me wanting more. It keeps me addicted. It makes me rec this story to all my friends. It helped me decide this rec needed to be written. As for how it will end… who knows? The chapters are lush enough that it could go many ways—no deus ex machina necessary.
Who do I think will enjoy La Canzone della Bella Cigna? Anyone who enjoyed Twilight—and I assume that is all of us—should find this a delicious treat.
Limona is not only the author of our favorite Human suspenseful romantic fic, Hiding in Plain Sight, she is also the creative mind behind the Eddies & Bellies. And she is just nice as hell to boot.