The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer


Poetry - Inspirational
104 Pages
Reviewed on 06/12/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

If you think poetry collections are all the same and that it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to find an innovative one, you will have to reconsider your opinion. I had one of the most pleasant surprises myself when I found Vashti Stopher Klein's The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer. The book begins with an allegory. An ill Soprano dreams about an evil monster, seeks a healer, and discovers that the only man who can save her and give her back her voice is the Dragonslayer. After her successful healing, the Soprano starts singing again. As a bonus for readers, some of the poems have hyperlinks that allow you to listen to them recorded as songs.

The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer is a collection that effectively blends words, music, and images (you find artistic designs by Carol Collett before each poem). I wrote above that Stopher Klein's book is innovative, and the perfect interweaving of all these elements gives it originality and charm. Each of the poems of The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer is remarkable for the story it tells. They are detailed pictures, and whether you listen to the recordings or read the words, they will mesmerize you. I consider them as delightful pieces of a wonderful puzzle. The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer is one of the best collections of poems I have read in recent times. I cannot wait to read more work by Vashti Stopher Klein, and I hope it will happen soon.

Foluso Falaye

The first piece in Vashti Stopher Klein's collection portrays a Dragonslayer who seems to be the only one that can save Soprano from her sudden illness. However, Soprano might, in the process, lose her voice and her life passion: singing. Will Soprano be saved from the evil monster and its life-threatening clutches? The rest of the book includes exquisite artworks by national award-winning quilter and fiber artist Carol Collett and poems and song lyrics by author Vashti Stopher Klein, a folk singer-songwriter and an award-winning filmmaker. The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer explores themes like longing, wishes, the holiness of love, happiness, and more. Vashti, who almost lost her voice due to a major health crisis, retells her story artistically and touches the hearts of her readers with her poems.

From my brief look through The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer, my first thought was, "This is actually a beautiful book!" And after I fully read the book, I realized that it is not only pleasing to the eye but also healing and compelling. My favorite poem, Shall I?, is filled with descriptive words that painted pictures in my mind, immersing me in an imaginative and dreamy state of mind. The other poems reminded me of my past and present relationships, and I felt like the poems spoke to me in several parts. I loved the depth, colors, and details of the illustrations. In fact, I spent a considerable time just staring at them while reflecting on the words of the poems. Overall, I had a lovely, soul-lifting experience reading Vashti Stopher Klein's book. It would appeal to romantics and lovers of art.

Romuald Dzemo

The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer by Vashti Stopher Klein is a collection of beautiful poetry that, at times, relates a meaningful story, and at other times captures an emotion that is very strong or an image. It features themes of love, nostalgia, pain and healing, nature, and the spiritual experience of the personal. It opens with the story of the soprano whose mission was to sing and who sang to heal the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and her heart. The poems follow the different seasons of the soul of the poet, unveiling the hidden import of pain, celebrating in songs that are uplifting, capturing emotions such as languor with vividness.

This well-written work has strong imagery, from the long dark winter night to the nostalgia of waiting for one’s lover at the wishing well. In fact, my favorite of these poems was “My Wishing Well,” a poem that evokes melancholy and longing in a way that resonates with the human heart. This poetry is inspirational, filled with strong and fast rhythms, loaded with spiritual symbolism, pulling the reader in through its music. The illustrations are colorful and very telling of the themes in these poems. In addition to Vashti’s music, readers will delight in the different types of images she evokes in this gorgeous collection. The poems in The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer highlight the bigger context of our existence as individuals and our connection to a reality that is more powerful than us, shaping a world that is directly linked to the author’s experience of love, pain, and healing. It is a great offering to poetry lovers and anyone who enjoys lyrical works with colorful illustrations.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

If you had a gift, like singing, and you couldn’t live without it, would you face death before giving up on your gift? That’s a difficult question. For the soprano, whose life revolves around her music and her ability to sing, it’s a question she faces when an illness threatens to take her life. But is it an illness? Or is there something evil inside her that needs to be removed to protect both her life and her great gift of song?

There are many ways that lead to healing. Music and poetry, both intertwined, are a powerful healing potion, a sanctuary of sound: “In the still of the night/ Music soft, music slow/ Feelin’ so right…” Vashti Stopher Klein’s book, The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer, is a clever, sensitive and compassionate collection of stories, poems and marvelous illustrations that reflect the power of music and poetry. The illustrations are picturesque quilts, stitched with love, care, and time – very soothing and healing. The author’s words sing brightly of passion and life, light and time immeasurable. The story about the soprano reads like a legend, one that speaks of the importance of the gift of music, at least to the protagonist, as well as to the author. It reflects on how we all confront our dragons at some point in our lives and we’re challenged with whether to give in or fight the good fight, so to speak. The poems lead the reader through healing, redemption and so much love, each word written with music infused in its symbolism. Powerful, healing words.

Sefina Hawke

The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer by Vashti Stopher Klein is a collection of songs, poems, and stories designed to inspire which would appeal most to a diverse audience of teens, young adults, and adults who enjoy the arts and seek inspiration in their lives. The book opens with “The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer” story and then continues with a collection of 25 songs and poems which includes Steel Drums, All that You Are, My Wishing Well, By the River, and Whatever He Wants. The collection is filled not only with words, but also images and links to the performed songs that allow the reader to become immersed in the author’s music. Are you ready to immerse yourself in this world of healing, hope, and inspiration as words and songs take you on a journey through these pages?

The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragonslayer by Vashti Stopher Klein is a well-written inspirational collection filled with beautiful images that serve to further accentuate each of the author’s works. I particularly liked the included YouTube hyperlinks that allowed me to hear the songs performed. I found this book to be not only inspirational but also useful as the author’s words helped me to relax before bed and find inner calm in myself - this helped me feel that everything would be okay. While I enjoyed all of the works, I have to say that Because You Love Me was my favorite as its verses truly touched my heart and I felt like it just fit me perfectly. Upon finishing the book my only regret was that it was not longer. I hope the author continues sharing her works in book form in the future!