Neat YA book. Read this as comfort read and because you can’t go wrong with Diana Wynne Jones, really. A group of teenagers thrust into political conflict, with a side of magic, by way of mythical music, handled by them as a wandering troupe. I didn’t find the story particularly compelling (authoritarian countries bad, liberal countries good blah), but as always, Diana Wynne Jones absolutely delivers on characters and group dynamics.
It’s rare that authors can make you feel the palpable, plausible group dynamics and feelings of families or other groups, and she just always makes it work. In this case, it was a family that was extremely close due to their work together, and at the same time also emotionally distant due to the resulting pressure in some ways. The parents are especially fascinating, both complex, neither completely admirable, but both relatable.