Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review of Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Read for: TBR & the cover is stunning

Synopsis: "Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key."

My Review: This was a complete cover by for me about a year ago, granted the synopsis did sound interesting as well. For being a completely fantasy world, belief system and culture it was a pretty easy book to read. The world building was nicely done though not very detailed. I found it interesting to read this after The Reader where books didn't exist, and in this book writing is forbidden except for the elite. I liked the integration of the story of the Gods in with the story, it helped give the world building a boost as well as make sense of the storyline. I was expecting a little more depth to the story but it mostly focused on the relationship between Raisa and Mati. We do get to see the development of the resistance and the role Raisa plays as well as the writing. I did find that this would be a great stand alone fantasy book, but there is another one expected out some time next year. While I enjoyed the characters and the story I think the conclusion is so nicely wrapped up, even with some open ends that you can decide for yourself.

My Rating: While this was a good fantasy, it did have a pretty complex world and system and it really didn't get moving until pretty late in the story. It does in my opinion read best as a stand alone. I don't know if a lot of readers would have the patience to push through 2/3 of the book  for the pace to pick up.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.


  1. Trying to create a world and keep a story going is very hard I'd imagine. Too bad so few authors can manage it.

    1. I imagine it is very difficult to balance plots and characters, especially with fantasy books where you have to build entire worlds, cultures and traditions. But obviously it is very possible.