I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
Published by HarperTEEN on 2016-01-19
Length: 384 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss
Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.
Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.
So I know the new year just started BUT this book may be my favorite for the year! Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan is an epic tale full of mythology, fantasy, and romance. Raisa was a child when she arrived at the palace in Qilara and barely a teen when she was chosen to be the next Tutor. Her story is full of peril and love, heartbreak and suspense. I’m telling you now before I’ve even really begun this review to GO READ THIS BOOK!!!!
Raisa is a character that I instantly fell in love with. She’s a slave, only 15 when the book opens, and missing her home, her old life, the life she barely had a chance to know. She can read a little, even though it is forbidden for her class in the kingdom of Qilara. Her father was a Learned One and he was teaching her before she was captured. Now having been chosen as the next tutor, she has to hide her secret or risk death if it is discovered. Raisa is determined, bold, and at times manipulative, but only when she needs to be. There’s a softer side to her that I found appealing and my heart broke for hers over and over again with the hurdles she faced.
Prince Mati :::swoon::: I went back and forth with him. I didn’t know if he could be trusted, if he really loved Raisa. Were his actions honorable? Was he using the new Tutor? I didn’t know and it left an air of mystery around his character that was quite attractive to not just Raisa 😉 Mati is what you read, he doesn’t hide behind his crown, and when he is first introduced in the book he is only a year older than Raisa. His actions are that of a teenage boy and I loved watching him grow in the book (Raisa too!).
The plot revolves around Raisa, her position as the next Tutor, and the Resistance. I found the whole story intriguing. I could NOT set the book down for even a minute. I was terrified for Raisa, cheering her on, distrustful of those that were trying to use her, and just engrossed to the point of no sleep. Why? The writing! The author writes in such a beautiful way, really bringing the feelings of the characters out in her words and describing the tension and stress that Raisa was under so that you as the reader feel it too.
And then there was the mythology 😀 The author creates an entirely new mythology to go along with Raisa’s story. Each chapter begins with a part of that story and it is so intertwined with the main plot that I was on the edge of my seat reading it. I could honestly have read an entire book on just the mythology that is created and been happy!
Overall I LOVED THIS BOOK! And yes that deserved all-caps excited yelling 😀 I adore high fantasy novels and this book is just that. With the fantasy, mythology, and the author’s wonderful characters, I truly fell in love with the book. And the ending….argh!!! What an ending!!! The author wraps the story up nicely, leaving it slightly open in which I hope means there will be more. BUT if there’s not, it is a fantastic standalone in a world full of series 😀 If you enjoy high fantasy, romance, dystopia, and suspense, I highly suggest you get your own copy of Sword and Verse. You won’t regret it!