5 stars

Amy Harmon – The Bird and the Sword

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive. The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky. My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free. But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?
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I heard a lot of good things about the author but this is my first read from her. If I’m not mistaken this is her first try in the fantasy genre. Believe it or not I almost didn’t read it. Someway I didn’t like the cover, didn’t even glanced at the blurb. So I read it only months later thanks to accidentally caught review. What a luck because The bird and the sword is a truly enchanting and magical story.

This book gives the reader an exceptional experience. So beautifully written, well balanced and marvelously structured. The best is, you don’t have to be a fantasy lover to enjoy it. Maybe the supernatural, magical elements play a huge part in the story but they are weaved into the plot and the characters with such a talent, in such a subtle way that even without it, we still would get a complete and understandable story.
Strangely even so that the world building is not quite perfect or detailed I didn’t feel a problem with it. The whole story concentrates o much on the relationship between Lark and Taris and Lark ‘evolution’ that the lack of world building doesn’t even register. It’s not really important to the story development.
The story is told from Lark’s point of view, but this is one of the rare occasions when I would have been curious to see Taris side of the events, too. Especially since there is a longer period of time in the plot where they are apart and we left wondering what’s happening to him.

Lark is in a somewhat an unlucky situation. She is hiding her magic, caged into muteness and her father’s political advances endanger her. However she is not broken down, she rebels at every turn. But then she gets out of under her father’ thumb, gets to discover a bigger world. She starts to open up, develop an even stronger and bolder personality but she has to be careful because the royal court is a dangerous and vicious place where her secret can be lethal.

Taris is the king of a war ridden nation which was already oppressed and ‘terrorized’ under his father rule. He is a strong but kind and understanding person with his own dangerous secrets. But he has to show a more ruthless and commanding front to keep his position, ‘respect’ of his people and because it I expected of him after his father. However he is lonely and removed, he lives a solitary and a bit depressing life. Lark presence provides relief to him. She becomes his lifeline. Their relationship is a slowly forming one, there is a longer than usual build up for it and a quite a struggle to accept and trust each other. But after the connection forms they are so good together. Their beautiful and sensual love story is absolutely breath taking.

The story mostly focuses on the relationship but there is plenty of action, political machination, sweet moments and plot twist in it. The author creates so vivid pictures with her style.
Naturally, the book is not perfect (nothing is perfect). It’s a bit predictable, for example the identity of the ‘Big Bad’ is so clear and transparent. I also didn’t like the prologue- epilogue thingy either. It’s an interesting and creative idea, how the author goes full-circle with repeating the chapter with minimal changes but I could have liked a more informative epilogue.

I loved the story, one of the best I read this year. Glad that I accidentally stumbled upon that review and read the book in the end. The author did a good job and proved she can write in other genres too, out of her comfort zone.


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