Hey all, Dani here.
My NetGalley approval/review percentage is slowly climbing up as I work my way through my review backlog. I honestly think I had 20+ NetGalley reviews that needed to be written up from last year to early this year, which is awful. But just about every other review I’ve posted on my blog since I returned to blogging last month has been a NetGalley review, so I’m feeling pretty good about that…except I also keep requesting more e-galleys from the site. If I keep getting a bunch of approvals then I’m never going to catch up. It’s a wonderful yet difficult problem to have.
I feel really bad that it’s taken me this long to review this book. I was granted access to it on NetGalley a month or two before release day…and then it sat unread on my e-reader for like a year, long enough for the sequel to be near to release. So I finally picked it up to read…in paperback because I had bought a finished copy months and months earlier. Then I flew through the book (and intended to write a review quickly and then dive into the sequel). Well, I think the third book is out next month, and I still haven’t reviewed this one or read book two. I feel like a bad bookworm.
Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.
A young woman is both a bard—and a warrior—in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.
Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.
Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the kingdom will be thrown into disarray. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision—and the consequences may break her heart.
Rating: 4.5 stars
This is not my first Juliet Marillier novel, but it is the start of a new love of her novels. I had read a couple back in high school/college (I think?) and I enjoyed them. I know I did, or at least I remember good feelings when I think back on what I read…not that I can tell you much about them. I remember that they had that enchanting fairy tale feeling to them and a feeling that the story and characters were good, but I certainly don’t recall any specifics.
With this book, I do remember some specifics, even though I read it over a year ago. It is basically a historical fantasy from a fantasy UK. There is magic and espionage and political maneuvering and plotting going on, plus rivalries and even a little bit of romance. Oh and a little bit of family drama.
Liobhan was a great leading lady, and I found myself very quickly drawn into this story, and wanting to know if she would manage to pull her mission off.
I also greatly enjoyed the writing style. It did have this mystical fantastical historical feel to the phrasing and the style. While I flew through this book and read it at various points throughout the day, it has the feel of a bedtime story to me, one that will have you off in a magical dreamland soon enough.
There were some twists and turns and setbacks, as there are with most books, and I can admit that I did not see the conflict resolution and ending coming, so that was fun. I do really want to read the sequel, hopefully sometime soon, but I’m feeling like I might want to re-read this one first, just so I can definitely have all the characters and details fresh in my mind. Plus, it’s just nice to revisit stories you enjoyed, right?
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All right, well that is all from me for today. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.