Review: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

So, I just want to say that my expectations for this book were extremely high as it was self published and a close runner up for the Goodreads Choice Awards, to me that means it’s basically like the Katnis Everdeen of books. And for the most part–it met my expectations. I’ve never read an Amy Harmon book before but she’s definitely come across my radar with her many hits. Anywho, even coming in with exponentially high expectations, this book rocked my world and took me on a ride.

The opening chapter is great in scene setting, we have a medieval type world with an oppressive king and country, a forbiddance of magic, and a magical child who is innocently out of control. The expected happens (at least for anyone who has read the blurb) and the tragic stage is set.

I’m a big fan of flawed characters who have been tempered in adversity, and Lark truly is. Her inability to talk and the complexity of her family dynamics create a very hard home situation with her–though she’s still headstrong, kind and ethical (but I didn’t find her too “Mary Sue”). However I did find her flawed as well, and not just in the obvious externals, she’s brash and snappy (but it’s all in her head).

Also, I very much relate to a person who has lost their voice. I’m not going to get too personal here but there was a one-year period when I was a young where I had a really hard time talking to people. It was like I was cooped up in my head and the words couldn’t connect to my mouth. Losing your voice is losing your power, and in Lark’s case in more way than one, I found her resilience showed a beautiful and inspiring strength of character.

Enter Tiras, the love interest, king, and very much a political animal. I actually liked him quite a bit,  he had his own demons, struggles, and intense personality. Unfortunately, what didn’t work for me was their romance. While I appreciated them both as individuals and wanted to love them as a relationship, I more was told that they fell in love than I fell in love with them. But I’m not going to focus on the negatives here because while this was unfortunate, I still loved every moment of this book despite not really feeling the romance.

The magic system was well constructed to the point of being visceral. I just love books that use words entwined with their magic. Words are power, and I loved that with gaining words back, she slowly gained her power back. It’s definitely not the common magic system, and I felt the magic in a tangible way in the story. Well done!

I loved the twists, while most were not all that unexpected, they definitely had a feeling of rightness and of refreshing truth about the nature of bullies. I did not see the big twist in the end and I pride myself on ferreting these things out so I was very impressed!!

Overall, this was a fantastic book with characters in the throes of a beautiful and terrible world and magical system.

Find it here: Amazon

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Some similar books:

Juliet Marillier – Sevenwaters

Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Summers at Castle Auburn – Sharon Shinn


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