Title: Sisters of Sword and Song
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: June 23rd, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.
Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Evadne of Isaura is eagerly awaiting the return of her sister Halcyon who left to join the queen’s army eight years ago. But when the time comes for the sisters to be reunited, Halcyon appears earlier than planned, on the run from her commander and charged with murder. At her trial, Halcyon is sentenced to a harsh punishment, but Eva is determined to find out the truth behind what happened and volunteers to take on part of her sentence. Eva begins her five year servitude in the commander’s household, she quickly realizes that there is much more at stake than is initially evident.
I always enjoy well written stand alone fantasy novels, because it’s not easy to build a world and narrate a complete adventure in the span of a few hundred pages. The world building in this story is very well done and the vaguely Ancient Greece inspired culture and setting easily draws the reader in. The unique magic system, linked to gods who left various artifacts for their descendants to find and wield a form of magic through, from a pendant that can make one fly to a pair of earrings the enables the bearer to breathe underwater were all thoroughly fascinating and reminded me of the many tales and adventures of heroes from Greek mythology who went on epic journeys and quests like Odysseus and Jason. I was delighted to see that this book had a map, usually a rarity in standalones – but as I always say, every fantasy novel ought to have one. The simple, yet informative map helped me easily visualize and follow along with Eva’s journey, and it made for a much more immersive experience reading the story overall.
As always, Rebecca Ross does sibling relationships and friendships very well. The bond between the sisters and the level of trust and loyalty was wonderfully portrayed in this story that focuses a lot on the importance of family. In contrast to what I noticed in the author’s previous series, The Queen’s Rising, where I found it a little hard to connect to the characters, it was really easy to this time around, with Evadne in particular. I also noticed a definite improvement in the writing style and the pace of the narrative seemed much smoother as a whole.
Overall, this was a well balanced YA fantasy novel and an action-packed, interesting read. As often happens with standalones, the narrative largely focuses on our two main characters, but I would have also liked to know more about some of the others. Regardless, this was a thoroughly satisfying novel, easily read in one setting, and I would definitely recommend it, particularly for fans of stories relating to Ancient Greece or Rome.
Sisters of Sword and Song releases on June 23rd, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!