Series: Sword and Verse #1
Release Date: 19th January 2016
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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.
I’m not entirely sure what the plot of Sword and Verse was meant to be. It had such promise. Promise of a revolution, of a slave fighting back for her people. Typically those are the stories that pull me in and make me fall head over heels, but in this case it fell flat. It just wasn’t executed in a way that was enjoyable for me.
The biggest problem with this book is that the main focus is the instalove and romance between Raisa and Prince Mati. Obviously, this is forbidden, since Raisa is a slave, but there was no tension and no chemistry between them at all. They fall in love right away, and I was expecting Mati to be an “innocent first love” type thing, but that didn’t turn out to be the case at all.
I also had issues with the timeline of the story and the pace at which it progressed. The book skips forward a year after the first chapter, which would normally be okay, but we missed a lot of build up between Raisa and Mati, which would have been essential for a book with this amount of romance. Then we continue to skip forward months into the future, and again, I feel like we missed a lot of character growth because of this.
I started skimming after a while because the entire first quarter – or first half, really – was just about Mati and Raisa’s “love” and also about Raisa learning to read and write. There were too many descriptions of these writing lessons. I don’t care if a letter has a curve that goes left or right, I just want something to happen!
I’m incredibly disappointed by this book, and I’m hesitant to call it a fantasy novel. It’s definitely more of a romance.