Title: Sword and Verse
Author: Kathy MacMillan
Upcoming Release Date: January 19, 2016
My Pre-Reading Thoughts
Synopsis: 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.
Review: Many YA books cover such a small period of time. They're made almost like a movie, showing a lot of high action sequences in the shortest amount of time. The wonderful thing about a book is that it can do whatever it wants. This YA Fantasy novel covers years. And it was a wonderful break from the norm.
Each chapter begins with a small portion of a myth. With each chapter, the myth grows and expands. It also is incorporated into the story. I really liked the way the two stories were parallel and merged together.
The romance in this novel is different than most YA in that the romance blossoms over many years. It is a more complicated relationship. There were many times in this book where I genuinely did not like the love interest. My opinions of him wavered throughout the book. I think that shows how interesting the characters in this book are.
Language and writing are at the core of this novel. The concept of communicating thoughts is shown in many different mediums. I liked seeing different forms of the written form. The Library is also very cool.
Race plays a big part in this book. The slaves are the lighter skinned ones with curly hair, while the masters have darker skin and straight hair. Race can be a difficult thing to portray in fantasy, but I think this was done well. It addresses real world situations through comparisons and metaphors. Along with race, class is also dealt with. I liked the way class was portrayed through the colors worn by people.
The world-building was elaborate and interesting. I loved the architecture. The slave system was intriguing. There was a lot of great imagery.
I really enjoyed this book. I like how it dealt with modern communication at its core, in written language. I liked the way it covers years instead of just days, like many current YA fantasy does. The relationships and characters were all complex. I give this book a 5/5 and recommend it to all fans of fantasy!