I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a solid 4-4.5 read, a book which is full of adventure, mystery, family and loss.
The over arcing story here is a coming of age of a woman who rise from the gladiatorial pits of her society to find her place in the Empire. She is one of the Gifted, a woman who gains not one, but two families, and continually finds that her world isn’t what she expects it to be.
This is a very powerful story as we follow this very broken girl who wants more than anything to have a place where she belongs. Beyond that she also wants to be someone who is doing what is right and what is right is often not an easy thing to see or know. I wanted Sword to succeed and found it heartbreaking each time that her world shifted and she recreated herself again. I was satisfied by where she ended up, even though the journey is painful and sometimes pretty brutal. There were a few aspects as far as the bigger plot which I’m still not fully certain of, and it’s left a bit open ended as it’s obviously the first in a series.
When I started reading I found the writing style a bit choppy, but that disappeared very quickly in the flow of the narrative which keeps up at a break neck speed all the way along. Very rarely are you given much breathing space and when you are…look out cause it’s usually a quick gasp before things get crazy all over again. I love love the connections between people through the book. There’s some romance, but even more important are the ties of siblings and parents and protectors. The powers are interesting and unique and the technology an odd conglomeration of the modern and the very Medieval, which was mostly fine though there were moments it threw me out of the story.
All in all I’m much looking forward to the next one. There are still a lot of questions left to be answered and ground left to be covered. I want to know what lies beneath the clouds, even as I’m afraid to know the answer…and that’s a good thing.
Content warning: This is prolly a 16+ at least. The language is fairly minor. There is some kissing, mention of prostitution and assault, and abundant violence. Folks die in some pretty awful ways and the story doesn’t shy away from that brutality. It’s not down to each drip of blood and brains or such, but it is present.