The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Stand Alone | Createspace Independent Pub
May 11th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.
The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.
But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?
I had high hopes for this book. After all the great things I’ve been reading about it, I was sure I was going to love it. I mean, I should’ve known better, you know? There is something about fantasy novels that just do not appeal to my reading sensibilities. But I didn’t let that stop me because most of you have given this book such a high rating. Y’all know how easy it is to persuade me.
The first thing that appealed to me was the cover; it just doesn’t look like a fantasy novel, in my opinion. So because of that, I decided to give it a go. The second thing is that Lark cannot speak. And I’m the kind of reader who’s eternally intrigued by characters with disabilities. There is something about them that’s even more admirable than a character with their full capacities. They’re inherently stronger because of the things they had to overcome day in and day out. So yes, even though that cover is gorgeous, Lark was the major draw. Though, I should mention that her being mute is not a birth defect or as a result of an injury.
Fantasy is so tricky for me. My attention span can’t deal with the legends, the curses, the myths that I have to keep track of. Moreover, the seemingly archaic narration just doesn’t suit me. The last fantasy series that I’ve devoured and loved was The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. I’ve grown to appreciate it more over the years because I’ve re-read the books at least a thousand times.
So in this book, the story was propelled by a curse (as fantasy novels often do) inflicted by a witch that was about to be slaughtered by Tiras’ father. She ordered her daughter (Lark) to keep her words because her words are powerful. Lark’s ability is a variation of the power of persuasion. She can order animals and some people to do her will. In this land, anybody who has powers is found and killed. People are afraid of those with abilities. But she made sure that her curse was woven tightly that it would affect her husband (who didn’t do anything to protect her) and the, then King’s son (Tiras).
Years later, when the King died, Tiras took over. The kingdom is constantly under threat. Because the many years of injustice directed towards those with powers, a group of shifters wanted the royal blood and their people. In short, this book has the right recipe for some good old-fashioned fantasy. The kind that fans of the genre can easily like. As much as this book didn’t tickle my fancy, I’d like to say that it’s something fans of romance novels could like. It is heavy on the romance. I like Tiras and Lark. They were perfectly matched in temper and as much as couples ought to be well-suited.
Tiras was a little off-putting sometimes, though. He more often throws it in Lark’s face that she is “of use” to him in his war. And no matter how indignant Lark was with her role as a sword to be wielded, she doesn’t say no – not that she couldn’t (she was a way of speaking to Tiras telepathically).
I really wish I’d loved it more, but it just wasn’t in the cards. The pacing was inconsistent, impeded by Tiras’ constant disappearing acts. I do love the smooth prose, though. It wasn’t overly prettified but it had enough gorgeousness to be purple.