Published by Self-Published on 5/10/16
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
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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?
The Bird and the Sword is Amy Harmon at her brilliant best. She conjures up a mystical tale filled with meaning, love, and truth, which left me in a state of awe and some disbelief because she turned a stone in me that I was unaware existed, or one I was reluctant to admit existed. Amy’s talent is fiercely displayed and I don’t have much to say other than what’s been said before, so to avoid redundancy, I’ll write about how this book made me feel and urge you to read it so you may experience the wonder that I did.
The Bird and the Sword is a tale with a message and the message is the power of words. It’s about the spells we create with words, the changes we make with words, the people we are because words, the strength we relinquish, and the strength we claim with our words. This book is powerful. It’s a quiet power, an unassuming power, but powerful nonetheless. I fell in love with the messages imbedded in this enchanting story.
In The Bird and the Sword, we follow Lark, a lonely girl who loses her voice and freedom after the death of her mother. Lark can’t speak, but she is not silent. As a reader she speaks to you, and you can’t help but listen. I so enjoyed getting to know Lark and falling under her spell. Through Harmon’s words, which are like a song, Lark became real to me, and experiencing her vitality was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced as a reader. She’s multidimensional and I felt her loneliness, I felt her curiosity, I felt her bravery, her insecurity, her strength and resolve. I felt every damn thing with her. She’s an inspiration.
Lark’s arc and development is the focal point of The Bird and the Sword, but her story is brilliantly and flawlessly intertwined with the other cast of characters. I keep using that word, but it really can’t be overstated how brilliant this novel is. The characters are brilliant! Of course Lark is the be-all end-all for me, but Tiras is a captivating character, and worthy hero. His story is compelling, and his character so romantic and noble that I swooned more than a few times, and I hate that word. But, there’s no other way to describe how I felt. His interactions with Lark…their chemistry together… Jesus.
Amy Harmon’s books may have a reputation for being tame compared to what else is out there in the romance genre, but don’t let anyone convince you that this isn’t a sexy read. It’s subtly sexy. Sneakily sexy. I swear, there was a scene when Lark and Tiras were together and simply standing next to each other, hands brushing, and I about lost my sh*t. It’s one of those books. Also, Tiras does something for Lark, something that’s so simple yet so vital for her and I think it might be the most romantic thing I’ve ever read. So, this book is romantic, and it is sexy, as well as being a fantastical adventure.
The other characters are also greatly exciting and so fun to love and loathe. Each was colorful and layered, and I hated to part with a single one, even the ones I wanted run through with a sword.
I’ve seen it mentioned that some readers are hesitant to read The Bird and the Sword because it’s a fantasy romance, and that just isn’t their thing. I have a few friends who have read this out of their comfort zone and they’ve fallen for it hard, as well as many readers that I’ve seen on the web that took a chance and loved it. Also, there’s a flip side to that reluctance. I’m a reader who’s enjoyed fantasy and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Amy Harmon, but I was still somewhat skeptical when I saw she was doing a complete genre flip (though she’s written stories with fantastical elements before). The world building, the rules, the history, the adventure, the length of the story, the length of the series (was it a series?)… I had a few questions. But the thing about being a talented writer and storyteller — you’ve got the skill to deliver anything, and she delivered.
With The Bird and The Sword, Amy Harmon took a chance and experimented with her craft, and the end result is something so wonderful, it’s incredible. This fantasy romance lives up to it’s definition, it’s imaginative and emotional. I’ve already read this one twice and have no doubt I’ll read it a ridiculous amount of times more, because I just love how it makes me feel. This is undoubtedly my favorite book of the year so far.