Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Book Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
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.
ReviewLet me just start off by saying how much I love this cover. IT'S SO GORGEOUSSSS AHHH. The cover and the synopsis are what actually made me pick up the book in the first place. I loved the concept of this book!
The main character, Raisa, was pretty likable. One thing I loved about her was how she didn't just sit around and not do anything. She was took action, especially at the end of the book. She did whatever she could to help people and I loved that about her, even though that got her into a few problematic situations. However, Raisa was a bit frustrating at times. I didn't really like the parts when she kept on moping around. I mean, I understood why she was moping around, but it started getting on my nerves a bit.
The romance in this book was not my favorite thing about it, but it was okay. Personally, I'm not really a fan of forbidden romances and stuff, so I guess that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. But, I did love watching how Raisa and Mati's relationship grew. And the one thing I really, really loved about their relationship was how much they trusted each other. IT WAS JUST BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, that isn't something I find that often in YA, so it was quite refreshing.
My most favorite thing about the book was definitely the world building and the writing style. If the world building of a fantasy book isn't good, then I don't expect to like it because I personally believe that world building is the most important part of it. If the world the author creates isn't believable, then everything else in the story just feels off. The world building in this book was excellent! I could actually envision the world the characters lived in and I understood pretty much everything that was going on. I loved the writing because Kathy MacMillan's writing style is just beautiful!
One other thing I loved was the little mythology portions right at the beginning of each chapter. I'm a huge fan of mythology books, so I loved how that was incorporated into Sword and Verse! And each of them connected to what was going on in the story, so I felt like I understood was happening in the story better and it helped with the worldbuilding, as well.
One problem I had with this book was that it had a lot of characters. I read this book slowly over the course of a week, and often found myself reading a character's name and being like "huh, who's that?" I felt that most characters introduced to the story were relevant, but they weren't that important. This made the book a little confusing for me at times, but it wasn't a huge problem overall.
Overall, this book was a great debut and I definitely plan on reading more of Kathy MacMillan's books in the future!