Sword and Verse

384p. ebook available. HarperTeen. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062324610.
Gr 8 Up—As a small child, Raisa was taken from her family to be a slave in Qilara. There, unlike in her homeland, the arts of reading and writing are so restricted that only the king, the prince, his tutor, and the tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the higher forms of the written language. When they were separated, Raisa's father gave her a scrap of paper with some writing on it that he said was her "heart-verse," which she's never been able to read and must keep hidden. Raisa is relieved and elated to be chosen to be tutor-in-training. She may finally be able to read her heart-verse. As she studies with Mati, the prince, they become close and a romance develops. When the protagonist is conscripted to be part of an army of slaves from her homeland who are plotting to overthrow the monarchy, she has to choose between her growing feelings and her people. MacMillan has created a believable world, complete with its own mythology, which is quoted in epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. But the story develops very slowly and the pacing doesn't pick up until halfway through. At that point, things race dramatically to the book's conclusion.
VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries with voracious and dedicated fantasy readers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing