Blade of Secrets

Feiwel & Friends. (Bladesmith). May 2021. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250756800.
Gr 8 Up–The fate of Ghadra lies on the shoulders of one anxiety-ridden blacksmith. Ziva, 18, is famous for forging custom blades and weapons imbued with incredible power. She only speaks to her 16-year-old sister, Temra, and hates strangers, but strikes an immediate rapport with a warlord who commissions a sword—the most powerful sword Ziva can make. Once finished, it cuts through objects and enemies alike, even from a distance, but when the warlord comes to pick up the weapon, Ziva learns it has another power: It reads your enemies’ secrets. Now that she knows the warlord plans to enslave the continent, she can’t hand over the weapon. On the run, Ziva and Temra acquire a mercenary and a scholar who have their own reasons for joining them. The plot picks up and rarely stops for breath as the sisters and their love interests try to find safe haven in a violent world. Levenseller’s worldbuilding is simplistic and accessible, which leaves the dialogue and her characters to shine as they cope with the pressure of mixed personalities and the weight of the world. The romances build slowly, and all relationships emphasize open communication and apologies as healthy. The scholar is brown-skinned, Temra and the mercenary are tan, and Ziva’s skin color is not defined. While both romances are heterosexual, there are queer couples in the background.
VERDICT Light on romance and heavy on longing, this action-adventure is a recommended purchase where fantasy is popular.

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