Sisters of Sword and Song – Rebecca Ross – HarperTeen – Published 23 June 2020
After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.
Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.
Sisters of Sword and Song is a new book by Rebecca Ross. It is not part of the same world or series as her previous two books. Magic combine with legend of gods and relics infused with power. Hand combat joins magic woven in song to wage war against the evil powers that hold the Queen captive. It is a book about the love between sisters. It is a book about powerful women. It is a story about honour and devotion. It feels as if it has been taken from the pages of history.
Sisters of Sword and Song is set in a world that is reminiscent of Ancient Greece. From the dress and the legends of gods and myths to the rocky setting with olive groves and mountains and the fighting and legions of hoplites, everything feels decidedly ancient. Halcyon and Evadne are sisters. They are due to be reunited when Halcyon, long been training and serving in the army, is set to return to their home. But Halcyon arrives a day early and asks Evadne to help her outrun the commander who follows her and seeks justice for the murder of his son. As Halcyon runs and Evadne learns more about the path that Halcyon has trod, she is drawn into a dangerous war involving magic, battles, spies and deceit and a journey to retrieve ancient, powerful relics.
It was hard to read this book with an open mind, as I really just wanted a third book in the Queen’s Rising series. It did take my until halfway into the book to really connect with the characters and become invested in their cause. I was intrigued by the setting and detailed world Ross has created.
The devotion between sisters is easy to see, despite the years they have spent apart. Halcyon trusts Evadne and Evadne wastes no time standing up for Halcyon and even taking on some of her punishment. Halcyon and Evadne are joined in their dangerous journey by the commander and his son, Damon, who is a mage. The magic in this book is poetic and unique. Based in the spoken and sung word, words and song combine to bring magic to life. Legends of god – gods that echo the Greek gods but who are wholly unique, weave the story together. Dangerous quests, battles both of magic and physical might are fought, won and lost.
The sweet ending was my favourite part of the story. Sisters of Sword and Song is a standalone fantasy.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Magic, gods, legends, song, sisters, family, death,
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Violence – fighting, injuries, torture, whipping, death,
Published: 23 June 2020 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 480 pages.