Sword and Verse Review

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**WARNING: Minor Spoiler**

Title: Sword and Verse

Author: Kathy MacMillan

Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)

Flap:

“Raisa was just a child when she was sold into slavery in the kingdom of Qilara. Before she was taken away, her father had been adamant that she learn to read and write. But where she now lives, literacy is a capital offense for all but the nobility. The written language is closely protected, and only the King, Prince, Tutor, and Tutor-in-training are allowed to learn its very highest form. So when she is plucked from her menial labor and selected to replace the last Tutor-in-training who was executed, Raisa knows that betraying any hint of her past could mean death.

Keeping her secret guarded is hard enough, but the romance that’s been blossoming between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance–an underground rebel army–to help liberate the city’s 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.”

I had high hopes for this book. The cover looks amazing and it sounds good right?

Unfortunately, I did not love it. The beginning felt very rushed, almost like it was originally planned to be a series or a much longer book and had to be shortened. The pacing just did not match the ending at all.

Once I got to the middle to end of the book, I enjoyed it. But 3 years in the beginning had to be condensed to make room to linger on the a few months in the end.

Not sure what happened during the editorial process, but I think this book could have been much better.

I don’t think I would have acquired this. I suspect a lot of work went into the editorial process and while that wouldn’t have stopped me (since I am in the beginning of my career, I probably will have to acquire projects that need a lot of work), I am not sure it would be strong enough to get passed my editorial team.

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The Winner’s Crime Review

Winner's Crime

Warning ***Massive Spoilers of the First Book***

Title: The Winner’s Crime

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy

Number in Series: 2

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Flap copy:

“Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust …While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.”

So the last book left off with Kestrel making a HUGE sacrifice to save Arin and his country from sure destruction. The feels were everywhere! And this book just picked up where the previous one left off.

Overall, I felt this was a sad book. I loved it, but it didn’t have many easy moments. Between Arin’s constantly waffling on whether he could trust Kestrel or even if he wanted to love her, to Kestrel having to deceive him to save him, I just felt the one-two punch on every page.

But Rutoski is a bona-fide genius. She has perfectly captured the essences of what a trilogy should be. So far both books in this trilogy have not disappointed, and kept the energy and intensity up. I need to read the third book, because with the ending of this one, I have NO idea how our two lovers are going to make it back together.

As I said before, I would have done ANYTHING in my power to acquire this series. I feel so jealous of her editor.

Side note: Check out the redesign of the first book in paperback! It is gorgeous!

Winner's Curse PB