Title: SISTERS OF SWORD AND SONG
Author: REBECCA ROSS
Publication Date: JUNE 23, 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.A tale of two sisters and their journey to save the kingdom from evil forces. It was full of magic, dangerous adventures, tough challenges, and sweet moments.
This book exceeded my expectation. I knew that this book would be excellent because I’ve read one of Rebecca’s book before called The Queen’s Rising, and it was an excellent book. I had no doubt this one would be the same too, and turns out I was right. She’s back at it again writing a wonderful story, and delivering it in a fabulous way. I would buy any books written by her, she is my only auto-buy author so far.
Sisters of Sword and Song is a very wonderful book. A lot of things that happened in the book was truly amazing. It was an incredibly well-plotted story and the storyline was really remarkable. It wasn’t an easily predictable story, and the story held so many surprises in it. I was truly amazed by it and the twists too. The twists made me put the book down a lot of times, just so I can take in everything that was revealed. I was like, “IS THIS REAL???,” “WHAT???,” “I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.” I was caught off guard a lot of times but I enjoyed the surprises. It was really impressive.
The story is about two sisters named Halcyon and Evadne, and their journey to save the kingdom from people with evil intentions. Halcyon was supposed to serve her sentence for 15 years due to the accident that happened between her and her shield brother, Xander. But Evadne came forward to take 5 years of her sister’s sentence and discover a lot of things she didn’t know before. Damon (Xander’s younger brother) and Evadne paired up to complete a dangerous mission to save the kingdom, while Halcyon was working to save the kingdom differently from them.
There are a lot happening in the story. It mainly focused on the relics which all came from different gods and goddesses. I liked the concept of the story actually. How the gods and goddesses are important and why their relics played a huge part in everything that happened in this book. Each gods and goddesses had a relic that can give someone different abilities, and I find it so mesmerizing. Also, the references to Greek mythology made me feel so giddy. As a person who has been a long-time fan of mythologies, I will never get tired of seeing the references of it in books. I can definitely see how the ancient Greece inspired some of the things in this book too. No wonder this story is wonderful and so excellent from the start to the end.
Now I’m going to move to the subject of the actions and the magic system which I’ve been dying to talk about. This book doesn’t just have a wonderful story and an unpredictable plot, but it also have amazing actions—especially the lyrically beautiful duel between mages. I’ll never get over how beautiful it was written. I’ve never read anything like this before, the concept of the magic in this book is very unique and different than other concept of magic in other books I’d read.
In this one, the magic is either by speaking or singing, but mostly it was done by singing which I find it to be so fascinating. The mages in this book are quite smart. They created their own magic and then use it by singing it for most of the time. Hence the reason why I said the magic in this book is unique. Usually, magic can be use by either a wand or just shoot it from the hands, but in this one it doesn’t need any of those two. You sing it, your magic will show itself, and it will protect you and help you defeat your enemies if you continue to sing it. Another thing I liked is how the mages needed their scribe to help back them up during a duel. That is the thing I liked seeing the most. Mages are considered powerful since they have magical abilities, but here they have a weakness and their scribe is the key to help them achieve their success in a duel which is very rare to see in most books. This is being added to the list of things that surprises me while I was reading this book.
That is one thing, another thing was the swords fighting. I will never ever get over how amazing swords fighting is in every fantasy books. Here, there wasn’t a lot of swords fighting, but the amounts are just enough to keep the readers satisfied. At least, there was another action that doesn’t required magic. I also come to understand the reason why there are two different actions; sword (weapon) and song (magic). Each represent the ability of each sister, and when I realized it, I wasn’t just shocked but also had my mind blown. Rebecca is so clever, this is one of the many reasons why she is my top favorite author.
To me, all of the actions are extremely intense, especially the duel between mages. I find that to be the most extreme action considering how hard it is to create your own enchantments and sing it with all your power and strength. But the outcome of doing it when you’re just an average mage doesn’t look so good. I was impressed by how the actions of both magic and non-magic were written. I can never ever forget it.
Aside from all of that, the story also has a lot of surprises in it. Especially the type of surprise that shocked you when you learn the truth about something or someone, and also when you were met with a plot twist. What I noticed the most from the story is the fact that each characters have secrets they’d been holding from everyone, and the moment I found out what secrets each of them held, I was shocked—like extremely shocked. Evadne’s family kept a big secret, and so does Damon’s family. I loved how everything is connected and it blew my mind to find out about it. One mission connects all characters. It was just so fascinating to see how the characters in this book are connected to each other—be it directly or indirectly—due to the one mission all of them had to complete on their own. This is one of the most cleverest thing I ever read in a fantasy book, I honestly didn’t know how Rebecca managed to do it but she did a very fantastic, excellent, and marvelous job.
Now moving on to the characters…
There are so many characters in this book and most of them are very likable, and some are not (as in, they’re the bad guys). Damon, Evadne, and Halcyon are the lead characters in the story while the others are the side characters.
Damon is a young mage, the same age as Evadne. Even though in the book, it was stated a couple times that he is just an average mage, and not as powerful as the other mages. But, Damon is powerful to me. He had the courage to go up against a much more powerful mage and used the magic he created on his own to battle the said mage. His bravery and confidence are the keys to his success, and also the reason why he wasn’t afraid to battle someone so powerful than him. He reached his full potential as a mage, and that resulted in him being so powerful in his own league even though he was still considered average, but that doesn’t matter anymore since he managed to handle the battle just fine even with Evadne’s help.
Damon is a sweet and charming young man. He has a good heart and has been so kind to Evadne. He was the only one who treated her as if she is his friend when she was working at his family’s manor while the others treated her a bit harshly. He sees Evadne as his equal and he always have a strong faith in her. The fact that he trusted her the most warms my heart. All the good things he did only proved that he is an overall a good person with a good heart. He’s wise beyond his age, has a strong and good manners, possessed a mature attitude, and has a strong personality. All of this makes his character so enjoyable to read.
Evadne is just as interesting as Damon. I do feel sorry for her the most because she was the innocent in all of this chaos and yet she did the bravest thing ever by stepping up to serve some of his sister’s sentence in order to find out what was going on. I teared up a bit at the part when she stood up and made the decision that forever changed her life. She’s young but wiser than most adults/grown-ups, and she showed her bravery in front of the crowds and that moment alone deserved a standing ovation.
She might not have any fighting skills and magic, but her wise mind and smart brain are enough to help her get out of any bad situation. She doesn’t need to train as a warrior for her to be able to fight her enemy, and she definitely didn’t need any power to help her face a greater challenge. I do understand if some people might find her boring because she is the most normal character in this book, but being normal is unique too. And never once did I ever find her boring, to me she is very much interesting just like the others. I never see her as a weak character because she is definitely strong, and strong doesn’t have to be physical strength or how much power a person possess. Being strong can come in many form but in Evadne’s case, it came from her mind. Being the only one without any magical abilities or any fighting skills made her the most stand out character because she only need to rely on her brain and her mind to figure everything. She’s very clever, always love to help others, so caring, is kind with a good heart because there isn’t a doubt that she was born to be kind, and most importantly she has a very quick thinking. Her bright personality fits her character so well too.
Halcyon which is Evadne’s older sister is part of the Bronze Legion, a group of the queen’s warrior who are loyal to their commander and their queen only. Halcyon’s loyalty to her commander and her queen never faded, it stays strong and still going strong despite how many times she was tortured by the enemies. Her spirit is hard to break, she’s not only physically tough, but also emotionally and mentally tough which is hard for the enemies to get any useful information from her. The things she did at the start of the story had me confused but it was just a big misunderstanding. Despite all the things she endured, and how weak her state is, she still wanted to fight against the enemies to bring justice. I admired her just as I did Evadne and Damon.
Some of the characters that surprised me the most are Lord Straton, and Thales. I thought Straton will turn out to be the shadiest character and eventually the main bad guy in the story, but I was wrong. He was actually kind but with cold demeanor, this surprised me a lot. As for Thales, he doesn’t appeared much but just enough for me to liked his character due to his honesty, kindness, and his strong urge to help the legion in defeating the villain. These two are truly the most surprising characters in the book.
About the main villain…I don’t expect it at all, but from the few times she appeared and the way she spoke that one time during her family dinner, I knew right away that something doesn’t sit right with her. It was being revealed a bit early but not too early in the book that she is the main villain. It was fine by me to find out that early because then the rest of the story will have more room to develop her character as the main villain and to have her achieve the evil things she wanted to do so that she will be seen as powerfully terrifying and unbeatable. I never liked her the moment she opened her mouth and insulted Evadne. She’s the most shadiest character and I do get why she was so terrifying. Rebecca did a great job in developing this one particular character as the villain, and the progress of the said character become the villain was quite but I was impressed.
Can we please appreciate how beautiful, clean, and sweet romance between Damon and Evadne is. One other thing I like about Rebecca’s writing is how she managed to write a beautifully sweet slow-burn romance between her two characters and still make it realistic. I knew that Damon and Evadne eventually end up together, all the hints are there since the first time they laid eyes on each other. Their relationship started off as two strangers then to two friends who are working together on a secret mission and it eventually ended up with these two becoming lovers. I’m actually all in and been supporting Damon and Evadne’s relationship from the start. This is how a slow-burn romance should be done.
I loved that the process of their relationship is slowly evolving into something more. The development was solid and on point. I don’t see a single flaw in it. It was one of the purest relationship I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I was happy they ended up together. Damon and Evadne are each other’s equal in a lot of ways. They’ve spent a lot of times together that it was easy to have them developed a strong romantic feelings to each other. They bonded through their joy of singing the magic, through the deadliest missions they had to complete, and through the many obstacles they both had to face when they were off to a great but very challenging adventure.
The last few chapters broke my heart after learning what will happen to Damon and how Evadne will cope with the changes. There was a scene that foreshadowed Damon’s fate and the horror of seeing it become a reality was so traumatizing. But I have no doubt Rebecca would find a way to bring these two back again and the ending really proved that. Damon eventually find his way back to Evadne, and that was the most wonderful thing ever. I thought Rebecca was about to pull a Romeo & Juliet type of ending, I was glad it didn’t go that way because if it did happen then it would be a depressing ending for both characters, I don’t think my heart would be ready for that.
Overall, this book is a very excellent book and has the most compelling story. I enjoyed it and literally devoured it in one sitting. Any book by Rebecca Ross are bound to be great, I have no doubt about it at all. This book put me on edge the whole time, the story drew me in, the plot intrigued me, the world-building is fantastic, and the characters entertained me. This is definitely one of my top favorite read of 2020 and no one can change my mind. This makes me feel like I’m in the story going on a journey with the characters. The joy of experiencing the story by reading it for the first time will always be the special moment I can never forget.
P/S: after I was done reading this book, I finally knew the meaning behind the title and why ‘Sword’ and ‘Song’ are in it. Each is the symbol for each sister and I was in awed when I realized it. Rebecca is a genius for making the title. And also, the cover…it’s so gorgeous and unique, but most importantly the pictures in the cover are basically describing the story in a non-spoilery way but enough for those who have read the book to understand the meaning behind it. Whoever made the cover is so clever in making it. Little things like these made me appreciate it.