[646]: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

29008738 The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Stand Alone | Createspace Independent Pub
May 11th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

I had high hopes for this book. After all the great things I’ve been reading about it, I was sure I was going to love it. I mean, I should’ve known better, you know? There is something about fantasy novels that just do not appeal to my reading sensibilities. But I didn’t let that stop me because most of you have given this book such a high rating. Y’all know how easy it is to persuade me.

The first thing that appealed to me was the cover; it just doesn’t look like a fantasy novel, in my opinion. So because of that, I decided to give it a go. The second thing is that Lark cannot speak. And I’m the kind of reader who’s eternally intrigued by characters with disabilities. There is something about them that’s even more admirable than a character with their full capacities. They’re inherently stronger because of the things they had to overcome day in and day out. So yes, even though that cover is gorgeous, Lark was the major draw. Though, I should mention that her being mute is not a birth defect or as a result of an injury.

Fantasy is so tricky for me. My attention span can’t deal with the legends, the curses, the myths that I have to keep track of. Moreover, the seemingly archaic narration just doesn’t suit me. The last fantasy series that I’ve devoured and loved was The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. I’ve grown to appreciate it more over the years because I’ve re-read the books at least a thousand times.

So in this book, the story was propelled by a curse (as fantasy novels often do) inflicted by a witch that was about to be slaughtered by Tiras’ father. She ordered her daughter (Lark) to keep her words because her words are powerful. Lark’s ability is a variation of the power of persuasion. She can order animals and some people to do her will. In this land, anybody who has powers is found and killed. People are afraid of those with abilities. But she made sure that her curse was woven tightly that it would affect her husband (who didn’t do anything to protect her) and the, then King’s son (Tiras).

Years later, when the King died, Tiras took over. The kingdom is constantly under threat. Because the many years of injustice directed towards those with powers, a group of shifters wanted the royal blood and their people. In short, this book has the right recipe for some good old-fashioned fantasy. The kind that fans of the genre can easily like. As much as this book didn’t tickle my fancy, I’d like to say that it’s something fans of romance novels could like. It is heavy on the romance. I like Tiras and Lark. They were perfectly matched in temper and as much as couples ought to be well-suited.

Tiras was a little off-putting sometimes, though. He more often throws it in Lark’s face that she is “of use” to him in his war. And no matter how indignant Lark was with her role as a sword to be wielded, she doesn’t say no – not that she couldn’t (she was a way of speaking to Tiras telepathically).

I really wish I’d loved it more, but it just wasn’t in the cards. The pacing was inconsistent, impeded by Tiras’ constant disappearing acts. I do love the smooth prose, though. It wasn’t overly prettified but it had enough gorgeousness to be purple.


  • As soon as I saw it was a fantasy novel I gritted my teeth, knowing it would have to be awesome to win you over…. a shame it wasn’t, cos I love that cover too!

  • Although you found it disappointing, as a fantasy lover I find this quite intriguing. Thanks for the recommendation and the review lovely!

  • Aww I’m sorry this didn’t end up turning up the way you wanted it to be. I think overall, I am a little intrigued, but I don’t think I am interested in the synopsis. And you’re right, the cover looks more like a contemporary than it does a fantasy. Interesting.

    Awesome review Joy! I hope you have better luck with fantasy next time 🙂

    • Oh well. Me and fantasy get on like…well, we don’t, to be honest. Lol.

  • It’s a shame you didn’t love this as much as you wanted 🙁 I might still give it a go though. Being a massive fantasy fan I will hopefully enjoy it more 🙂

    • Yes! You’ll love the fantasy elements in this book. It’s just the kind of thing you love.

  • It’s sad when you want more and that it’s not what you obtain… I heard other things like that. I need to try the author one day

  • RO

    I like this cover too, and the blurb had me wanting to check things out, but for some reason, I seem to do so much better with fantasy in a movie setting. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Like you, I’m intrigued with characters who are very real and may not be discussed in novels. One of the reasons I’m such a fan of Catherine Anderson’s work – she tackles blindness, domestic violence, and other disabilities. You know I HEART your review, but I’m not sure I would pick this one up. Hugs…RO

  • It is always disappointing when you start into a book that you really want to like and then you don’t. I’ve not heard of this book before. I’m going to have to check it out. I’m a fan of fantasy novels (or at least some of them. The high fantasy like Tolkien and Martin tend to be too much for me).

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • As a fantasy lover, this book sounds right up my alley! I love the intriguing premise, the world sounds interesting, but the characters are definitely the standout point. Sucks that this one wasn’t for you, but thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  • shootingstarsmag

    Sorry you didn’t really like this one. I have heard some good things about this one, but I don’t find myself falling for most fantasy stories either so I don’t know if this would work for me.


  • You and Harmon books don’t seem to mix very well. I’m looking forward to reading this one when I get a chance.

  • I would never have guessed fantasy from the cover. Historical fiction perhaps? but not fantasy. It sounds interesting but I’m sad to hear you didn’t enjoy it as much as you anticipated. Melina Marchetta is such a brilliant author and I’m not surprised to see you loved the Luminare chronicles.
    I think with me fantasy is a bit of a fine line. I’m not overly invested in the worlds authors create. But when it’s well written I find myself enjoying it inspite of the foreign worlds. Sounds like this one might be one for me. I’m often all about the romance… so I thank you for putting it on my radar 😀

  • I’ve never heard of this book before – sad to hear you didn’t enjoy it as much as you hoped, but seeing as I really like fantasy perhaps I’ll get on better with it. It sounds really intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

  • I LOVED the Lumatere Chronicles. The premise of The Bird and The Sword actually sounds really interesting! I might check it out and see how I enjoy it 🙂

  • This sounds like something I might devour and I’m thrilled you tried it, but sad it still was not a favorite. I’m checking out your mention Melina Marchetta as well and adding it to the good old TBR pile.
    Have a fantastic weekend, Joy 🙂

  • I don’t like the sound of the inconsistent pacing, but I do like fantasies and I wonder if I’d like it more than you did. Hm… Well, you have me curious!

  • Aw, I’m so sorry you had a lot of issues with this one : But yay for liking it even so 🙂 But so sorry it was disappointing, when you wanted to love it. Aw. I have not heard of it before, though, haha 🙂 Not for me, sadly. Thank you for sharing. <3

  • I often struggle with most fantasies too Joy, but that synopsis sounds so lyrical that I’m already drawn to it. It sounds pretty mild actually as far as fantasy goes and the main focus being on the romance. I’m guessing she’s mute by choice, as a symbolic gesture to keep her mother’s words perhaps? I’m sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more Joy, it really had the potential to be pretty epic. Wonderful review nonetheless <3 <3

  • I am a little creeped out by that cover but I love romances so this might be for me? 😛

  • Ah sorry to hear this fantasy and the pacing didn’t work the best for you. I am hit or miss with fantasy as well

  • I can definitely see how this world didn’t appeal to you. I’m scheduled to read this soon, I’m just waiting for the hype to die down. Harmon is one of my favorite authors, and I love her writing. Great review!

  • Jazmen

    That’s too bad. But, we can’t all love the same books, right? Glad you gave it a try.

  • Agh, I wish fantasy novels worked out more often for you but it seems like they just really don’t :/ I like the sound of the character being mute because it is different, but mostly it seems sort of like any other fantasy novel with pacing issues :/

  • I started reading this one as well, because of the gorgeous cover and high reviews, but I hated the purple prose and the heavy handed romance elements. I put it down very quickly.

  • Too bad.
    For me, it just feels like I need to read it..but would not love it

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    Aww, I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you, Joy! I’ve also seen a lot of raving reviews for this and the cover is so different from your typical fantasy but I know I’m going to be giving this one a try. I love fantasy–this is my genre of preferred choice–so while I totally see how a lot of this book didn’t work out for you, I wonder if I’ll feel differently about it. I surely hope so! Thanks for such a helpful review, though, Joy, and I hope you find another fantasy series that works out for you! Marchetta’s trilogy is a gem but there are so many others I adore too so lmk if you ever want recommendations! 🙂

  • We kind of have the same problem with fantasy. I find it difficult to keep track with the things about the world. Just… why?? I’ve read several raving reviews about this one which is why I added this to my tbr but after your review, I’m having second thoughts…

  • Hmmm…not sure this would work for me or not. I’ve seen reviews all over the place for this book. Wonderful review, Joy! 🙂