Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review: Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse #1)

About the Book:
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillanTitle: Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse #1)
Author: Kathy MacMillan
Pub. Date: Jan. 19, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 2/5 stars


Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.



This novel was the definition of the word struggle. I wanted to like this book so much because the synopsis sounded unique and the perfect way to start off 2016. It was on my TBR list for awhile, and I wanted to read it as soon as I was able! Unfortunately, this novel fell flat in more than one way, and I basically forced myself to finish reading because I kept hoping it would get better. I was actually tempted to DNF it, but I figured I was 50% through it, and I might as well stick it out until the end. 


The biggest problem with this book was the fact that is was boring. Literally the first half of this novel is copying down symbols (which is Raisa's way of learning the language that all Tutors learn) and her lamenting on her crush (and then future love) Prince Mati. This would have been fine if their relationship was interesting in any way. But it wasn't. It was as dry as the rest of the novel, and just blah. I never believed their romance, and honestly half the time it didn't even seem like they knew each other enough to be declaring such strong feelings. It doesn't help that Raisa basically falls all over herself every time Mati does anything. Mati talks to her...swoon. Mati blinks...Raisa falls even more in love with his beautiful eyes. I'm all for romance in my books, but it needs to be balanced with something else in the story, or just be interesting in general. And in this novel, the romance was neither of those things. There was no buildup, there was no tension (and even when there should have been, I didn't feel it one bit). Add to this that once Mati and Raisa do get together--which, mind you, is after the first couple of chapters--the books constantly repeats the same scene over and over again. Yes, there is different words written, but it is virtually the same exact scene. 


My other major problem with this novel was Raisa's character in general. I never actually liked her while I was reading this book, and as time went on, I found her more and more annoying. Half the time I wanted to knock some sense into her, and then the other half I felt literally nothing. She constantly made decisions that she knew were bad ideas, and then was surprised when things didn't turn out okay. I mean really Raisa? What did you expect to happen girl?? But the biggest flaw with her character is how utterly forgettable and mundane she is. There is no specific quality that makes her stand out. And I'm just going to leave it at that.

The last major problem I had with this book was the plot. After I was finished reading the story, I looked back and realized that there was virtually no plot to this book...or at least not one that was interesting enough to become invested in. I read this book over a week ago now, and I can only remember bits and pieces of what this story was about. I decided that I need to wait a bit to review the book because I literally had no idea what I wanted to say originally, and the fact that virtually nothing from this story has stuck with me, shows just how unimpressive this book was in the end. The pacing was much too slow, and while the ending was okay, it was a bit rushed.


Ultimately, I can't say I would recommend this book. What I thought was going to be an action-packed new fantasy novel, was nothing more than romance with tedious scenes on writing symbols. This novel may appeal to other readers who know going into reading exactly what to expect. But for me, this just wasn't me cup of tea. On to the next book!


Happy reading :)



  1. Your review reminds me of my feelings towards The Glittering Court, which I just finished. Nothing is worse than a boring plot. I hate that moment when you're already so far into a book and you have to make the decision to DNF or not. It's like, I hate torturing myself, but I also hate DNF'ing. WHAT TO DO. Great review! I hope your next read was better! :D

    Sarah | Kerosene Lit

    1. Thanks! I'm still making up my mind about whether or not to read The Glittering Court only because Richelle Mead is one of my favorite authors. But lately I haven't been able to get into her books. So we'll have to see!


  2. I felt basically the same way about this book. I thought it would be so awesome because I had heard such good things, but it was SO BORING! I hated all the in depth descriptions of the writing and all the constant mentions of her heart verse and her flip flopping between wanting to be part of the resistance and not wanting to because Mati. Just blehhh. I'm glad I got this as a free trial audiobook.

  3. Yikes! Sorry you didn't care for this one. I hate when books are very boring or very boring in the beginning. I hope your next read is better!