Updated: Jul 28
Thanks to Harper Collins for the Supplication of a Review Copy for this Article
With its rich imagery and detailed world-building, Sisters of Sword and Song creates a well-paced, engaging story inspired by Greek mythos and Mediterranean civilizations combined with Medieval influences and a plot that holds many parallels to modern society.
The novel starts with Evadne and Maia, two common sisters, discussing the return of their sister Halcyon and the seemingly tragic tale of Kirkos, the former wind god who sacrificed his divine power to be with the woman he loved, creating the long lineage that includes Evadne’s family. Ross also introduces the divine relics, 9 magical objects that represent the strength and power of each of the god-like divines. The relics play a key role in the societal imbalances and authority of their kingdom and become crucial in Evadne’s quest to restore balance and the righteous Queen Nerine. After realizing that Halcyon is in danger, Evadne meets Commander Straton, who is pursuing Halcyon after she committed a crime against her legion. Once Halcyon is finally caught and punished for 15 years on trial for murdering Xander, Evadne accepts 5 years of her punishment, and is assigned to serve Commander Straton’s family, where she gains a better understanding of Straton and his family, especially Damon, Xander’s younger brother.
Evadne quickly deciphers that Straton’s plan was very intentional, and after becoming Damon’s scribe, she learns the realities and crucial details behind Halcyon’s mission and Xander’s death. They realize that the threats facing Corisande and the class struggles and unjust tax hikes are the results of the mage Selene’s control of Queen Nerine, and her ultimate goal of establishing mage dominance and rule over the commoners. Evadne and Damon are finally allowed to complete the mission themselves, venturing into Mount Euthymius to retrieve Acantha’s All-Seeing Crown, the only way to break Selene’s spell on Queen Nerine.
On the other end, Halcyon is being held in the mining quarry, a punishment considered worse than death. There, she faces danger from the mage Macarius, self-proclaimed Lord of the Quarry and envoy of Selene, as well as the other quarry workers. She also receives some solace and help from Thales, a secretive man whose life was saved by Halcyon’s Uncle Ozias. Halcyon faces death more than once, and her journey of being redeemed, forgiving others, and regaining her position in the legion is beautifully portrayed in the novel, gradual but steady.
Like many YA novels, Sisters of Sword and Song was not immune to the stereotypical “somewhat distant love interest” arc, but it made up for the cliche with the genuinely wholesome interactions between Damon and Evadne. Their interactions and the progression of their relationship were very natural, not skewing towards damsels in distress or artificial and stoic female leads. The natural back and forth, and mutually beneficial and flattering relationship served as a supplement to the overall plot and focus, rather than being the ultimate goal of the novel.
Overall, Sisters of Sword and Song excels at creating well-rounded characters, with their flaws and strengths that reveal themselves in due course, exemplified by Halcyon, who begins as a hometown hero, whose fragility and fallibility are then revealed after a serious punishment, and finally, showing the growth and return to the glory she experiences having weathered her extreme conditions. Each journey is both fleshed out and interdependent with other storylines, creating a beautiful, interwoven tale that fills each page with wonder, heart, and adventure.
Rebecca Ross, acclaimed author of The Queen’s Rising duology, delivers a thrilling new fantasy about the lengths two sisters will go for each other. Perfect for fans of Ember in the Ashes, Sky In the Deep, and Court of Fives.
After eight years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon unexpectedly appears a day early, Eva knows something is wrong. Halcyon has charged with a heinous crime, and though her life is spared, she is sentenced to 15 years.
Suspicious of the charges, brought forth by Halcyon’s army commander, as well as the details of the crime, Eva volunteers to take part of her sister’s sentence. If there’s a way to absolve Halcyon, she’ll find it. But as the sisters begin their sentences, they quickly learn that there are fates worse than death.
SISTERS OF SWORD AND SONG is Available Now.