The Bird and the Sword is Amy Harmon’s first fantasy novel. In the world she’s created, there are those with special “skills” – Tellers, Spinners, Healers, and Changers – but they are forced to hide their skills, as they were deemed illegal in the past by monarchs afraid of their skills. Lark, the daughter of a lord, and King Tiras have to find a way to get rid of the stigma surrounding those who are gifted, and save the kingdom of Jeru from falling into chaos.

Lark has been mute since the day her mother died. Her death was at the hand of the king, and her last words were a prophecy that sets off the events of the novel.

Lark can no longer speak, and if she dies, so will her father. She also foretells that the king will lose his soul and his son Tiras to the sky. When Lark is taken hostage by Tiras, now the king, over ten years later, he gives her a whole new world. As Lark’s father was terrified by her words, knowing that she had inherited the gift of Telling from her mother, he never taught her to read or write. King Tiras teaches her to read and write, and she in turn helps him with the gift her mother cursed him with; the gift of a Changer.

Struggling to hide his gift, as well as trying to battle off a vicious breed of monster named Volgar that no one has seen before, Tiras quickly starts relying on Lark to guide him and help heal him.

The Bird and the Sword reads more like a romance novel set in a fantasy world than a typical fantasy novel. Lark’s romance with Tiras is as big a part of the plot as the struggles they have in finding a way to defeat the Volgar. Her relationship with her scheming father, who only wants her to live so he does, is tense and uneasy. Her lifelong friendship with a troll named Boojohni is the opposite, charming and heartwarming.

The way in which those who are “skilled” band together, and welcome Lark once they learn of her gift, was also a pleasant contrast to the fear Lark feels that normal humans will learn of her gift.

The Bird and the Sword is an enjoyable read, though it focuses more on the relationship between characters than the battles that occurred in the novel. The characters were interesting, though some felt a little underdeveloped, and the plot was good.

A must for those who enjoy romance novels, or light-hearted fantasy.

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