Sword and Verse
Sword and Verse #1
Author: Kathy MacMillan
Reading Level: Young Adult
Released: January 19th 2016
Review Source: HarperTeen
Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.
Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.
In the world of Sword and Verse it is a privilege to know how to read, let alone write. Raisa is appointed to start learning these precious symbols of different languages. Which is a dream come true to her as she is trying to decipher a message from her father. Soon we learn the Prince and Raisa become a thing, but obviously in secret, as their love is forbidden. The Prince assures Raisa he is being honest with his feelings and will change their world to make it official. Yet, there is the King who would do everything to keep them apart and that is what he will do.
Raisa will be challenge to choose a side. Whether she will stick out to her people and help them, or will she foolishly follow the Prince. That is what this story follows. Her mistakes, her doubts and her feelings. Which bring me to say this story is very slow paced. Raisa will make mistakes over and over and over again. It's frustrating. Eventually, she learns from her many mistakes and will make a difference. At mid-point the story does pick up, there are some twists and betrayals. The world is very descriptive and it made the world real.
If you're into historical fictions, then you should give this story a try. If not, I would say, you should skip this read.