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?
Wowow, when I first read a review of this book by Nick from Nick and Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist, I knew that I had to get it, and I’d probably enjoy it as well.. But truth is, I actually fell head over heels in love with it. The Bird and the Sword has a perfect blend of fantasy and romance that just leaves my heart shattered in the best of ways. The lyrical writing just pulls you in from the first pages, and I couldn’t tear myself away from the pages, even if I had tried. This story really shows how important something as seemingly inconsequential as words can be.
The story is told from the first person POV of Lark, who cannot speak but eventually finds her “voice” as you delve deeper into the story. Even though she can’t talk, she finds a way to get specific people around her to understand what she’s thinking. I absolutely adored her characterization. She’s small in stature and overall quiet (I mean, the girl can’t speak), but the effects of her actions are profound and large. She finds herself under the captive of King Tiras, who was once cursed by her mother in the past. Despite these circumstances, his compassionate ways draw her out.
“Suddenly yearning had a flavor. It wasted like a king, a beautiful, frightening, infuriating man who flew into my life and began to free my words.”
In the kingdom, magic wielders are looked down upon. All the nobles rally against people who can heal, shapeshift, or manipulate items because of the power imbalance in the past. However, Lark’s introduction to the palace starts bringing out secrets in regards to these powers, and even helps the animosity between the Gifted and those without powers.
“I was not vivid or bold. I was small and scared, a swisp. Exactly as Kjell had once described – a tendril of pale smoke, hardly there at all. But the way tiras was looking at me made me believe I was vibrant and brave. He made me feel powerful.”
The magical element in this story doesn’t stop there, though. There are odd, mutant bird-like creatures called Volgars that have been spreading across the region like a disease, killing people. Lark and Tiras both try to discover where these Volgars come from and discover how to defeat them, and ultimately save the people in the kingdom. I love how connected everything was, and you’ll really appreciate it after finishing the whole story.
The romance in this story was so achingly sweet, I savored all the words (and reread them many times). Lark isn’t the boldest or most beautiful heroine out there, but her quiet words really touch Tiras. She has unwavering loyalty and trust towards him, and you could easily tell how devoted Tiras is towards her as well. They protect each other and the kingdom of Jeru with fierce devotion and pride.
“‘You said I chose you because you are of use to me. And I did. But know this, Lark.’ Tiras’s voice broke on my name, but he didn’t pause. ‘I have loved you every moment of the every day, and I will love you until I cease to be. Bird, man, or king, I love you, and I will always love you.”
In all honesty, I don’t know if words can convey how much I love this story. It’s a fantasy with a fairly simple plot that speaks volumes. The characters are especially touching, from Lark’s quiet strength to Tiras’s dedication to those he loves. Hamon’s lyrical writing was perfect for telling this touching story, keeping me entranced from start to finish. I recommend this for readers seeking an easy-to-read fantasy that has a fairly straightforward plot but manages to readers on their toes still; add to that the lovely romance and profound message the book sends, and it makes for a simply splendiferous read.