- File Size: 2818 KB
- Print Length: 463 pages
- Publisher: Ace (September 3, 2019)
- Publication Date: September 3, 2019
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07L7TBH5B
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,551 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$16.00|
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The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 463 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“This big-hearted novel completely transported me to the wonder and enchantment of ancient Ireland—and its resonance lingered long after the final page.”--Callie Bates, author of The Waking Land
"Breathtaking, often heartbreaking. . . . This lush fantasy is sure to win Marillier many new fans."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A tale that draws on some haunting fairy tale elements while telling an exciting adventure all its own."--Locus
Praise for Juliet Marillier and her fantasy novels
"An enchanting tale."--Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Fruit
"Utter perfection."--The BiblioSanctum
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The characters surprised me a number of times but I could always understand why they had done what they had. I was really glad things turned out as they did for the most part. There was one thing I might have changed just because it made me a little sad.
You'll have to read it and see what you think
There's a third narrator; Dau, who is slightly their adversary as it's a competition to get to stay on Swan Island, however throughout the book as we get to know them and they get to know each other better, they learn one of the crucial skills they'll need if they wish to stay on Swan Island; how to work together, how to appreciate each others strengths, and most importantly, how to listen to each other and value each opinion is on offer.
The three trainees get an excellent opportunity to work on their skills, and that's to work on a job with two actual full members of Swan Island. They're to go to a nearby kingdom that's had something of irreplaceable value stolen, and there's a hard deadline of when they need it back so it can be used in the crowning of the current prince, who is very nearly old enough to take his place as king.
Which is where the 'bards' part of the series comes in. Liobhan and Brocc are known for their incredible voices and skill on the harp and pipes. This is indeed where Brocc excels; although he can hold his own in a fight his true skill is in singing and writing songs, whereas Liobhan is far more skilled in a fight but can hold her on - mainly thanks to practice - in a song.
It's these skills and the fact Liobhan is a woman that makes Dau think neither of them are cut out for Swan Island life, and he himself will hopefully earn a place to stay on the island. He holds himself constantly in strict form, constantly thinking what will help him get closer and closer to earning a place there for good... and it is slowly revealed just why returning home is not an option for him.
Throughout we have an exceedingly readable and enjoyable high fantasy book that is everything one can expect from Marillier's work; bards and songs, herb craft and a healthy respect and caution around fae-type creations, and an enthralling journey of character development across a wide range of types of person. No one in this book is evil or bad (well, they are, however...) they all have multiple facets that show who they are, and why they've reacted in a certain way throughout.
I can't wait for the next book. This book stands by itself incredibly well but I can't wait to see what happens next.
But, I bought a print version from Amazon to read anyway. This is THE Juliet Marillier we are talking about! I own everything she has ever published, and this novel now proudly joins the others in my collection.
This novel is the first in the Warrior Bards series. If you have not yet read Marillier’s Blackthorn and Grim series, ANY review of these books will be a bit of a spoiler for you. (However, this review does NOT contain any spoilers of this particular novel. If you do not plan to read the Blackthorn and Grim series, feel safe to proceed.)
About 20 years after Blackthorn and Grim’s adventures in the previous series, we meet their daughter and son Liobhan and Brocc. Both have joined the elite warrior training program at Swan Island and are competing for the chance to remain on the island as a permanent part of the team. They are at the top of their class and have steep competition from classmate Dau. Despite being trainees, the particular skills of Liobhan, Brocc, and Dau earn them a place on a real mission. Liobhan and Brocc, both accomplished musicians, will act as traveling bards, while Dau must play the role of a mute stablehand. Together, they must discover what has happened to the revered Harp of Kings before the coronation of the prince.
As always, Marillier writes powerful female characters. Liobhan, taking after her father in stature, is a strong woman who can easily win at hand to hand combat against any man, but in her role for the mission, she must suppress these qualities. Although this is not marketed as a Young Adult novel, it would be a fantastic and empowering read (and appropriate in content) for a teenage girl or young woman (unlike the Blackthorn and Grim series, which contains violent scenes and references).
Even when you think you have the ending of a Marillier novel figured out, she will always surprise you. This book is no different. She has woven yet another beautiful web of fantasy and mystery and adventure. The development of the three main characters is exceptional. I don’t know how I will cope while waiting for the next installment in this series!
Top international reviews
One of my favourite characters from Juliet Marillier's books has to be Grim, father to two of the main characters in The Harp of Kings. I'm sure that anyone who has enjoyed Den of Wolves (or the two preceding books) will be delighted to read that this wonderful man was given the chance to be not only a great husband, but also a truly great father.
I also loved the link to Inis Eala (Swan Island) first mentioned in Son of Sevenwaters. To be honest, Cionnaola or Art will never be Bran, Gull or Johnny but in time, maybe Liobhan could follow in their footsteps ... I certainly hope there are more stories to come in this series so we can find out.
I love the „Blackthorn and Grim“ trilogy. J. Marillier, so I was thrilled to find out that this is the story of Liobhan and her brother Brocc, children of Master Grim and Mistress Blackthorn (and I was so happy for them that they obviously really found their happiness together). They are warriors in training at Swan Island, although it’s Liobhan who really really wants to became a warrior (being her mother’s daughter, she is also a musician and good at healing). Brocc is more or less in it for his sister‘s sake. They are sent on a covert mission in a neighboring kingdom to get the famous Harp of Kings back that has disappeared from the druids’ keep in the nemetons. And said harp is an essential part of the crowning ceremony of the new king. To Liobhan’s dismay, another member of their team is Dau, Liobhan’s rival for the top of the trainees’ ranking and an overall pain.
As this is the world of „Blackthorn and Grim“, the same rules of magical realism apply and people of the original story have a few cameos. This story of course does have people from the Otherworld in it, wisewomen and the uncanny in general. But there is also a lot of pagetime just passing without things going forward, in other words, it does have its lengths. And although I like the three POVs, they aren’t as cool as the „originals“ for me. They are young people and they do annoying stuff at times that made me want to shake them. And Brocc‘s part is... well, it’s great writing and all, but I admit it was a bit boring. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, Marillier’s world building is flawless, the writing as well and it is a good book. I just like „Blackthorn and Grim“ more as characters. Still, of course I’m going to read the following installments as well, as I said, it’s a really good book.
Einzig, dass das Thema immer mehr in Richtung Feminismus und weibliche Selbstbestimmung gedrückt wird finde ich etwas too much!
Starke Frauen Ja, aber immer diese Gender Belehrungen nerven ein wenig.
Abgesehen davon, spannend und mit viel Gefühl :-)