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Dagger and Coin

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Soraya Gamo was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroyed the monarchy and the capital city. Now, improbably, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, finally holding the political power she always wanted - but over a nation in ruins. As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide: Soraya Gamo was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroyed the monarchy and the capital city. Now, improbably, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, finally holding the political power she always wanted - but over a nation in ruins. As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide: her brain. But not everyone is ready to accept the new equality that the Ruling Council has decreed between the Arnathim and Qilarites. So when a slave ship arrives in the city, full of Arnathim captured before Qilara fell—the civil unrest that has been bubbling since the rebellion erupts. Forced to confront her own prejudices, Soraya struggles to gain the trust of the Arnath people she once disregarded and establish peace in what has become chaos. With the threat of attacks high, Gelti, a former guard captain, trains Soraya in self-defense. As the two grow close, tension within the city ramps up, with danger, betrayal, and deception meeting Soraya everywhere she turns. Friends become foes, adversaries become companions, and the clashing of classes threatens to unravel all the good Soraya has been trying to do. Can Soraya, raised to be a proper Qilarite lady, learn to be a true leader? Or will the sins of her past forever haunt the footsteps of her future?


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Soraya Gamo was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroyed the monarchy and the capital city. Now, improbably, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, finally holding the political power she always wanted - but over a nation in ruins. As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide: Soraya Gamo was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroyed the monarchy and the capital city. Now, improbably, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, finally holding the political power she always wanted - but over a nation in ruins. As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide: her brain. But not everyone is ready to accept the new equality that the Ruling Council has decreed between the Arnathim and Qilarites. So when a slave ship arrives in the city, full of Arnathim captured before Qilara fell—the civil unrest that has been bubbling since the rebellion erupts. Forced to confront her own prejudices, Soraya struggles to gain the trust of the Arnath people she once disregarded and establish peace in what has become chaos. With the threat of attacks high, Gelti, a former guard captain, trains Soraya in self-defense. As the two grow close, tension within the city ramps up, with danger, betrayal, and deception meeting Soraya everywhere she turns. Friends become foes, adversaries become companions, and the clashing of classes threatens to unravel all the good Soraya has been trying to do. Can Soraya, raised to be a proper Qilarite lady, learn to be a true leader? Or will the sins of her past forever haunt the footsteps of her future?

30 review for Dagger and Coin

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathy MacMillan

    For those who have asked what book 2 will be about: -Dagger and Coin picks up about 30 days after the events of Sword and Verse. However, I prefer to think of it as a companion novel rather than a sequel, because it focuses on a different protagonist and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first book. -The main character in Dagger and Coin is Soraya Gamo, the heiress who was engaged to Mati and was all set to become queen. We saw in Sword and Verse that Soraya was much more than just a pre For those who have asked what book 2 will be about: -Dagger and Coin picks up about 30 days after the events of Sword and Verse. However, I prefer to think of it as a companion novel rather than a sequel, because it focuses on a different protagonist and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first book. -The main character in Dagger and Coin is Soraya Gamo, the heiress who was engaged to Mati and was all set to become queen. We saw in Sword and Verse that Soraya was much more than just a pretty rich girl, and in this book she has thrown her lot in with her former enemies in order to pursue her ambitions. -Many of the major players from Sword and Verse appear in this book, especially Raisa, Mati, and Jonis. We also get to know some minor characters from the first book better: Deshti (Raisa’s adversary in the Arnath Resistance), Alshara (Soraya’s younger sister), and Gelti Dimmin (that handsome guard captain). -Decisions made in Sword and Verse come back to haunt our characters in Dagger and Coin, particularly a big one made by Mati. Sword and Verse was about upending an unjust system; Dagger and Coin is about the messy, seemingly impossible task of constructing a better one in its place. -This book is unabashedly, fiercely feminist. In 2016, I thought, “Oh, I wish this book were out now! It’s so relevant!” In 2017, I thought the same thing. Sadly, I don’t think this story is going to get any less relevant in coming years. -I like to think of this book as a tale of a well-educated female policy wonk battling her misogynist foes. In case you are wondering about my politics. 😉 -I’m just going to put this out there right now, because some people have mentioned it: Soraya and Jonis are NOT EVER going to be a couple. Just not going to happen. Soraya’s relationship with Jonis is arguably the most important one in the book, but don’t look for kissing there. Just don’t. -Look for kissing (and more) elsewhere, though. There is romance in this book, just not with Jonis. -Like Sword and Verse, Dagger and Coin can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. Of course, it also features lots of rewarding tidbits for readers of both books! And yes, if you read Dagger and Coin first, it will give you lots of spoilers for Sword and Verse, so be warned if that sort of thing bothers you. (Personally, I love spoilers, but I am weird that way.) -I’m seriously considering making myself a bingo card of all the things that Soraya will undoubtedly be called once the book is out in the world. I mean, she’s an ambitious woman, see, so of course that means she must be inviting the whole world to comment on what’s wrong with her. A few of my predictions: too proud, too strong, too passive, too emotional, too icy, too ambitious, too shrill, too slutty, too prudish, too petty, too demanding, too calculating… -The story of the gods comes into play in Dagger and Coin, but in a different way than it did in Sword and Verse, because Soraya’s relationship to the gods is completely different from Raisa’s. -I really, really love this book and I can’t wait to share it with you!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tati

    Soooo, what's this going to be about? (I didn't think there was room left for a sequel, to be honest)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I could not put this book down. I was reading late into the night, and leaving all the things I should have been doing for another time. Dagger and Coin takes place shortly after then end of Sword and Verse, but this story is from the point of view of Soraya, one of the antagonists from Book 1. Soraya was fascinating. She knew how to wield power, and she was smart and capable. Yet as a woman, she is constantly being underestimated and looked down on. This book is about bringing two groups who wer I could not put this book down. I was reading late into the night, and leaving all the things I should have been doing for another time. Dagger and Coin takes place shortly after then end of Sword and Verse, but this story is from the point of view of Soraya, one of the antagonists from Book 1. Soraya was fascinating. She knew how to wield power, and she was smart and capable. Yet as a woman, she is constantly being underestimated and looked down on. This book is about bringing two groups who were once enemies together. About finding peace after war, about rebuilding after the upheaval. It can be so hard to trust those who were once on the opposite side, but without that, you have no foundation to build on. I thought MacMillan did a brilliant job of portraying the aftermath. I couldn't look away, and I was astonished at how fearlessly she threw intrigue after intrigue, complication after complication at her characters. She could definitely teach a class about how to put your characters through the refining fire. I should have probably re-read the first book before diving in, but I just couldn't wait. And while you can read this second book as a stand-alone, there are references that will make a lot more sense if you read book 1 first. I highly recommend this one!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I remember, when I wrote my review for MacMillan’s first book in this epic fantasy setting, SWORD AND VERSE, talking about how people conflagrate romance and fantasy. Particularly in the young adult genre, where romance subplots are so popular. My point was that some reviewers got so caught up in critiquing the romance bit that they didn’t even seem to acknowledge the fantasy. This seems like a trend that is so ubiquitous that people rarely question it anymore. SWORD AND VERSE is rife with actua I remember, when I wrote my review for MacMillan’s first book in this epic fantasy setting, SWORD AND VERSE, talking about how people conflagrate romance and fantasy. Particularly in the young adult genre, where romance subplots are so popular. My point was that some reviewers got so caught up in critiquing the romance bit that they didn’t even seem to acknowledge the fantasy. This seems like a trend that is so ubiquitous that people rarely question it anymore. SWORD AND VERSE is rife with actual fantastical elements—a story of gods that unfolds right next to the human drama—but readers see the setting mainly as the venue for another badass heroine to swoon over a prince and/or show off her stones. This issue loomed in my mind while reading the SWORD AND VERSE “sequel” / companion novel, because fantastical elements were at a minimum here. There was no godly storyline unfolding right next to the human one (perhaps understandable, since there is only one god left.) The most supernatural we get, beyond reference to the faith of the populace or references to the mythology of their world, is a subtle hint that maybe Sotia is pulling some strings in the background. But this niggle only comes up once or twice in a 400-page novel that is otherwise a political intrigue set in a parallel, agrarian land. Topically speaking, I am much more on board for this premise. Book one covers a revolution and book two covers the aftermath. Soraya, a minor noble in the first who was destined to be queen, now takes center stage as a member of the newly forged Ruling Council of recently slavery-free Qilara. From the offset, MacMillan sets the scene of broiling tensions between the two major groups of the land, the ex-slaver Qilarites and the ex-slave Arnathim. An attempt is made on former MC Raisa’s life, and she and her husband and co-council Mati slip away in order to conduct business away from the madness of the capital city. In their wake, they leave the other two council members, Soraya and Jonis, in charge. Soraya is a scheming former noble and Jonis is the more brash former head of the Arnath resistance, so things would be simmering even without their past history of hostage/captor. From there the plot moves at a brisk clip. MacMillan introduces a central conflict of a returning, pre-revolution slave ship from the Arnathim homeland. Soraya and Jonis struggle to contain the former slaves and former masters as reactionary political groups use their arrival as a lightning rod for their own purposes. It’s a rather juicy web of competing ideologies in the wake of political upheaval. Perhaps its not quite as fleshed out as it might be in a longer, adult book, but MacMillan doesn’t slouch either. She makes sure to leave room to draw distinctions between different classes of Qilarites, and the formerly enslaved and never enslaved Arnathim (in fact, the new arrivals refer to themselves as the Melarim.) But yes, there is also some personal drama—from the fact that former enemies and current councilmembers don’t really trust each other despite their lofty ambitions, vs the prerequisite young adult hormones. I’m not a huge fan of romance subplots, though in general I think I’m more forgiving than many of the fact that characters have emotional and sexual urges. I think that Soraya’s situation worked better for me than Raisa’s did in the first book, because it was tied so deeply into the frothing socio-economic upheaval. Soraya just wanted something familiar to hold onto. That being said, she is a character who is defined by her personal sense of rebellion. Sure, in the previous world, she was more of a pawn for the whims of ambitious men. In this new world, she fiercely defends her independence. Not to say that she doesn’t play with others, but she definitely has a voice. I liked her more than I liked Raisa, which may speak to my own character. :P Raisa’s greatest flaw was that she loved too well, and Soraya’s greatest flaw was that past prejudices and a general sense of distrust hindered her alliances. More to the point, Soraya was a member of the formerly oppressive ethnic group, and MacMillan did a good job of painting her complexly. She can’t help but cling a little bit to her old associations, though she is also trying to expand her worldview. She’s practical, if not idealistic, and respects that this is the world she lives in now, the world that gives her a modicum of self-determination, and also the place, though she might not always see it as such, which expands her horizons as a human. It’s a nice representation of a flawed but ultimately sympathetic character (and MacMillan also leaves room to highlight the impact of Soraya’s own losses in the revolution, because real revolutions don’t water down to angels vs demons. Anywho.) I think MacMillan also did a good job in showcasing complexity in ultimately less sympathetic characters, too. She definitely took seriously the social and political ramifications that she set up in the last book. Plus wrote a compelling story, which frankly sucked me in a bit more than the last one. I’m a fan of flawed and multidimensional heroines, big ethical questions, and even the intrigue of the plot. One final, and perhaps relatively minor criticism, revolves around the issue of Soraya’s sister. She seemed a little one note in her brattiness, well, until the very end until Soraya saw a different side of her. Still, it kind of seemed like one of those convenient reveals of character complexity. I guess there’s really not enough time to flesh everyone and everything out. Anywho. Much like with the last book, this one ends with an open door but not exactly the promise of a sequel. We still have plenty of other characters who could chip in with something to say! I have no idea if MacMillan will ever return to this world, but I will certainly keep an eye out. Post-revolution is a rich playground…as is exploring possible supernatural influence. I’d be interested in both!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Catarina (TravelerBetweenWorlds)

    2018?? I was wondering if I would read this one or not but well I have plenty of time to think, though I would like to continue the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Coudeville

    2018?!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sue Poduska

    The second book in the “Sword and Verse” series is gripping, exciting, and a lesson in finding one’s voice and independence. Written in first person from Soraya’s viewpoint, it points out the problems with always doing what is expected of you rather than what you know to be right. This is a tale set in a medieval world of the author’s invention. The world is believable and self-contained.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    I didn't realise that there was going to be sequel to Sword and Verse. I have another book coming out this year to look forward to now!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Hi I love Soraya Gamo. This was a ride full of frustration and danger and a lot of thrills. This council has my heart and I am very glad to have had more time in this world especially through Soraya’s eyes. So much political intrigue and drama and fear honestly. So good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    a very god continuation and an interesting consept of seeing there world though another perspection and every twist and turn was amazing and kept me reading, not wanting to miss what happened next.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meg Eden

    What I loved about Sword & Verse was how MacMillan constantly subverted my expectations and painted a complicated portrait of what it means to fight for freedom, and how to change the world around you. No perfect idealizations, but the tough complicated questions that really make us think. Dagger & Coin fails to disappoint in this way as well--especially towards the end, we as readers have to constantly check our expectations and assumptions. I don't want to spoil anything, but some reall What I loved about Sword & Verse was how MacMillan constantly subverted my expectations and painted a complicated portrait of what it means to fight for freedom, and how to change the world around you. No perfect idealizations, but the tough complicated questions that really make us think. Dagger & Coin fails to disappoint in this way as well--especially towards the end, we as readers have to constantly check our expectations and assumptions. I don't want to spoil anything, but some really surprising turns happen towards the end that are SO EARNED, and made me literally gasp out loud! Dagger & Coin really interrogates how women are defined in their culture, and shows the portrait of a young woman subverting cultural expectations to pave her own path. It also interrogates the complicated, messy business of making a better society. The world and the struggles are so real and particularly relevant to contemporary concerns that I CAN'T OVEREMPHASIZE HOW MUCH I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK, particularly as a book club read or something to launch into discussions with other readers!! Soraya is a very different protagonist than Raisa. Both are feminists, but have different strengths and approaches to the world around them. It took me a while to get into Soraya's voice, but I realized that this was largely because of my own expectations and assumptions (again, I LOVE this about MacMillan's work--not only does it interrogate the world of the story, but made me interrogate myself--so much love!). I realized I was labelling Soraya based on bizarre cultural expectations I didn't even realize I had internalized. I initially found her "cold" and "unfeeling." Then I started thinking about all the other situations in which women are labelled "cold" and "unfeeling" just because they don't meet some cultural expectation of femininity, and I was like WOW. What am I doing???? I also found it funny that I jumped to these expectations because I RELATE TO SORAYA SO MUCH. I'm very business minded. Efficiency minded. I like doing my work and doing it well. I don't like anyone getting in the way of my plan or system. I'm not a "Gamo" but I'm an "Eden" and I have pride in what I perceive as my family's traits and values. I don't have accounting scrolls but I do have Excel :) And I LOVE that there's representation of this type of character as a female MC, especially in YA! And over time, I fell more and more in love with Soraya. She internally challenges how others call her "cold" (like I did at the beginning!), and has some really raw and real self-doubt. I didn't always agree with her choices, but I related to them 110% and felt just as shocked as she did to some twists toward the end. I really loved seeing her strength--which again, was different than Raisa's strength--but I love that together, these books paint two different portraits of what strength can look like. I'm going to be super honest though--it took me a while to get into this book. That's less because of Dagger & Coin itself and more because I'm not super into politically driven stories. That said, if you're like me and start reading and are like, "Eh I'm not sure I'm invested in the politics," KEEP READING. If you're not like me and are super into politics, then well, you'll just be hooked from the start! There are a lot of characters and a lot of threads to follow (which I'm not very good at), but don't miss the forest for the trees. Dagger & Coin is an important feminist story, and no matter where your interests lie as a reader, I'm confident you'll find a string that pulls you in and won't let you go until you're done. :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Yassin Abd

  13. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  14. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy Allgeyer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  18. 5 out of 5

    L.V. Pires

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Heilig

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary Fan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Mao

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marcela Reis

  23. 4 out of 5

    عبدالرحمن المالكي

  24. 5 out of 5

    layla mathias

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ayelet

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lowery

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juliett

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tarun Shanker

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  30. 4 out of 5

    Molly

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