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Swordheart

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Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate... and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws... and the Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate... and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws... and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all.


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Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate... and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws... and the Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate... and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws... and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all.

30 review for Swordheart

  1. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    An absolute joy. Set in the Clockwork Boys world but with ostensibly far lower stakes--we're not saving the world from demons, here, just saving a widow from being forced to marry a cousin. Except that what we're actually saving is a woman's self-respect and a man's humanity, which actually is stakes high enough for any book. Very much more towards the romance side than other books, and does it beautifully. And the world! Kingfisher is endlessly inventive in her threats and monsters, and also on An absolute joy. Set in the Clockwork Boys world but with ostensibly far lower stakes--we're not saving the world from demons, here, just saving a widow from being forced to marry a cousin. Except that what we're actually saving is a woman's self-respect and a man's humanity, which actually is stakes high enough for any book. Very much more towards the romance side than other books, and does it beautifully. And the world! Kingfisher is endlessly inventive in her threats and monsters, and also one of the few fantasy writers who can conceive of oppressive organised religions that aren't Catholicism in a funny hat. It's all joyously varied. And talking of variety: curvy mid-30s heroine, important nonbinary character whose identity and pronouns are never an issue, queerness existing and unquestionably accepted. Glorious funny dialogue, intense but clearsighted compassion and humanity, a fair bit of highly enjoyable murder. And sequels! I would swap a limb for Angharad and the Dervish's stories. *clasps hands, looks pleading*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Gates

    I was halfway through this, laughing so hard I couldn't sit up straight, and one of the kids asked me what the book was about. "It's a romance novel, with some overtones of horror." It took a minute to get the sentence out through all the giggling. Because, well, it *is*. It's all about Halla and Sarkis, falling in love and coming together. And how Sarkis is trapped in a magic sword forever and gets horribly killed now and then, and they explore how that works. (It's not good! Don't get yourself I was halfway through this, laughing so hard I couldn't sit up straight, and one of the kids asked me what the book was about. "It's a romance novel, with some overtones of horror." It took a minute to get the sentence out through all the giggling. Because, well, it *is*. It's all about Halla and Sarkis, falling in love and coming together. And how Sarkis is trapped in a magic sword forever and gets horribly killed now and then, and they explore how that works. (It's not good! Don't get yourself stuck in a magic sword! You won't like it.) And there are those... clear things. And I don't remember a time I've been more terrified reading a book than I was during chapter 58. I can see why Vernon mostly writes childrens' books, adults can't handle this stuff. But also, watching Halla confuse people by acting stupid at them is hilarious. She's a respectable widow! She doesn't know, is there some reason for this? And then there's never a good answer, and either people wander off hoping she doesn't ask them any more things, or something else happens. There are supposed to be two more of these. I hope they show up soon.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wench

    AHHHHHHHHH OH MY GOD GO READ THIS BOOK It's FUNNY and LOVELY and SUSPENSEFUL and has SPOOKY WEIRD SHIT and I LOVE IT AND THERE'S GONNA BE MORE

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jerome Comeau

    I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong. I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I st I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong. I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I stumbled upon Melissa Scott's Trouble and Her Friends and I suddenly knew, with a certainty that has still not yet left me, that I wanted to be a part of the future (and the culture) of technology. And yet that's not fair, because T. Kingfisher, nee Ursula Vernon, is her own writer, her own voice, her own authorial person, and doesn't deserve to be compared to others. To say that Kingfisher's prose style and choice of genre (which is to say, a particularly dark and comedic bent take on various well-worn fantasy tropes and story types) fills the void that was left when Terry Pratchett died is unfair both to Pratchett (and his daughter, a brilliant author and collaborator in her own right) and to Kingfisher, whose approaches and technical craft are worlds apart from Pratchett. And yet, there is a particular thread, a particular viewpoint, a particular (and very-difficult-to-do-correctly) approach to finding the humanity and the heart and the humor even in some pretty terrible and trying and difficult moments in a story, which have not, and arguably cannot, been privy to any but those very few names in the rolls of authors of genre fiction. Pratchett, Gaiman, Adams. You can tell an Adams story by the absurdism. You can tell a Gaiman story by the gentle darkness. You can tell a Pratchett story by the puns. And you can tell a Kingfisher story by the utterly plausible, utterly mundane, utterly hilarious humanity present in the narrative. I'm glad I was able to read this new novel by T. Kingfisher. It's hilarious. It's moving. It's utterly charming. It's about a magic sword and a widow and a lawyer and arguably, it's a Road Movie of a novel (though it's mostly this one little chunk of road that they go back and forth on...several times). You will not be disappointed if you buy it and read it. But I will admit that I'm a little sad that I finished it, because it means I have to wait for the next one. And I will wait. Ever so patiently. Waiting. With patience. For the next one. Whenever it's ready. You should buy it, and then we can talk about it, and maybe help each other to tide ourselves over.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    This is a kissing book. (I use "kissing book" in the Princess Bride sense, as a book where there are adventures, romance and, yes, kissing.) There's nothing at all wrong with that, especially if you LIKE kissing books. I'm not a big kissing book fan for the most part, for Reasons Specific To Me. There's nothing wrong with romance books. They just generally don't do it FOR ME. Halla, the protagonist, is a good character. She's a Respectable Widow who's been taking care of an uncle-by-marriage throu This is a kissing book. (I use "kissing book" in the Princess Bride sense, as a book where there are adventures, romance and, yes, kissing.) There's nothing at all wrong with that, especially if you LIKE kissing books. I'm not a big kissing book fan for the most part, for Reasons Specific To Me. There's nothing wrong with romance books. They just generally don't do it FOR ME. Halla, the protagonist, is a good character. She's a Respectable Widow who's been taking care of an uncle-by-marriage through his last illness. When he passes, she finds he's made her the beneficiary in his will. The rest of the uncle's family is ENRAGED by this, and determined by whatever means necessary to get the property back in THEIR family. Even if it means marrying Halla to clammy-handed cousin Alver. In the course of deciding that she'd literally rather be dead than forcibly married to the odious Alver, Halla finds herself suddenly in possession of an immortal warrior who is bound to an old sword the her uncle owned. With Sarkis the warrior's help, she escapes her imprisonment and heads off to the city to find a lawyer to get her property straightened out. As you do. Thereafter follows lots of traveling, some adventures, and Halla and Sarkis falling in love. But Sarkis has a secret that might spoil everything. This book reminded me of some of Lois McMaster Bujold's books. That's a GOOD thing. OTOH, there's a shift towards the end that seemed a little jarring and didn't QUITE convince me. There was a lot of dithering between the two romantic interests that I found a bit annoying. Maybe I've just been in one relationship too long to remember how it was before. Anyway, 3.5 stars, if .5 stars were a thing here. A worthy effort, and always a pleasure to read T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon. I'm an unrepentant fangirl of hers. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Robinson

    I'm incredibly happy that T. Kingfisher / Ursula Vernon is such a fast, prolific writer these days, because I have an endless appetite for her voice, whether she's writing moderately goofy, surreal stories about goblin loyalties or (lately) more straight-faced fantasy romances full of emotionally fraught love and longing. It's so easy to get drawn into the worlds she creates — in this case, the fantasy world of her duology Clockwork Boys. In this book, a woman with a serious inheritance problem I'm incredibly happy that T. Kingfisher / Ursula Vernon is such a fast, prolific writer these days, because I have an endless appetite for her voice, whether she's writing moderately goofy, surreal stories about goblin loyalties or (lately) more straight-faced fantasy romances full of emotionally fraught love and longing. It's so easy to get drawn into the worlds she creates — in this case, the fantasy world of her duology Clockwork Boys. In this book, a woman with a serious inheritance problem encounters a man who has been bound into a sword, and they hit the road together, sometimes with a rat-god priest and an ox-driving gnole. Religion, philosophy, thievery, semi-accidental murder, and a whole lot of confused lust figure prominently into this story, which veers from straight-up romance to outright blood-curdling horror with a casualness that I might not take from other authors. But Vernon makes it feel so natural that the world contains terrifying abominations around one bend, and wry jokes about lawyers around the next, and that good-willed, busy people navigating the world would naturally have to deal with both. There are at this point literally no other authors whose books I pre-order the second I see they're available, but I pre-ordered this, and was impatient like a kid waiting for Christmas until it came out. I'm delighted to see it's the first of a trilogy, because even though it tells a nearly complete story, it sets up the other two volumes here in a really intriguing way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vae

    Absolutely LOVED this. Halla is a wonderful heroine, relentlessly practical and human, and in her thirties (how lovely to see a heroine in fantasy who isn't in the first flush of youth), the story is ostensibly small scale but essentially about loyalty, honesty, trust and essential morality. Sarkis is a delight, a man from centuries ago who open shares knowledge of his home land and time but seems open to adapting to where he finds himself, and the exploration of the practicalities of how a man Absolutely LOVED this. Halla is a wonderful heroine, relentlessly practical and human, and in her thirties (how lovely to see a heroine in fantasy who isn't in the first flush of youth), the story is ostensibly small scale but essentially about loyalty, honesty, trust and essential morality. Sarkis is a delight, a man from centuries ago who open shares knowledge of his home land and time but seems open to adapting to where he finds himself, and the exploration of the practicalities of how a man enchanted into a sword would actually *work* made me giggle on the train. Full of queer people as an unremarkable part of the world and featuring a major character who is non-binary and this is never remarked upon, just accepted as a fact. A++ recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    As always, the snarky tone of her work speaks to my soul, every tarnished inch of it. Very sweet, though I suppose there are some parts that most others would classify as horror, but quite frankly you have to be truly excessive to nudge my horror meter and this only gave a few twinges. But the story is excellent, the characters fantastic, and also I need gnole buddies.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mikhail

    I may have annoyed people on the subway by laughing too much. They kept giving me dirty looks and I'd try to stifle it, then two pages later I'd be chortling and this elder Chinese man next to me was clearly thinking that the foreigner was utterly daft.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pete W

    This is possibly one of the most hilarious books by T. Kingfisher. Ms. Vernon had always been funny. It was one of the reason that I draw me to her works (check out her DeviantArt page, you won’t be sorry). But Halla really take it to another level. I followed the saga of Ms. Vernon writing this book from her Twitter. That included some snippet of how her editor yelled at her. For the amount of corpses that appear in this, supposedly, romance story. And another one Twitter post about how he was l This is possibly one of the most hilarious books by T. Kingfisher. Ms. Vernon had always been funny. It was one of the reason that I draw me to her works (check out her DeviantArt page, you won’t be sorry). But Halla really take it to another level. I followed the saga of Ms. Vernon writing this book from her Twitter. That included some snippet of how her editor yelled at her. For the amount of corpses that appear in this, supposedly, romance story. And another one Twitter post about how he was laughing loudly when reading the book, only to remember that Ms. Vernon never write funny for long and then got the OMG! Moment. The book start in the middle of crisis Halla found herself in. In the introduction, we see a glimpse of her core personality, her curiosity and inquisitive nature. She was another practical protagonist, as per usual for Ms. Vernon story. In this novel format, we get to read inside her head as well. For me, this made her more relatable than some of Ms. Vernon’s other work. Hilarity soon ensued when Sarkis first met Halla who was dress indelicately because of another practical reason. After all the initial explanations were done, they were off to their first adventure. Halla was a protagonist like I, and I am sure many others, never seen before. She was middle-aged widow, curvy and full figured, whose most dangerous weapon were her wits and the way she talked. You soon learned that she could talk her way out of almost any dangerous situations. (view spoiler)[The scene of her *convincing* a bad guy to do what she want in the third arc were both chilling and funny. I wonder if that was influenced by King’s Misery… (hide spoiler)] Sarkis was a gruff, rough and somewhat grumpy warrior. He definitely never met anyone like Halla before. Trying to protect his new wielder, might be his most challenging tasks yet. And not just trying to protect Halla from various entities. This book was set in Clocktaur War world. Admittedly, I forgot quite a few details. Not that you need to read the duology to understand this book. But, seriously, go read them as well if you have not already. They were fantastic reads. There were many gods from the previous books and quite a few more introduced in this book. Zale, the lead secondary character, (view spoiler)[belongs to The White Rats, a religious order that provide lawyer service to the masses, among other services. (hide spoiler)] They were a delight addition to the group. Not as inexperience as Learned Edmund was. However, they were delightfully written. Zale was competent in their job, like someone who never did field work. Which was logical as this seems to be their first travel in quite a while. They were not quite equipped, mentally at least, to deal with all the extra perilous situations that came with accompanying Halla. But, along the way, they seem to build up a mental fortitude to be as practical as Halla. And that was beautiful to witness. Brindle was a constant shadow in the background. The type that offer comments that make you rip roaring laugh out of the blue and nod grimly when he offer some sage advice. There were a lot more to be discovered in this book: The Vagrant Hills, the inquisitors, the various gods and their followers. The various romance bits and other parts of this book reminded me of Ms. Vernon various personal anecdote from her Twitter and her podcast. Halla happened to share various personality traits and characteristics as Ms. Vernon. This also brought me back to the time, when Ms. Vernon talked about her difficulties with writing a romance novel. That her readers might think that those scenes were she like those things. Now it seems that at least some of them (not the actual romance scene mind you), the interactions and banters, were probably from her experiences. As Ms. Vernon stated, this is a romance story. Even though (view spoiler)[ the body counts ended up in two digits by the end of the book. (hide spoiler)] , Ms. Vernon insist that this is a romance novel. The romance bits felt right. For these two characters who, despite their ages, were rather inexperienced with the actual *romance*. There were so many many funny moments in this book. The dialouges were excellent, as always. Halla gave Ms. Vernon a lot more chances to write long windy and highly amusing monolouges. Which, more often than not, leave the other parties confound and their jaw hanging open. These elements alone worth the price of admissions. (view spoiler)[This is also a trilogy, with two more swords and their wielders to comes.(view spoiler)[ I was glad because certain plot points were not resolved yet. Although, I am not sure if they meant to be resolved in the conventional happy ending kind of way. But I am definitely looking forward to see if things will go that route or not. (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  11. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a wonderfully fun, tense book set in the same universe as 'The Clockwork Boys/The Wonder Engine' (no, there's no appearance by Caliban or Slate but there are some delightful paladins. I'm getting very fond of paladins). Halla is a fantastic untypical-and-the-more-realistic-for-it heroine and as always with Ursula Vernon (the person behind T. Kingfisher), the humour is hilariously sharp but never unkind; she writes the sort of protagonists who even when they're tired and irritable and a b This is a wonderfully fun, tense book set in the same universe as 'The Clockwork Boys/The Wonder Engine' (no, there's no appearance by Caliban or Slate but there are some delightful paladins. I'm getting very fond of paladins). Halla is a fantastic untypical-and-the-more-realistic-for-it heroine and as always with Ursula Vernon (the person behind T. Kingfisher), the humour is hilariously sharp but never unkind; she writes the sort of protagonists who even when they're tired and irritable and a bit broken by the world, you always would want on your side. Reading one of her books is like having someone smart and brusquely kind bringing you a cup of tea and saying 'look, we all know the world is a bit crap and sometimes quite a lot more than a bit, but someone still needs to make the tea and darn the socks or we'll be sitting here in a still-crap world with no tea and cold feet, so let's see how we can make everything a bit less crap, okay?' That might not sound like a ringing endorsement but it is - there's no sugarcoating with the T.Kingfisher books (characters argue and get hurt and do some occasional murder) but there's a layer of comforting realism balanced by the want to always believe that there's good in the world. Terrible relatives exist but so do paladins, and okay the man you fall in love with might be a ghost trapped in a magic sword, but he loves you and after all, every relationship has problems. There's also a non-binary main character who is introduced in the same sensible, matter-of-fact way as any other character (I especially liked the in-universe feature of a stripe on their robes indicating the right pronouns and the way it was included so casually as with any other detail, without needing flashing lights or airhorns to signal Diversity and Inclusion R Us Did You Notice Here Notice It Some More) and the way Zale is a sarcastic, likeable person completely in their own right throughout, without ever being relegated or treated as simply 'the non-binary character'. I loved every line of this book and I'm so excited it's going to be a trilogy (this one is pretty much a standalone story, with the next two books focusing on two other characters that are mentioned enough for me to love already but who don't appear in person in Swordheart). T. Kingfisher books are turning into the kind of book that I preorder regardless of the plot because I like the author's work so much, and Swordheart lived up to the impulse purchase of buying it in hardback. I'll be preordering the next two asap.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Chase

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have been trying to decide what I really liked about this book (which is obviously funny, sexy, snarky, has a diverse cast etc). I have concluded, it's the murder. Spoiler warning. There used to be a trope in fiction that the protagonists, as part of being the Good ones, didn't kill others except when literally defending themselves. The plot would go on all sorts of contortions to avoid this. Even when the antagonists were truly evil. It just wasn't done. I think there's a wide acceptance that th I have been trying to decide what I really liked about this book (which is obviously funny, sexy, snarky, has a diverse cast etc). I have concluded, it's the murder. Spoiler warning. There used to be a trope in fiction that the protagonists, as part of being the Good ones, didn't kill others except when literally defending themselves. The plot would go on all sorts of contortions to avoid this. Even when the antagonists were truly evil. It just wasn't done. I think there's a wide acceptance that this wasn't actually very realistic. In this case, our heroic band kill a couple of people who were just harassing them. Sure it is kind of an accident, but they do not waste time agonising about it. Later, another situation presents itself where two decidedly nonviolent protagonists have to do a rescue (from someone who, again, is not really a great evil). Halla and Zale discussing who should commit the murder is a great scene, and especially works because of the legacy of heroic characters who just rush in hopefully and survive by luck.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tephra

    Unlike most of Ursula's main characters, I did not immediately like Halla. Fortunately, after a few chapters, it became apparent that the traits I disliked were actually situational, and even tactical, in nature and she became another of Ursula's quirky, loveable heroines. I did have to tap out of reading for a few days, when the low point of the novel and the low point of my moods managed to sync and I had some worries about a potential scene. (view spoiler)[The set up could have lead to, at lea Unlike most of Ursula's main characters, I did not immediately like Halla. Fortunately, after a few chapters, it became apparent that the traits I disliked were actually situational, and even tactical, in nature and she became another of Ursula's quirky, loveable heroines. I did have to tap out of reading for a few days, when the low point of the novel and the low point of my moods managed to sync and I had some worries about a potential scene. (view spoiler)[The set up could have lead to, at least, an attempted sexual assault. Something I was reasonable certain Ursula would not do, but I couldn't quite make myself read more in my mental state at the time. (hide spoiler)] Once my mood improved and I continued, the questionable scenario was resolved quickly and I read straight through to the end. I had two very late nights reading this book, as in "oh, it's dawn already?" late nights. There is a bit of set up for another book in the epilogue of this one but no real dangling threads.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bentgaidin

    This is a fun romance between a sensible widow and her enchanted sword. After an unexpected inheritance, she has to escape from her greedy relatives with the help of the warrior spirit she found inside a magic sword, embark on a quest for legal aid, and avoid creepy forests and menacing priests, all while falling in love. It's a good adventure - with bandits, creepy monsters, and rescues and escapes - but also a very touching love story between two people who have been hurt before and are uncert This is a fun romance between a sensible widow and her enchanted sword. After an unexpected inheritance, she has to escape from her greedy relatives with the help of the warrior spirit she found inside a magic sword, embark on a quest for legal aid, and avoid creepy forests and menacing priests, all while falling in love. It's a good adventure - with bandits, creepy monsters, and rescues and escapes - but also a very touching love story between two people who have been hurt before and are uncertain why anyone would want them. (Pretty sexy, too, without being graphic about it.) It's an engaging story, the characters are great, funny and sensible, and you can really see how well they complement each other. I'd recommend this to anyone, especially if you want a fantasy that isn't about saving the world. The promise of two more books for two more swords is a great thing to look forward to, too.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diana Green

    While I wasn't quite as worshipful in my response to this novel as many other reviewers, I did enjoy it. T. Kingfisher has a great imagination and is highly skilled at humorous yet grounded characters. My favorite elements were the unique world building and two delightful side characters, Zale and Brindle. Both were a joy to read, and Zale's non-binary gender was handled well, with no fuss at all. On the downside, I felt aspects of the romantic plot line were forced, especially the big crisis wh While I wasn't quite as worshipful in my response to this novel as many other reviewers, I did enjoy it. T. Kingfisher has a great imagination and is highly skilled at humorous yet grounded characters. My favorite elements were the unique world building and two delightful side characters, Zale and Brindle. Both were a joy to read, and Zale's non-binary gender was handled well, with no fuss at all. On the downside, I felt aspects of the romantic plot line were forced, especially the big crisis when Hala learns more of Sarkis' backstory. I also tired of the repetition used to showcase Hala's and Sarkis' idiosyncrasies. There were simply too many instances of Sarkis complaining about the "decadent south" or wanting to "torch the whole region". It grew wearisome. Despite these complaints, the overall story was entertaining, and I'm sure I'll be interested in the sequel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy K.

    Once again, Kingfisher has made me laugh out loud--regularly--while also tugging on my aching heartstrings, intriguing me, infuriating me on behalf of our heroine, and generally dragging me up and down the gamut of emotions in a delicately played yet somehow raucous symphony of human failings and our occasional triumphs. I adore Halla. She is utterly real and painfully familiar and beautiful and flawed and perfect. Sarkis is pretty damned awesome too. And Zale! I LOVED Zale! Bonus love for gnoles Once again, Kingfisher has made me laugh out loud--regularly--while also tugging on my aching heartstrings, intriguing me, infuriating me on behalf of our heroine, and generally dragging me up and down the gamut of emotions in a delicately played yet somehow raucous symphony of human failings and our occasional triumphs. I adore Halla. She is utterly real and painfully familiar and beautiful and flawed and perfect. Sarkis is pretty damned awesome too. And Zale! I LOVED Zale! Bonus love for gnoles, an ox, creepy gelatinous flying murder-rays, the appearance of the Runes, and more villainous (or merely, variously, nefarious, incompetent, creepy, dysfunctional, and/or rude) types than one can shake a sword at. This is a tour de force! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! (And *hopes* encore?!?)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2018/1... The latest from Kingfisher (pen name of Ursula Vernon) is set in the same universe as her Clockwork Boys series, but works fine as a standalone. It has all the things I always love in her works--adventures, adorable and awkward romance, and most of all, hilarity. This one centers on a 36 year old widow who has inherited some money, and now her relatives are scheming against her. When she draws a sword for reasons, a magical soldier guy appears, now her swo https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2018/1... The latest from Kingfisher (pen name of Ursula Vernon) is set in the same universe as her Clockwork Boys series, but works fine as a standalone. It has all the things I always love in her works--adventures, adorable and awkward romance, and most of all, hilarity. This one centers on a 36 year old widow who has inherited some money, and now her relatives are scheming against her. When she draws a sword for reasons, a magical soldier guy appears, now her sworn protector! Obviously murder, mayhem, and religious sects ensue. And it's awesome! This is the first in a trilogy and I CANNOT WAIT to read the other two, please release them IMMEDIATELY, thanks. A.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    This is Book 3 in the Clockwork Boys world, but it can be read as a stand alone - we don't see any of the characters from Books 1 and 2, just a further expansion of the map she laid out, with plenty explained along the way. Halla and Sarkis were a great pair to root for as the two are forced to work together to overcome everything from nasty in-laws to blood sucking vampire creatures (trust me, the in-laws were more dangerous) and navigate a world that is new to both of them for vastly different This is Book 3 in the Clockwork Boys world, but it can be read as a stand alone - we don't see any of the characters from Books 1 and 2, just a further expansion of the map she laid out, with plenty explained along the way. Halla and Sarkis were a great pair to root for as the two are forced to work together to overcome everything from nasty in-laws to blood sucking vampire creatures (trust me, the in-laws were more dangerous) and navigate a world that is new to both of them for vastly different reasons. Read by itself or as part of the series - either way, you will love it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    You can tell I've been in a total reading slump because it took me three days to finish this book, starting the day it came out. I'm pretty sure I could get away with calling that savoring the story, but seriously. Anyway, Ursula is in top form and I see both the side that delights in this as a romance novel and the side that says "Only Ursula and her fans would think of this as romance!" Yep.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Another wonderful book, set in the clockwork boys universe. The whole thing was marvellous, funny and intriguing, but my personal favourite feature was how the female character went against the trope of 'damsel in distress weeping to get out of trouble' by showing the intelligence and forethought of such a tactic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Made me cackle helplessly and squeal with delight. I couldn’t put it down. Clever and sweet and tragic, with delightfully vivid characters and the kind of believable romance where the characters have entirely valid concerns but really, really love each other. Enough references to the Clockwork Boys books to feel like a visit to old friends, but not enough to feel like a sequel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Set in the world of the previous (and excellent!) Clockwork Boys but no strong connection between the two. If you enjoyed yelling "get on with it" at a certain pair of characters from Clockwork Boys, then you get to do it all again except with a new pair of emotional maladepts. (Honestly, it's more fun than that makes it sound) Some great new characters, fun little story, all held together by the quintessential charm and humanity of the author.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    Delightful and amusing fantasy romance featuring a refreshingly practical, chubby and plain heroine, a hunky immortal warrior trapped in a magical sword, and their non-binary priest/lawyer sidekick. By turns funny, sexy, silly and creepy this was perfect light reading for a long train journey and I look forward to the sequels.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen Parker

    Excellent as always. I should have known better than to start reading it on a weeknight but I couldn’t wait. Good story. Good characters. Complete story but room for a sequel. I have enjoyed every one of the books and stories of hers I have had the pleasure to read

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Delightful I read this immediately on the heels of The Clocktuar Wars and am immensely pleased with that decision. I love this world and all its inhabitants and I cannot wait for more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Always a great storyteller and I stay up way to late reading her stories. Often giggling. She always has a new angle on the classic tropes - this one being a magical sword and respectable widow on an adventure. Slowly because of Prettyfoot the ox.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Forestofglory

    Content note: Suicide (in the very 1st scene). This book never quite clicked with me I liked the world and the characters but I struggled with the pacing and with how often violence was the 1st resort to solving problems.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Graemeoswald

    Funny, thrilling and wonderful Halla is a great protagonist. She is funny, surprisingly wise and thoroughly believable. And her story rolls on much faster than an ox. A terrific read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    rp

    good dirty fun kind of felt like i was reading a remake of clocktaur wars, but still fun and still ursulav. looking forward to the next one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Kennedy

    Romance! Magic! Swords! Sarcasm! Hugely fun - a twisty mix of family intrigue, magic swords, romance, battling theologians & legal wrangles. And oxen. The ox is a star.

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