[THROWBACK REVIEW] The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Hello lovelies! 🍂 Welcome to a small series of mine: throwback reviews. These are old reviews I had in my computer, some I posted in a very old blog I used to have. Since I closed that old blog, I wanted to still publish these reviews of books that I truly loved and enjoyed. Some of these books – if not all – were first read four years ago.

It is without any doubts; Amy Harmon is one of my favorite writers of all time. If you read Making Faces and The Law of Moses and probably all of her books (coming soon to this blog 😂 ), you will end up fangirling with me like crazy over her gorgeous writing and stories.

The Bird and the Sword is a fantasy that was haunting, breathtaking, so beautiful it left me speechless in many ways.
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?

The Characters: 

  • Lark is the main female character. Since she was young Lark could speak words and make others obey her. She would make puppets fly, dance and jump just by desiring so. Thin, fragile and with big eyes Lark was a small child, daughter of a Teller and when her mother dies she stops talking. In a world where everything had a voice except her, Lark becomes silent and observant.

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.

  • Lark never learned how to write, her words have too much power and afraid, her father kept her in the dark when it came to learn words and how to write. She lives with her father until Tiras, the King comes to her father and takes an interest in her. From there we see her opening her wings and flying.

He spent the day with me, and when he left, I wandered from one word to the next, touching them, saying them in my mind. As I did, I was unable to stop the moisture that rose in my eyes and slipped down my cheeks. It was the happiest day of my life.

  • When Lark is introduced to words she can’t help but wanting more, finally she has the freedom she needs, wants, desires.

I had been alone for so long with thousands of words I couldn’t express. Now this man, this infuriating, beautiful, man—son of a murderous king—could suddenly hear me as if I spoke.

  • And then Lark starts talking, where no one can hear her voice. Then Tiras listens and helps her, and slowly the romance builds up. She becomes strong, powerful in ways she never knew she could be. She starts using her words, making others obey and telling Tiras things she never knew could be possible.
  • Tiras is the King and a Changer. He used to love his father, idolize him until he saw his barbaric ways and then he promised he would not be like that. He’s fair, judges by the actions yet listens beyond that. He fights for his people, he tries his best and yet he’s slowly losing his battle to the skies. When he takes Lark to his castle he doesn’t think much at the beginning but then little by little, touched by her simple ways of seeing the world he starts loving her.

“I can’t help but be gentle with her, because she is gentle with me.” Tiras sounded embarrassed, and I felt the ice at my heart begin to thaw, even as Kjell scoffed loudly.

  • Tiras teachers Lark how to write, to make others obey, how to explore her gift. He listens to her and even if their relationship starts with him using her for her power, slowly it becomes something else.

“She isn’t even beautiful, Tiras! She isn’t tall and strong. Bearing your sons will likely kill her.”

“She is strong in a different way. And your definition of beauty isn’t mine,” Tiras argued.

  • His love for her is sweet, it burns and slowly he starts speaking with her and listening.
  • Other characters such as Kjell, Tiras’s protective brother and Boojohni, Lark’s friend and servant were wonderful side characters. Ms. Harmon has a very special gift when it comes to deliver second characters.

The world building and plot:

  • The world building is exciting, in this world magic is forbidden, it’s something consider wicked and ruins others. We have The Tellers (use words), The Healers (heal others), The Spinners (if I remember correctly, they know about the past/present/future but I could be wrong) and The Changers (they take animal forms) and every one was blessed to do much more, but jealously make others fear them and slowly they start dying or going into hiding.
  • Lark is a Teller; she can control with words. Tiras is a Changer, but unlike the other Changers who are born to be so, he was a normal human until one fated day he met someone who turned him into a Changer.
  • These characteristics are very important throughout the book, being gifted is not good and so people hide. Humans are now in a constant fight with Volgar who are rumored to be sons from the gifted ones.
  • But the plot hides so much action and suspense in a way you won’t even think it’s a suspense. The people you think are good turned to be not so and those who are bad are well… bad. But the plot is wonderful, is entraining and haunting, powerful and wonderful at the same time.
  • The romance plays a part here but there’s a lot of character development where we see Lark self-discovering her power and using them, about patience and magic.
  • The climax was so amazing, so well done I was just wishing for Lark to free Tiras, and the magic didn’t disappoint.

Lark. I felt my name drift across the way and land on my chest, a feather from his breast, warm and soft. Mine, he said. Another feather. Always, I answered. Always.

  • And at the end, Lark believes, she believes in herself and in Tiras and together they form such a bond that makes me yearn and jealous at the same time. They are perfect for each other, so perfect you won’t be able to keep reading until the very end.

In general, the plot and the romance go hand in hand. The world building is so detailed, so complex and well-made makes me want to live there even with the Volgars. I applaud this story, the amazing romance, the slow building, the development, the characters and overall magical feel of the book is beautiful.

“In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left.”

3 thoughts on “[THROWBACK REVIEW] The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

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