The Harp of Kings (The Warrior Bards, #1) by Juliet Marillier – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Ace Books

Publication Date: September 03, 2019

Genre: High Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

A young woman is both a bard–and a warrior–in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.

Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice. . . “

*Thank you so much to Ace for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

This was my first Juliette Marillier book and I quite enjoyed it! It was a very traditional fantasy. Meaning it was more focused on the characters, I think, than the plot. Which I am completely fine with! It had elves, magic, druids, bards, and warriors! It reminded me a tad bit of an RPG!

Characters. Almost all of the character names were pronounced differently than how they were spelled. I was very thankful for the pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book! Liobhan (sounds like Leevahn), is totally BA. I really liked her personality. She was very headstrong and always did what she thought was right, and not necessarily what she wanted. She also had a feminine side to her that I appreciated. Why can’t women be BA AND very feminine?! She played her spy role fairly well I think! Dau. Oh sweet Dau. I think he is a cinnamon roll (and I NEVER use that term!) He has a very hard exterior but once you get to know him, your heart breaks for him. Brocc is a total sweetie. He has a bit of a secret past as well that he tries to run away from but it ends up finding him. He has musical magic abilities which I found really cool!

Plot. All three main character POV go on a quest to find a missing harp. Obviously A LOT of things happen during their quest. And there is a bigger plot happening that we have yet to really find out about! Plus a few mini plots that are happening. There is a lot to read about! We just get a teaser of what looks to be some pretty cool dark magic at hand. I hope we find out more in book 2!

Writing. I am officially a big fan of Marillier’s now! She really has a way of drawing you into the story so much so that it was hard sometimes to come back into the real world.

Final Thoughts. Really enjoyed it! Can’t wait to read another one of her books and the second book to this series! Harp of Kings reads like a nostalgic bedtime story. That ending was a tear-jerker! And I have questions! And I want to see if my ship sails…

Have you read a Juliet Marillier book? If so, what is your favorite?

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