ARC Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy McMillian

Title: Sword and Verse 
Author: Kathy McMillian 
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 19th 2016
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Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death. Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.


I have a love/hate relationship with this book. There is so much about it that I absolutely adored, and then things that I disliked enough that I contemplated on DNFing Sword and Verse

What I did Like:

  • The world building. Sword and Verse is set in a word that relies heavily on its religion and Gods. The whole written language barrier aspect of the story wraps together the society well and sets the stage for so much to happen. 
  • As frustrating as their relationship was I do ship Mati and Raisa pretty hard. There is a chunk of the book where they weren't together literally sucked the life out of me. Raisa put Mati through hell at times, but the fact he could over look that and still love her really made the romance stand out.
  • The ending. I will just leave it at that. 

What I didn't Like:

  • The pacing. Sword and Verse takes place over a three year span of time, I wish McMillian spread the story out a bit more. It was slow for three quarters of the book and then BAM! everything happened in the last 25%. 
  • I wasn't a fan of Raisa. She did stupid thing after stupid thing and when she wasn't doing that she was moping over Mati. I feel this goes back to the pacing, I wish there was more time for Raisa to be developed more then what she was. 
  • The resistance wasn't explained enough. I wasn't really sure what they were fighting for besides their freedom. They were just there, and at times Raisa worked with them. 

Do you see what I mean? That whole review is one big mess. Overall, I just say to give this one a shot. I've seen a ton of people love it! I'm just the black sheep this time around. 


(3.5 Stars!) 


  1. I've been on the fence with this one Amber because I've seen good things but thank you for highlighting things you didn't like! I may wait a bit to read this one because I feel like I'll have a lot of the same problems as you. Thanks for writing this review!

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders

    1. I think this one will be a hit and miss with people. But I kinda like it the more I think about it. You're welcome! I hope you are one to enjoy it when you pick it up :)

  2. Hmmm...I don't read a whole lot of fantasy (honestly not sure why), so I'm not sure if I'll pick this one up. There are probably other fantasy books I should get to first. But thanks for the review! You did a great job highlighting both the positive and the negative.

    1. Thank you! This book was a bit rocky, but I think I actually liked it more then disliked

  3. It's so difficult to find YA fantasy with stellar world-building, so your compliment about how great the world-building is here makes me really excited. It's a shame the pacing was a bit slow, but hopefully if I go into it knowing it's going to be slow it won't bother me as much. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. The world building was fantastic, that was my favorite quality of this book! Thank you so much Zoe! <3

  4. D'aww sorry you didn't love this one as much! I really liked it, maybe because I admittedly prefer slower paced books.

    I loved the ending so much! I'm happy that Kathy said there is a spin off in the works!

    1. I did like the ending, and i wasn't aware there would be another book so that is good to keep in mind!

  5. Argh! I hate bad pacing. Like, it's one of the things I hate the absolute most. I find it hard to push through slow novels. :P


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