My Rating ~ Four and a half stars
RELEASE DATE: 27 August 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Australia
Today is my tour stop for The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier! Thank you to Macmillan Australia for having me on tour!
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 Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of The Harp of Kings, in exchange for an honest review.
The Harp of Kings is a beautifully written, immersive adventure story. Cleverly entwining a band of warriors (masquerading as minstrels), with a quest and the Otherworld. I was a little afraid when I saw a gigantic list of characters at the start of the book – I’m terrible at keeping huge casts of characters straight and remembering their names, but every character was so well developed that I had no problem following each of them on their journeys. Although primarily a quest story, with the warriors attempting to secretly retrieve an important lost harp (while desperately trying to ace the mission to keep their place at their warrior training camp), the narrative felt like it was wonderfully character based. I feel like I know these characters and I want to read more from them. I need to know how their lives go on from here.
The story is divided into chapters from the points of view of Liobhan, her brother Brocc and rival Dau, each with their own important part to play in the mission. There were so many elements to this story – an upcoming king to be crowned, warriors in training, uncanny and otherworld creatures, understated magic, music, spying and intrigue, family discontent…but it all just flowed together so seamlessly.
I must admit, I did have to skip a page or two in the story due to a pretty horrifying animal cruelty aspect, but there were plenty of hints it was coming – I just knew with Juliet Mariller’s beautiful, descriptive writing, I would never get the scene out of my head if I let my eyes commit to it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one and recommend it for anyone who loves folklore and quest stories! This is the first book I’ve read by Juliet Marillier, but it won’t be my last!
Photo from my Instagram account