Wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve read these two! Both were books that many readers loved or were recommending here and there after their release. They are both considered high fantasy as they take place in completely fictional worlds in addition to having some sort of magic system or some sort of magic-like elements a part of the world.
Titles link to Goodreads
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
Right off the bat, this book felt unique. It was rich in details and world building, which was definitely the best thing about this book, in my opinion. In addition to the world building, I remember really enjoying Gratton’s writing, probably because she did so well with giving details in a beautiful almost lyrical way. However, I don’t remember really connecting to any of the characters – or at least the ones we got POVs for. I enjoyed the overall story which includes the stories for the POV characters, like Elia. I’ve never been a huge fan of stories that have complex politics as a big part of the story – I just find it harder to follow the story and characters, so that aspect alone didn’t set me up well to really enjoy this book. Because of that, the story is a very slow one .. kind of how things get done in the political world (at least in the US). I will say that a huge positive for this book is the diversity – from skin color to sexual orientation, which was awesome. And it was written in a way that felt totally organic and not like they were thrown in randomly to try and make the book more diverse. Overall, I just didn’t love this book but I definitely didn’t hate it either.
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
It’s a little unfortunate that I read this book first, even if a few months before Queens, because Harmon’s writing is absolutely beautiful and lyrical and just *chef’s kiss*. Harmon not only knows how to write and bring images to stunning life, I thought her quite the storyteller. This book was one that I saw a lot of love for and I finally found a cheap copy to buy and dove in. On top of the writing, the world building was beautiful and fully fleshed out – honestly one of my favorite things about this book along with the writing. I thought the plot made sense as a whole, though I found the characters a little lacking. Or maybe just not the most enjoyable of characters to read? It kind of felt like they were written as just plot devices instead of as full characters that use such devices. So I love this book because of the world and writing and just choose to ignore the characters I guess.
So, neither of these are solid ‘I love it’ but still enjoyable reads for the most part.