Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Mental Health
Series: Bladesmith #1
Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT: Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.
Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.
Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.
My Review: I liked Blade of Secrets, but not as much as I thought I would. The cover is gorgeous, I felt connected to its main character, and the plot was original. I liked the amusing banter, the beautiful sisterly love, cute-as-can-be romance, and the loads of action.
Ziva I could empathize with her social anxiety, which was authentically portrayed. People-ing is hard for some, easier for others. Ziva’s awkwardness, her inability to converse, and that her sister, Temra, often has to do the talking for her, tends to be misunderstood.
I liked Ziva’s magical abilities, how she imbues anything she makes with magic. Ziva stands out as unique among other overpowered MCs I know of. However, I’m unable to suspend my disbelief towards some of her naivety about the weapons she makes. She understands the impact the commissioned sword would have on the world in the wrong hands, but she still seems…surprised? I don’t know. I can’t help questioning her hopes/goal for past weapons made.
Fortunately, this does make for a suspenseful conflict with a seemingly low success rate. The threat level was significantly high throughout the book. The warlord, Kymora Avedin, is rich, powerful, well-known, and a superior fighter. How will Ziva and company succeed in keeping the sword from the warlord’s clutches? It’s a conundrum that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat.
Ziva and Temra’s sisterly bond is so strong. They have each other’s back and love deeply. Ziva is extremely protective of her little sister who is all she has left in the world. Everything Ziva does is for Temra. Their close bond was my favorite part of the book.
I am all for Ziva’s budding romance with Kellyn. There were just too many setbacks on Ziva’s end. I get why but I just wanted them to move forward. They belong together, I just know it!
Kellyn gets Ziva and her anxiety when no one else but her sister ever did. He’s kind, patient, but real. His backstory was really nice and I like what his presence does to the plot. His quips with Petrik, another charming member of the group, livened things up during super tense situations. Kellyn is very underrated by the other characters that I don’t blame him one bit for feeling annoyed and angry when all he’s been is fair and generous, keeping up his end of the deal as a hired sword.
I have mixed feelings about the ending. After a tough, hard-fought battle, I didn’t expect things to take another drastic turn. I guess it’s fine and leaves things on an emotional and uncertain high.
Blade of Secrets is full of surprises, secrets, betrayals, and revelations. Despite my misgivings, Ziva, Temra, Kellyn, and Petrik are an interesting squad whose story-line I want to see through. I want to read more of whatever Levenseller writes next.
More by Tricia Levenseller