Sword and Verse (DNF Review)

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Page Length: 384 pages
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen

About Sword and Verse (via Goodreads):

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.
DNF'd @ 28%

Let me start by saying that I absolutely ADORED the world MacMillan created in Sword and Verse. The world was so unique and fascinating, and I loved learning about the mythology. There was so much potential for greatness, and perhaps I missed out on a lot of it because I stopped reading at 28%, but the plot was quite rushed and I found myself getting confused quite a bit.

Within the first few chapters, there were already massive time jumps, and I felt like I lost so much time that I could have had getting to know the characters better. The romance between Raisa and Mati, although developing over a span of a year, seemed like insta-love because I couldn't see any of their prior interactions or their gradual development of feelings toward each other.

Even though Raisa and Mati's romance was kind of cute at first, it swallowed the whole first 100 pages of the plot and I started to become bored. Where was all the action? Also, even though Raisa did love Mati, she wasn't all that nice to him, and it bothered me so much. She was so obsessed with him, yet she didn't even know how to treat him right. She started demanding things from him that were completely out of his control, and honestly, it felt like she only cared about herself.

Sword and Verse does have an incredible concept and beautifully crafted world, but it just wasn't the book for me. I'm considering giving it another try later in the year, but I've just been really busy lately and don't want to take up my limited free time with a book I'm not fully enjoying.


  1. I have a review posting for this book soon. I didn't really love it all that much either. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot! I listened to it as an audiobook and I don't think that really helped my experience out because I don't think I grasped a lot of the concepts of a book. Like I'm not exactly sure what a shining and a veiling are? Is that a day? Or like a week? A month??? I don't have a clue. And I thought all the detail paid to writing was dull and boring and listening to Raisa try and work out what her heart verse was made me wanna throw my phone. And just blehhhh. And just the whole concept of writing being so revered just stumped me. I thought that was just kinda dumb. Ahhh. If I keep going, I'm just gonna end up rewriting my whole review in your comment section! Great review! I totally agree with everything you said!

    1. Thanks, Cyra!!! And I agree about the shining and veiling thing. Especially since the sense of time was so thrown off to begin with since the plot jumped around so much?? Like just when I thought it was getting good suddenly months went by and Raisa and Mati's relationship suddenly got super intimate and all other things except their romance no longer mattered... And I agree about the heart verse thing. It seems like an interesting concept, but I thought Raisa was a bit too focused on Mati and the heart verse for anything interesting to really happen in the plot -_-

  2. I'm honestly not really interested in this book... But I definitely say you should give it a try again :)

    1. I wasn't super interested to be honest, but then I started it and liked it... And then it kind of went downhill... But I think I will give it another try. Maybe in the summer though, when I have more time on my hands :)

  3. Ugh I'm sorry you didn't like it, but hey at least you made the right decision to DNF! I'm not a fan of romance at all, so I'm really glad I didn't end up picking this up :)

    I hope your next read is better!

    1. Thanks, Valerie! I do like romance, but not when it dominates the plot like it did in this one. I honestly don't DNF that much, but I'm kind of glad I did with Sword and Verse.