A stand-alone humorous fantasy adventure/romance book.

42747739

Publication year: 2018
Format: Audio
Running time: 14 hours 32 minutes
Narrator: Jesse Vilinsky

I’m not a romance reader. I usually must tolerate them in most books, but rarely is it the most enjoyable thing in a book. This was very close to being a romance I actually enjoy reading. Unfortunately, it did have far too many jealousy moments, especially near the end. I loath jealousy, especially in a will they or won’t they couple who haven’t even told each other about their feelings. But otherwise, this is a near-perfect romance for me.

Halla is a respectable widow of 36. She’s the housekeeper to her wealthy great-uncle (from her late husband’s side). Said great-uncle was elderly and she took care of him. But when he dies, it is still sudden. Halla is very surprised to find out that the moody old man left everything to her. His relatives are furious. The old man isn’t buried yet when Halla’s aunt Malva (from her late husband’s side) declares that Halla must marry Malva’s clammy-handed son. Halla detests him and refuses. So Malva imprisons Halla in her own room.

Halla is desperate to find a way out. The only thing she can think of is to kill herself. There is a large sword in her room and she draws it. But to her astonishment, the Spirit of the Sword manifests, scandalized by her lack of clothing.

Sarkis was a mercenary before his spirit was bound to the enchanted sword. Most of his owners know his story and think he’s a traitor who deserves to be used as a tool, nothing more. And Sarkis agrees. But now he’s somewhere in the decadent Southern lands, among strange people who have even stranger customs. And his wielder isn’t a warrior, but a middle-aged housekeeper trying to kill herself. Instead, Sarkis convinces her to go to the servants of the White Rat who can help her. Provided that they can get out of the house and survive a several days journey without any supplies to the Temple.

Halla and Sarkis play off each other very well. Sarkis is a stranger to the decadent Southern lands and is learning the local customs. All of his wielders have died, sometimes despite his best efforts. He’s used to being a tool instead of a person. But he still does his best to protect his wielder. He’s jaded and battle-weary. Halla is very curious about him… and about everything really. She’s bright and loyal but she’s also used to pretending to be stupider than she is, because that’s safer. Her marriage wasn’t exactly an unhappy one, but her husband died several years ago and she doesn’t miss him. Her life has been a pretty sheltered one.

The book has also other enjoyable characters, including a gender-neutral priest. Initially, I didn’t really think that Malva and her son were a big threat but in the end, I was proven wrong.

The dialog is hilarious, playing the differences to the hilt. Yes, there are a couple of terrible romance tropes, such as misunderstandings which lead to very stupid decisions, but otherwise I really enjoyed the book.

My biggest problem is that I want the second book. I want a series of Halla and Sarkis bantering happily and working together to solve… any problem, really. The ending hints at a possible continuation and I really, really hope we’ll get it.

The narrator, Jess Vilinsky gave Sarkis a Scottish accent which I adored. I really enjoyed their narration.