The beautiful cover first grabbed my attention, then the synopsis meant I had to read this. I wasn’t sure on the genre, but was delighted to find a fantasy story in a historical setting. I was swept up from beginning to end with this book – keep reading for my Sistersong review.
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Publisher: Macmillan | Date: 2021 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: 535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.
Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.
All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.
I received Sistersong from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I love this book. It’s hard to articulate more than that but I’ll try. The characters, the settings, magic, the plot… everything about Sistersong works. You know when a book ticks all the boxes and is a resounding yes from start to finish? That’s what Sistersong was for me.
The story follows three siblings. Their conflicting personalities are tempered by their love for one another, but they have to learn to see each other.
Riva is the oldest. Scarred from an accident, she believes no one will care for her. After being saved by a stranger, she puts her heart before her duty. She was likeable, but her temper and ignorance made her frustrating at times.
Middle child Keyne is my favourite. He knows he’s not meant to be in a woman’s body. Keyne learns who he is, embracing his destiny and his power. The character development is fantastic: from a self-conscious girl to a strong leader comfortable in his own skin, Keyne overcomes everything in his path.
Sinne was harder to connect with: she’s naïve and jealous and needs to grow up. But she warmed on me as the story unfolds and her magic gave her an interesting story arc that kept her engaging.
The secondary characters provide strong support for the three: challenging and encouraging them in equal measure. Myrdhin/Mori provides the mentor, Tristan the mysterious love-interest and Gildas the antagonist without whom the main characters cannot discover who they truly are.
“Besides, not all situations call for magic. Sometimes a pointy object will do just fine.”Sistersong by Lucy Holland
This is a story of magic and heritage, duty and love.
The siblings have a powerful heritage – their father (the king) is connected to the land in a manner that grants him the use of magic.
But with a new religion emerging, that strength has dwindled. Now under threat from Saxons, all three must learn who they truly are if they are to protect their home.
There’s a lot that makes this read like a historical fiction. But when we start to understand more about the magic and the power of their blood-line, it places it firmly in the fantasy realm. I love the different skills they have, and how they grow as they embrace their power.
A lot of themes are covered: religion, identity, love, duty and power to name a few. It’s an intricate tale of twisting these themes together, and what happens when they start colliding.
A different sibling narrates each chapter. With clear sign-posts and their distinct personalities, there’s never any confusion about who you are following.
I love Holland’s writing style. There’s tension running from the start as the conflicts start at a personal level then escalate, which gives it a steady pace throughout, before an exciting climax. The magic system is well-described and the setting is easily brought to life.
Sistersong is the type of book I see myself re-reading multiple times and picking up something new each time I do. The character development is satisfying; the magic intriguing; and the plot moves at a steady pace throughout. A five-star read for sure and a thorough recommendation from me!
Does this sound like your kind of book? Let me know!
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