Having only recently discovered the genius that is Juliet Marillier, I have to say it was an absolute privilege to receive an advanced reading copy of The Harp of Kings – the first in her new series.
Today, I am a solid Marillier fan – her storytelling is rich and her writing beautiful. She is truly a queen of the fantasy genre. After reading her book Daughter of the Forest, I was ready for another breathtaking and soul-consuming adventure. The Harp of Kings definitely delivered!
The story follows eighteen-year-old Liobhan – singer, expert whistle player and elite warrior of Swan Island. She and her brother Brocc are in the midst of their training when they are sought out by their superiors to join a mission that involves posing as travelling minstrels. As both Brocc and Liobhan are skilled in this department, they get the gig, despite still being students.
Their mission: to retrieve a precious harp. Who took it, and why, is a mystery, but without the harp the upcoming royal coronation cannot go ahead.
When Liobhan, Brocc and their unlikable fellow student Dau reach their destination, they are faced with endless challenges. Dau, a typically opinionated man, is required to play a mute for the duration of the mission. Liobhan and Brocc are no longer brother and sister, merely minstrels travelling together. The crowned Prince is a loathsome man, causing issues for the team at every turn. And then there is the magic of the Otherworld and the fair folk that linger there, who have their own plans…
Chapters jump between Liobhan, Brocc and Dau, and I was completely swept up in their stories, rooting for each of them to succeed. Their challenges are all unique and Marillier expertly builds up the expectations and tension around each of them.
What I love most about Juliet Marillier’s style is the pace. Her books feel like you are sitting around a campfire being told an epic tale from long ago. I became completely lost in this world and am utterly desperate to find out what is going to happen next!
~ Bronwyn xo
P.S. Did you know my novel Relic is out now? Check it out!