Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle’s estate… and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws… and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. I loved it SOOOOO much. Oh gosh, even just thinking about it while writing this review is making me want to read it again.
Ok, let me try to be coherent. Swordheart is a fantasy story with a strong romantic subplot to it, which is kind of my thing. The main character, Halla, is such a great character. She’s been sort of a passive person most of her life, accepting her lot even if she hadn’t always been happy with it. She married young and when her husband died became a housekeeper to her in-laws in exchange for a place in their home (which was really so gracious of them, wasn’t it?). When the owner of the home passes away and leaves it to Halla, she suddenly finds herself in a situation where they’re trying to force her to marry to keep the home within the family. Not wanting to marry the odious man and, having been locked in her room and seeing no way, out she contemplates just ending it all. That’s when she reaches for a sword hanging on the wall, draws it–and that’s where our story really begins. Because the sword is enchanted and whenever it’s drawn Sarkis, an enchanted warrior attached to the sword, appears. And he isn’t very happy to discover someone trying to off theirself with his sword.
One of the unexpected delights of this book for me was the humor. This book is funny. There’s so much hilarious banter and many humorous situations that I found myself giggling through half of the book. Reading this at work on my lunch break was funny because my coworker had to keep asking me what I was laughing at.
Honestly the characters and their relationship is the best thing about this book. The plot is essentially to go on a journey to get some legal paperwork filed so that Halla can get rid of her nasty in-laws. Along the way they encounter various obstacles, friends and foes. They also pick up a fellow companion along the way who brings some added fun as well as depth to the story. There are some other things going on, mostly in the background until they aren’t, but for the most part the plot itself is pretty simple and straightforward.
But back to our characters and their relationship. I love the way things played out between them. They’re two adults being very adult about things, but also kind of hesitant in a ‘feeling each other out’ sort of way. Halla doesn’t even have her mind on romance for a while because she’s too busy worrying about getting all this mess with the house straightened out. And Sarkis seems to fall pretty hard pretty fast but he’s an enchanted sword so there’s all kinds of pitfalls there and they’re both practical people at the end of the day. Something about their relationship felt very fresh with the way it was handled, even though it plays on a lot of familiar tropes. Their relationship to each other, first as friends, had each of them of rediscovering parts of themselves they had either long since buried or had never seen the light of day. Halla opens up and becomes a lot less passive, all while retaining her kindness, while Sarkis becomes a little less cynical. They’re a great balance for each other and one of the reasons they work so well together.
I really loved this book. I’d suggest it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy romance or a comedic fantasy, or just enjoys an uplifting read. 5/5 stars.