The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2)
Released: May 9, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
Last year I really enjoyed The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon. I think fantasy romance, if done well, can be so captivating and enchanting. I greatly anticipated this book, especially when I learned Kjell (hero’s brother from book one) would be the star. And to note, this can be read as a stand alone.
That all said, this one lagged for me and I don’t think I truly fell in love with the heroine.
In this world, some humans are Gifted – some can change shape into an animal, some can see the future, some can heal. In the past, using “gifts” was illegal and those gifted would be put to death – but all that changed after book one. The previous hero, the king, has now made gifting legal and wants those gifted to be welcomed with open arms and come out of hiding. While that is all well and good near the kingdom where it can be enforced, those reclusive villages have not yet changed practice. Sasha, our heroine, can see glimpses of the future and tries to keep this to herself, but when she sees people in her village getting sick and dying, she tells the elders they need to be prepared. Sasha is a slave and has no memory of her childhood or how she really became a slave. When her owner dies, and the town blames Sasha for the sickness, she flees. And promptly falls off a high ledge.
Kjell is the brother of the king, and would much prefer to be out on the battlefield killing things, than sitting on a throne ruling people. Kjell as a warrior has much respect, and his men follow his every command. Out with his men hunting large, violent bird creatures, he sees an unconscious woman on the ground. Severely injured, he knows he could heal her, but he usually saves that gift for people he actually loves and cares about. But he is drawn to Sasha and decides to save her life. When she comes to, she recognizes him from visions she has had, and pledges her life to him. Kjell does not want a servant, or anyone following him around, but Sasha is determined to be his. He reluctantly agrees to bring her back to his castle and find employment for her….and along the way, feelings develop.
When they get back to the castle, it’s about at the halfway mark of the book, and I really think the first half drags. Maybe not “drag” is the right word – but predictable. Sasha sees visions along the way, and they have to respond to them to stay safe. Kjell tries to keep Sasha at a distance, but all the while she enthralls his men with stories, and eventually catches his ear too.
Then there is a very big twist at the halfway mark and things pick up. I don’t want to say anything about the second half of the book due to spoilers, but the action is better. But by the end, I had a hard time with the romance in this one. I couldn’t find that spark of passion between them. Their first kiss and then their quick rush into the “I love you” unfolds without much sexual tension. Not to say there is no passion to be found in this book. When Kjell realizes he loves her, it’s a very moving scene:
He kissed her, taking her to the floor because he was too overcome to stand, clinging to her body because he was too undone to go slow. The storm pounding in his limbs and in his belly began to build in his heart, seeping through his skin and gathering in the corners of his eyes. He wanted to weep. It was the strangest sensation, the most puzzling reaction he’d ever experienced. He wanted to lay his head on Sasha’s chest and weep.
I love that! But the build up to that scene didn’t really match that intense tone. It was all very rushed. Sasha fell a bit flat for me too. I don’t know if we truly get to know her personality. Her gift of seeing the future is interesting, but Sasha herself didn’t do a lot for me.
I’ll definitely keep an eye out for another book from this author, but this one didn’t wow me.