by Tricia Levenseller
Publication: May 4, 2021
Series: Bladesmith #1
**I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
Ziva is a famous blacksmith, known for the magical weapons she makes, and people from all over commission pieces from her. Due to social anxiety, she prefers to stay in her forge, immersed in her craft, while her more beautiful and sociable sister Temra deals with the people side of things. After creating an indestructible blade that eats the secrets of its victims, Ziva and Temra go on the run to keep it away from the power-hungry warlord who commissioned it.
Blade of Secrets is a light YA fantasy full of laughs and likeable characters. It’s a fast read that felt like it was over as soon as I started it. Despite the fast pace, it never felt lacking in character development or world-building. I was immersed in the novel and engaged with the plot to outrun the warlord. With its medieval setting and Levenseller’s straightforward way of writing, the book immediately called to mind Tamora Pierce and her beloved works. I enjoyed the book for being uncomplicated and effortlessly itself.
The success of the novel also has a lot to do with a set of likeable characters.
- Kellyn was a breath of fresh air for being so open and unguarded in his feelings. Being that he is a mercenary, I liked his honesty about what kind of a relationship he was looking for or could have if he suddenly found himself attracted to someone.
- Petrik is a scholar and inexperienced in combat, but an asset for his cooking skills. It seemed like he would be annoying and even a hindrance, but Petrik ends up being the comic relief simply by being himself. I snorted a few times.
- Temra is flirtatious and boy crazy but loves her sister, which is why she is more than willing to uproot her life to go on the run. Being the one without magical abilities, Temra can often feel overlooked.
- Ziva, similarly, loves her sister but also tends to hide behind Temra during social hour. She also tends to smother her little sister and be slightly overprotective, but that’s what often happens when you’re the biggie trying to raise your little sister. She’s the book’s first-person narrator, and I found myself identifying with her at times, especially as she commented about her social anxiety. Her thoughts about how she wished people would just leave her alone often mirror mine, especially when forced to attend social gatherings.
I enjoyed the camaraderie that develops between our main characters as they begin to learn about each other and become more than just traveling companions. I have a confession to make though…After experiencing so many betrayals in books, I was a bit terrified of liking anyone too much. What if Temra actually hated her sister? What if Kellyn was leading them straight to the warlord? What if Petrik was a spy? I adored Ziva but was hesitant about everyone else. Any one of them could rip my heart out at any time! I’ve become utterly paranoid when I find a cast of characters I like. So…did they? You’ll have to pick it up to find out what happens. Ha!
I had fun reading and it was hard to put down. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and it’s been a bit difficult waiting to get my hands on the next book. I can’t underscore how much I liked other than to say it was soooo good.