*Starred Review* Eighteen-year-old Ziva is a smith who makes magical weapons imbued with special properties. Her latest creation, a mace that causes an opponent to suffocate, has impressed the governor so much that he's referred a friend of his, the warlord Kymora Avedin, to her services. When Kymora demands a blade that will "bring entire nations to their knees," Ziva complies but soon comes to realize that no one can be trusted with such unbridled power. Her blade, a broadsword that can extract secrets from anyone it cuts, must be hidden from everyone, especially the warlord whose big secret is her lust for world dominance. Ziva and her sister, Temra, hire the ridiculously good-looking Kellyn, whom Ziva longs for on sight, to protect them as they run from the warlord and seek out long-lost family in another region. Also joining them is the scholar Petrik, who wants to know how Ziva's forge magic works—something she's not even sure she can explain. Levenseller (The Shadows between Us, 2020) elevates her already intriguing fantasy world through her depiction of Ziva, whose anxiety will ring true for anyone who's ever had a panic attack. Added details about how Ziva functions in everyday life with her anxiety, something not often addressed in fantasy, bring additional depth. Grab this and devour it. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 8 Up—The fate of Ghadra lies on the shoulders of one anxiety-ridden blacksmith. Ziva, 18, is famous for forging custom blades and weapons imbued with incredible power. She only speaks to her 16-year-old sister, Temra, and hates strangers, but strikes an immediate rapport with a warlord who commissions a sword—the most powerful sword Ziva can make. Once finished, it cuts through objects and enemies alike, even from a distance, but when the warlord comes to pick up the weapon, Ziva learns it has another power: It reads your enemies' secrets. Now that she knows the warlord plans to enslave the continent, she can't hand over the weapon. On the run, Ziva and Temra acquire a mercenary and a scholar who have their own reasons for joining them. The plot picks up and rarely stops for breath as the sisters and their love interests try to find safe haven in a violent world. Levenseller's worldbuilding is simplistic and accessible, which leaves the dialogue and her characters to shine as they cope with the pressure of mixed personalities and the weight of the world. The romances build slowly, and all relationships emphasize open communication and apologies as healthy. The scholar is brown-skinned, Temra and the mercenary are tan, and Ziva's skin color is not defined. While both romances are heterosexual, there are queer couples in the background. VERDICT Light on romance and heavy on longing, this action-adventure is a recommended purchase where fantasy is popular.—Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Lib., IL Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.
"In the first book in Tricia Levenseller's exciting new YA fantasy duology, a teenage blacksmith with social anxiety is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she's ever made"--Review by Publisher Summary 2
Spending her days tucked into her forge to escape society and the anxiety it triggers, 18-year-old Ziva uses her magical gifts to craft unique weapons before she is forced to go on the run to protect the world from an unexpectedly powerful sword she has created. 75,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.Review by Publisher Summary 3
In The Secret Blade, the first book in Tricia Levenseller's exciting new YA fantasy duology, a teenage blacksmith with social anxiety is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she's ever made.Review by Publisher Summary 4
In Blade of Secrets, a new YA fantasy adventure from the author of Daughter of the Pirate King, a teenage blacksmith with social anxiety is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she's ever made. Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims' secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.