Blade of secrets

Tricia Levenseller

Book - 2021

"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"--

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Fantasy fiction
Young adult fiction
New York : Feiwel and Friends 2021.
Main Author
Tricia Levenseller (author)
First edition
Physical Description
324 pages : map ; 24 cm
Ages 13-18.
Grades 10-12.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist 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.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

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

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