Sword Catcher

Del Rey: Ballantine. Oct. 2023. 624p. ISBN 9780525619994. $30. FANTASY
After the Sundering, only a shadow of the old magic remains, and to dally with it is treacherous. The Empire is broken, with every piece vying for power, including the kingdom of Castellane. Kel is an orphan who is unexpectedly swept away to palace life, where he becomes the Sword Catcher. The Sword Catcher is taught to act, talk, and fight like the prince, to be a perfect copy, even if it means dying in the prince’s place. Lin is an Ashkari physician who endures the bigotry against her magic as she desperately tries to heal her friend. Kel and Lin’s struggles intersect with the Ragpicker King, the lord of the criminal underworld, who has his own plans for Castellane. The overly descriptive exposition often interrupts the flow of the story, but otherwise this is an entertaining, slow-burning fantasy romance that will appeal to the New Adult audience and longtime fans of Clare (Chain of Thorns). Kel and Lin are surrounded by beautiful scenery, beautiful people, and shadowed hearts as they’re sucked into complex court intrigue.
VERDICT A luscious story about fierce loyalty, powerful friendship, illusory love, and a unique brand of heroism.
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