By Cynthia Bujnicki
Liobhan is not only a powerful bard, but she is also a warrior. Together with her brother she trains on Swan Island to become an elite warrior of a secret organization. Only a trainee she is given a task alongside another recruit and her brother to embark on a mission to find a magical harp that defines a king, a harp that has gone missing. They soon discover that the fae folk have a part to play in this and finding the balance between the Otherworld and theirs might be more dangerous than they thought.
An exceptional fantasy, The Harp of Kings has both incredible pacing and marvelous complex characters. It begins one way, establishing the characters, their dynamics, and the world they are in and steadily evolves into a tale of politics, mysterious intrigue, and magic. At first, it seems as though the novel is going to be more historical rather than fantasy, but once the fae folk sneaks into the story, the plot thickens, bringing to life the tension and complex characters. It gives the story and character something fantastical to contend with as they embark on this undercover mission that challenges how they see themselves and brings up memories for all the characters to evolve them.
The story itself builds up the world and the plot simultaneously, creating an engaging story for the reader. It starts by introducing the reader to the characters and their dynamics with one another, establishing the tension between them to give the reader an idea of what they think of one another while also reflecting the perspective and personality of the characters. There is depth to the characters that allow them to be relatable while balancing off one another perfectly. The story also challenges the perceptions of the characters and trains them to be better people.
To watch the characters grow within the restrictions set upon them by their masters shows masterful writing. It works so well with the pacing of the novel. There are so many intricacies of the novel, so many elements that give the story depth. The fantasy element, while not present all the time, lingers on the pages and gives the story, it has the perfect balance of fiction and fantasy to breathe life into the novel and the characters. The development of the characters and plot is exceptional. (★★★★☆)