Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan's burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.
Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice...
I received an advanced copy of this novel from Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
The Harp of Kings was quite different to any fantasy book I have read before. I have honestly never read a fantasy book that involved a quest for a musical instrument. I admit at first, I struggled to get into this book; however, I soon found my rhythm once the quest was underway.
The Harp of Kings is told from three different POVs; it was easy to follow and made understanding the characters much easier. Each of the characters have very unique qualities, they are nothing like each other.
Our main character is Liobhan, an 18-year-old warrior in training with her brother at Swan Island.
Swan Island is where the most elite warriors of the country reside; their services are used widely amongst the realm.
This book has all the right elements for an epic fantasy tale. There is a quest, magic, faeries and of course dark creatures.
What I loved most though was Liobhan, she is a fierce female character who refuses to bend to the norm and sew dresses and be a homely woman. She is her own person, she is strong willed and does have a bit of a temper, and one of our POVs Dau, knows how to push her buttons.
The plot is fast paced, but no detail is lost throughout the novel, Juliet really knows how describe a character and scene without being overly descriptive. Her writing is elegant and the words flow and work so beautifully together that you find yourself turning the pages quickly - you can easily get lost in this book and lose hours of the day (not a bad thing!).
The one thing I did struggle with was the pronunciation of names in particular, at the start of the book there is a Character List with pronunciation, however in my opinion, I found it more confusing reading this as the names written vs the pronunciation did not always match very well. In the end, I ended up just pronouncing the names to how they sounded to me.
Overall, this novel was an incredible read, I really loved the plot, the magic, the lore and the love for music most of all.
I have found a new fantasy author to love and I cannot wait to get my hands on more of Juliet's novels.