DNF Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

DNF Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Release Date: January 19th 2016
Series: Sword and Verse #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


SWORD AND VERSE and I did not start off well, and clearly, we did not end well. I do have to say that I was in a reading slump when I started this so that definitely could have affected my feelings. This was one of my most anticipated reads because fantasy (YES!) but in reality it turned out to be romance (NO!)

I am generally pretty lenient when it comes to fantasy novels because it’s my favorite genre. As long as it is that-fantasy. One of the main reasons I disliked SOUNDLESS was because it lacked fantastical elements and SWORD AND VERSE was the same way. Since I did DNF it around 30%, I can’t say whether or not that aspect ever picked up.

So what was the main focus? The romance. It was apparent from first 5% and wasted no time making itself known. Not only did it feel forced, it was pretty much insta-love. And insta-love?

dont like.
There just wasn’t much going on in SWORD AND VERSE. The characters were flat and the plot, outside of the romance, was almost nonexistent and bland. I was waiting for that special something to happen and make reading this one less of a chore. Anything to pick up the pacing and make me care.

It may have been my mood at the time, or the standard I hold my fantasy books to, but I was not impressed with what I read from SWORD AND VERSE. However, if you find yourself having a hard time with the fantasy genre this might be one to check out.


Rating Report
Overall: 1.5

42 Comment

  1. Bec says: Reply

    You are the second person I’ve seen complain about the romance in this. I think it’d be best for me to stay away. Which sucks because it sounds so awesome :/

    1. Alise says: Reply

      It wouldn’t have been that bad if the focus was on an actual plot, but alas.

  2. Oh, what a shame that this book fell so flat for you, Alise! I haven’t heard many great things about this one so I think I’ll pass myself.

    Thanks for the honest review, hun <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…Midnight Blogging 101: The Thing About ARCs

    1. Alise says: Reply

      No worries, thank you :)

  3. I’ve heard about this book but not much. Judging by the way you felt about the romance, I’m not going to bother checking this one out! It’s not like you DNFed it at like 5-10%, you gave it quite a good chance to develop something else other than the romance and well, it just didn’t deliver – which sucks. When you read as much fantasy as we do, you just expect more :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Ready Player One

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Yeah, there just wasn’t much going on and the romance didn’t feel genuine. True that!

  4. Oh no. Insta love, not developed fantasy world and plotless story would also be a reason for me to DNF book. What a shame, blurb sounds really good.

    1. Alise says: Reply

      It does! It seems like a totally different book.

  5. Eek, I was really anticipating this one – such a shame to hear that it wasn’t good. I think I’ll be avoiding it, I just finished a book where the romance was the main focus and just.. ugh.
    Anissa @ She Reads Too Much recently posted…Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

    1. Alise says: Reply

      I just read your review of Defy and yeah, I would actually say that’s pretty close to this one when it comes to the romance.
      Alise recently posted…DNF Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

  6. Ahh no, insta-love?! UGH. I also don’t like it when fantasy books are focused solely on romance. Think I might stay clear of this one. Great review!
    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic recently posted…The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair by Lara Williamson captured my heart

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Right? If I wanted all romance, all the time I would have picked up a contemporary book.

  7. I don’t really read a lot of fantasy, but this one doesn’t sound like it would be good fit for me because it’s focusing too much on the romance AND the insta-love. Not my most favorite thing – insta-love, I mean. I like romance, but I’m not always looking for a PURELY just a romance novel.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Unique Formatting Challenge: Book Ideas!

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Exactly! A little romance to add to the fantasy plot is not a problem, but not the other way around.

  8. THIS BREAKS MY HEART. OMGGGGG I was looking forward to it so so much. *weeps bitterly* Why do the blurbs and covers keep hiding disappointing books these days?! I weep, I weep…this is definitely a library-not-buy read. D:
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable To Have An Enormous TBR Pile

    1. Alise says: Reply

      It sounded really good and I was definitely hyped up for it, that could have contributed to me putting it down, for sure.

  9. That’s too bad you didn’t like it, but at least you set it down instead of trudging through it. I actually haven’t heard that many ‘great’ things about it, unfortunately.

    I’m not even quite sure if I understand what it’s about. Haha, oh well. It’s a really nice cover though. Oh well!
    Samantha recently posted…I’m Not Setting A Goodreads Reading Challenge This Year

    1. Alise says: Reply

      If I trudge through a book I tend to hold a lot of resentment towards it in the end, haha. The cover is nice, definitely!

  10. Oh dear. This was on my “wishlist,” so to speak, but I hadn’t picked up a copy yet. And while I don’t mind romance and fantasy together in one story, I’m really not keen when it’s romance first and fantasy as an afterthought. :( So I might skip this one now.
    Sara L. recently posted…Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 21: Christmas-January Haul, Plus My Reading Plan for 2016

    1. Alise says: Reply

      That’s how I feel as well. If you’re still interested you could still give it a try, I had a lot of outside circumstances that probably contributed to me not liking this one.

  11. I’m so sorry you didn’t love this one!! Despite that, though, I think I’m still going to give this one a chance (I seem to be more forgiving when it comes to romance in books than other people, haha.) The cover is utterly gorgeous, and I’m soo weak-minded when it comes to that. ;) Lovely review!
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…FRAYED Cover + Other Writing Updates

    1. Alise says: Reply

      No worries! If you do give it a chance let me know what you think, if I might have been too hasty. Thank you!

  12. Brooke says: Reply

    It doesn’t pick up. I pushed to finish it and gave it 2 stars. I just didn’t think it was executed well. So much hype and a lot of my friends really loved it. Nope. I didn’t like the romance and where was the world building? Just missing too much for me. And just not believable. Hope your future reads are better.
    Brooke recently posted…ARC Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith @JenESmith @lbkids

    1. Alise says: Reply

      That’s actually good to know! I’m kind of glad I didn’t finish it now. Exactly! Same to you :)

  13. AllyR. says: Reply

    Aw, that’s disappointing. This one sounds super interesting, but insta-love is a HUGE turn off for me. Thanks for the warning!
    AllyR. recently posted…2016 YA Releases I’m Looking Forward To

    1. Alise says: Reply

      It definitely sounded like a great read, for sure! Thanks for stopping by :)

  14. Whoa, good to know! That cover is so pretty but we have the same taste in fantasy so this is not one for me, so disappointing :(

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Yeah, I was pretty disappointed in this one.

  15. Oh no, I’ve got this one in my TBR pile and was looking forward to reading it since I’m a huge fantasy fan. It’s too bad that the plot is mostly focused on the romance and that the characters lack depth.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

    1. Alise says: Reply

      I would still give it a shot, it might have been my mood!

  16. Ooh, that’s sad. And the book cover looked really nice, too :( I love fantasy, but I hate it when romance is the focus of the story. I get sleepy and irritable.
    Jee Ann recently posted…A New Year for Stories and “Black Blood” by John Hennessy Review

    1. Alise says: Reply

      I like fantasy books because they introduce a new world with interesting elements, the romance (if there is any) shouldn’t be the main focus. It was definitely frustrating.

  17. When I saw this book on the list of upcoming books on goodreads, I was a bit skeptical since I didn’t like the blurb but with your review, you have confirmed my fears. Thanks

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Thanks for stopping by!

  18. I tried to read this one when I was in a weird mood and was like, HEY, LET’S READ FANTASY. Only got five pages in and gave up. I was going to give it another try, but it being more about the romance wouldn’t actually bother me so much if it wasn’t instalove, so nope. :(
    Kirsty-Marie Jones recently posted…I’m not ready to give up just yet, we could stay until we both forget,
    so baby, don’t kill, don’t kill the magic.

    1. Alise says: Reply

      It took me two tries to even get into it, and once I did I was immediately bombarded with this insta-love romance – blah.

  19. Aw. That’s quite unfortunate. I would imagine this will be a big hit for those who can tolerate fantasy with a dominant romance arch (like me).
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[602]: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

    1. Alise says: Reply

      If this hadn’t been a fast romance I think I would have liked it more. The Wrath and the Dawn is pretty romance focused and I actually really liked that one.

  20. Oh man, I haven’t heard the greatest things about this one either! That romance and insta-love just sounds pretty painful tbh. Lovely review Alise!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – Book & Movie Review

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Yeah :/ Thank you!

  21. Lola says: Reply

    I enjoy both romance and fantasy books, but it is nice to know beforehand which book you’re getting. If you expect a fantasy book and most of the focus is on the romance that’s annoying or it isn’t marketed right. And when the romance feels both forced and is insta-love, yeah I can see why you DNF’d this one. I hope you’re out of your reading slump by now!
    Lola recently posted…Review: Hapily Ever Now by Jen Meyers

    1. Alise says: Reply

      Exactly! The romance is barely mentioned in the synopsis around all the other things I thought were going to be the focus of the novel :( Thanks, I think I am :D

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