Review by Pythian
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like for a sword to be a person…wait, that’s probably not a thing one would think. Even so, that thought experiment is brought to fruition in SWORDHEART by T. Kingfisher. Set in the year of 1346, the protagonist Halla is introduced locked in her room held captive by her own family. Her great-uncle Silas had awarded her his fortune after his death which angered his family. Of course, the reasonable course of action is to lock the heiress in her room until the inheritance could be secured to stay in the family. As she was about to kill herself (another obviously reasonable thing to do), a flash of blue led to a strange man appearing in her chambers: Sarkis, who promptly told her to put on some clothes.
This fascinating opening leads to a tumble of events, heart-rending in nature but always with an air of subtle hilarity. Halla is a widow without much to bind her to the mortal plane. Those that she cared for seem to be distant or gone and, though it is easy for her to form good relationships, there always seem to be thick walls separating the acquaintances from the close friends. Perhaps her constant questions centering on the mundane ward off possible candidates. Despite her incessant queries, Sarkis is eventually enamored with her for one reason or another and a game of will-they-won’t-they ensues. There seems to be something about Halla that endears her to people once they get to know her.
T. Kingfisher’s fantastic world is sure to keep you turning the pages, eager to see what awaits the vivid characters. The included inner monologues enhance the personalities of the characters and give important windows into what is left unsaid. They provide another route for the underlying comedy to emerge. The only barrier to immersion so necessary in fantasy is that the characters sound normal to modern day readers. There isn’t much time spent on dialects or grammatical structure to differentiate characters. Which is only a small bother as the rest of the world-building is sound and done well. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy infectious characters with a healthy side of comedy.