One of my favorite things about this book is how the main character has very obvious social anxiety that gets in the way of many of her daily activities.
Our main character is a bladesmith, or someone who makes magical weapons. As such, a lot of her daily life has her interacting with customers and taking commissions for things made of iron.
Or, at least, it would. If she didn’t have an amazing younger sister who takes over talking to customers.
I really liked seeing Ziva’s issues with social anxiety. As someone with generalized anxiety, there was a lot I could relate to, and it was nice to see representation in this book. I am also aware that in the back of this book, the author speaks about how she also has social anxiety, and I am appreciative that she was confident enough to be open about her struggles.
Everything goes horribly wrong for Ziva, however, when a warlord comes in and commissions a magical blade. Ziva creates a sword that can take the secrets from people and feed them to the user, and accidentally learns that the warlord wishes to use this blade to take over the world.
And we can’t have that.
Most of this book contains Ziva and her sister running away from the warlord and into a new town, only to be found and have to run. This repetitive aspect to this book was quite boring, as it seemed obvious that the warlord would just catch up to them and force them to run again and again and again.
Despite the plot, this book was actually a lot more character focused. We focus on Ziva’s anxiety as she grows to care for her traveling companions, one of which she pays to accompany her and her sister, and one who tags along in order to interview Ziva and learn of her magic. I found myself somewhat enjoying seeing these characters interact along the journey, and was surprised to find that the paid mercenary grew on me. Despite not caring for him all that much in the beginning, I think Kellyn is actually my favorite character now that I have finished the book.
The ending of this book suddenly introduces a cliff hanger to get readers interested in the sequel. While I’m very ambivalent about the content of this book, I’m interested in reading the sequel and seeing what happens next to these characters.