Publisher: Tor Teen
Author: Robert Cochran
Released: April 9th 2019
Warnings: Animal death, slavery, forced marriage
I received a copy of The Sword and the Dagger through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Sword and the Dagger is the debut novel by Robert Cochran. The description sounds a bit like the beginning of a joke, a princess, a knight, and an assassin. But in all seriousness, this is a fascinating novel.
The novel is fictional, but it is based on real events and time periods. That brings a whole new level of realism to the world itself. The obstacles the characters come up against are believably because they happened quite frequently during their time.
What really made this novel extraordinary was the way Cochran made his characters – all inherently different – capable of seeing eye to eye with one another. Here we have a Christian princess, a Muslim assassin, and a Christian Prince/Knight who believed in his right to rule. You’d think that these three would have nothing in common, right?
Based on the other reviews I’ve seen out there, people are either going to love or hate this novel. I personally enjoyed it a lot, but to each their own. The reasons I mentioned above are a good part of why I enjoyed it, but there is more as well.
Warnings: The Sword and the Dagger is a historical novel, and it shows some of the worst of our past. There’s religious bias and discrimination, slavery, and forced marriages. And as in history novel where horses and war are involved…it doesn’t go well for the mounts. None of these events are terribly graphic though, for what it is worth.
The Sword and the Dagger was a fascinating read. I really enjoyed it, mainly for the characters and getting to see how much they changed during the course of the novel. Character building is one of my favorite aspects of writing, so this was a huge detail for me.
The world was richly detailed, and as I mentioned above having it based in real events really enhanced the whole feeling of the novel. Though obviously the characters created were pure fiction – I preferred that, personally.
I will say that there was one element of this novel that may be off-putting for some. There are frequent and sudden perspective changes throughout the novel. I don’t mind this when they’re delineated by chapter changes, but that wasn’t the case here. It would change mid-chapter, and then change back again at a whim. Once I got into the rhythm of it I was fine, but I know some people are especially bothered by this writing style.
I think my only other complaint about this novel was the conclusion. And I don’t really mean the conclusion to the main plot, but really one of the secondary plots between characters. It seemed too sudden – I would have preferred the implication that more time had passed before the…decision was made. Perhaps that’s just me though.
On the whole I really enjoyed the Sword and the Dagger, and am so happy I took the time to read it. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Robert Cochran comes out with. I’d be curious to see how his writing evolves with time.