Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Burning Swift by Joseph Elliott

The Burning Swift (Shadow Skye #3) by Joseph Elliott
Format:  Paperback and E-ARC from Edelweiss +
Publisher:  Walker Books US   
Number of pages:  336  
Publishing:  January 4th, 2022
Source:  Raquel Stecher via Candelwick Press     

Opening Lines:  "There's so much blood-too much blood.   I can't stop it."

The Burning Swift picks up with the final moments of The Broken Raven.  I would recommend beginning with the first book in the series, The Good Hawk before proceeding with the series to better understand the overall plot and main characters struggles and achievements from the previous two books.  

The Burning Swift begins with Jaime and Agatha having successful defeated the sgàilean, or the deadly shadow creatures that had been terrorizing the clan.  Sigrid arrived at the enclave, severely injured and bearing a warning that the kings of Norveg and Ingland were marching north toward Scotia, armed for an invasion.  Jaime and the clan sought help from Badhbh, a powerful man knowledgeable in blood magic, to cure Sigrid.  Just as Sigrid began to mend from her wounds, Badhbh kidnaps Agatha, and makes plans to ally with the invading kings by offering her to them so they can exact their revenge.  Sigrid and Jaime are left to gather any forces they can find in hopes of preventing Konge Grimr and king Edmund of Ingland from taking over the Isle of Skye and all of Scotia.

The Burning Swift is told in the alternating narratives of Agatha, Jaime and Sigrid.  Each of their storylines take them off in different directions, Agatha to Ingland as a prisoner, while Jaime and Sigrid reunite with the Bo Riders and try to convince the Raasay and Skye islanders to assist them in fighting against the upcoming invasion.  I quite enjoyed the direction The Burning Swift took, the way that things built toward the conclusion.  It reminded me of the Game of Thrones in its clever plotting, strategizing and epic battle scenes.  While the main characters spent most of this story separated, they eventually come back together for their final stand.  There's that nervous feeling of will they survive against such a strong army and who will be left after the battle is over?    I so enjoyed how all the previous plotlines came together and there were even a few wonderful twists to keep you on your toes.  Sigrid is still my favorite character, which says a lot because she is the newest member of the trio, only appearing partway into the second book, but oh how I enjoyed her determination and resolve.  Truthfully all the characters are memorable.    With the final book in the series, there is always that bittersweet feeling, happy to have spent time with complex characters, in a unique setting and then to have things resolved with an ending which feels complete.  Overall, I'd say I really enjoyed the series and highly recommend giving it a read.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the talented artists, Anna and Elena Balbusso, who created the covers for the series.  Each one not only beautifully captures the essence of the story, but also reflects the characters, key scenes or special moments.    
**A huge thank you to Raquel Stecher from Candlewick Press for the paperback- ARC in exchange for a review**