Monday, December 13, 2021

Review: Sistersong by Lucy Holland

Sistersong by Lucy Holland
Orbit (US) / Macmillan (UK)
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021 (US) / April 21st, 2021 (UK)
Hardcover. 416 pages.

About Sistersong:

"My sister’s heart broke on the river—and the river took it and bore it away. 

In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, there is old magic to be found in the whisper of the wind, the roots of the trees, and the curl of the grass. King Cador knew this once, but now the land has turned from him, calling instead to his three children. Riva can cure others, but can’t seem to heal her own deep scars. Keyne battles to be accepted for who he truly is—the king’s son. And Sinne dreams of seeing the world, of finding adventure. 

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold, their people’s last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. However, change comes on the day ash falls from the sky. It brings with it Myrdhin, meddler and magician. And Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear them apart. 

Riva, Keyne and Sinne—three siblings entangled in a web of treachery and heartbreak, who must fight to forge their own paths. 

Their story will shape the destiny of Britain."

Sistersong is a retelling of ballad "The Twa Sisters" from 6th century Britain and tells the story of three sisters as they grow and learn more about themselves, the world around them, and each other. It is both beautiful and heartbreaking is a story that I really couldn't put down or look away from. 

We follow the perspectives of all three sisters, each of which has their own special sort of magic: the eldest, Riva, who has a gift for healing; the middle child, Keyne, who has a strong connection to the land; and the youngest, Sinne, who can essentially influence the way people feel. All of their magic is fading slowly as the peoples' connection to the land and the old religions begins to fade, and this is also reflected by Dummonia's crop failures and struggles to maintain power and stability. 

Riva is independent, though struggles with her confidence due to being burned and scarred by a fire when she was younger. Keyne struggles intensely with her identifying, having been born female but identifting as a man and struggles to get those around them to recognize and understand that. Sinne is probably the most outgoing or energetic of the three and wants nothing more than, well, more than what she is and has. She wants a romance to sweep her away and give her a better life. I found all three of their storylines and arcs compelling, but I was most captivated by Riva and Keyne's. I loved how carefully and thoughtfully Holland shared Keyne's journey and transformation and found it be very emotional; it really felt like the story that tied the entire story together with its impact and beauty. 

The time period was a perfect backdrop for the story and I found myself really engaged in the religious and political backdrop of the time. The rise of Christianity has presented a conflict between the older pagan religions, which serves as the main background tension of our story, as a Christian priest has arrived in their village to try to convert everyone from the old religions to the new. The sisters' mother, the queen, is a big proponent of switching to the Christian religion, while many of the inhabitants, including her daughters, are opposed to abandoning their religion. I think this general theme of change and fighting for one's own ideals and beliefs are reflected the three sisters' individual journeys as they also seem to be fighting their own individual battles for themselves and what they know they want and need. 

Holland's writing is lyrical and effortlessly tells the story of these three siblings and Dummonia in an effortlessly beautiful manner. I found this story easy to follow and immerse myself and I know that was due to a careful blend of intriguing plot, well-developed characters, and beautiful, flowing prose. Overall, I've given Sistersong five stars! I look forward to seeing what's next from Lucy Holland.

*I received a copy of Sistersong courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |

1 comment:

  1. I need to catch up with this one, but your five star rating has put it back on my radar!