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Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims' secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the l Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims' secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees. Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world's known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely. A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she's ever made.


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Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims' secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the l Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims' secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees. Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world's known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely. A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she's ever made.

30 review for Blade of Secrets

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Levenseller

    5/4/21 Today’s the day! Blade of Secrets is officially out in the world! Thank you for all the early support, and happy Star Wars Day! 9/28/20 I'm so excited we have a cover now! Thank you to everyone who has given it some love! What to expect in this book: -Magical weapons -Blacksmithing -Banter (you're getting not one, but two romances out of this book!) -Adventure -Unlikely heroes -An unbreakable bond between sisters 5/7/20 Hey guys! This one is off to copy edits. I hope to see cover samples really s 5/4/21 Today’s the day! Blade of Secrets is officially out in the world! Thank you for all the early support, and happy Star Wars Day! 9/28/20 I'm so excited we have a cover now! Thank you to everyone who has given it some love! What to expect in this book: -Magical weapons -Blacksmithing -Banter (you're getting not one, but two romances out of this book!) -Adventure -Unlikely heroes -An unbreakable bond between sisters 5/7/20 Hey guys! This one is off to copy edits. I hope to see cover samples really soon. Can’t wait for you all to read about my socially-anxious Gryffindor and her Slytherin mercenary love interest. Social anxiety is something I’ve dealt with my entire life, and it was both liberating and terrifying to write a character who deals with this same disability (while also having to try to save the world). I know you guys are used to getting a book from me every February, but this one has been pushed back two-and-a-half months. My editor and I were both surprised by the news, because everything was turned in on time. The new release date is a result of many things, the most obvious being the fact that so many authors were pushed back this year (2020) due to the corona virus, so they’ve had to move around the schedule for 2021. I was very lucky to be able to go on tour for THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US before corona hit, but other authors had books release in the thick of it—while other release dates have been delayed to help sales. I’m so lucky to have an amazing team working hard to bring my books to my readers. Whether my latest release is your first time reading a book from me or you’ve been with me since DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, thanks for giving my books a read! And I’m sorry for the longer wait!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    This was such a pleasant surprise! I picked it up on a whim because I was kind of in the mood for a fantasy and had packed most of my other books for my move, so I decided to try it out. An hour or so later I was already a third or so into the book. This is a super easy, suck you in, fast paced fantasy read. You follow Ziva who is a blacksmith and also suffers from social anxiety. She is most comfortable with her sister Temra. The two end up having to go on the run together because Ziva created This was such a pleasant surprise! I picked it up on a whim because I was kind of in the mood for a fantasy and had packed most of my other books for my move, so I decided to try it out. An hour or so later I was already a third or so into the book. This is a super easy, suck you in, fast paced fantasy read. You follow Ziva who is a blacksmith and also suffers from social anxiety. She is most comfortable with her sister Temra. The two end up having to go on the run together because Ziva created a weapon of mass destruction that they have to keep out of the wrong hands. They have a mercenary join them for protection and a magic scholar as well. The pacing of this book is exactly what I want from fantasy reads. There was no point where I felt bored or like things were dragging. The anxiety representation was spectacular. I related so much to Ziva's anxiety struggles, although mine isn't specific to social situations. The relationship between her and her sister was the cherry on top for me. I wasn't expecting it to be a main focus because it's kind of glazed over in the synopsis, but I loved it. The romance is a slow burn sort of enemies to lovers deal and it was a lot of fun to read. The characters contrast so much but worked really well together. Overall this was great! I wasn't expecting to hate it or anything, but I just hadn't expected to love it as much as I did. It was fun, action packed, intriguing, and heart warming, all at once!

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    rounding up because while this isnt the best YA fantasy out there, i cant stop thinking about it. i cant stop thinking about the social anxiety rep, kellyn, the cute banter, kellyn, the rag-tag team, the adorable sisterhood, oh, and did i mention kellyn? lol. the fast-paced adventure, extremely likeable characters, quick length, and easy-going writing make this impossible not to binge read. how things end have me biting my nails, so the sequel cant come soon enough! ↠ 4.5 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helena Paris

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. So...that was an evil way to end it, but in no way diminishes my love for it. Like her previous book, The Shadows Between Us, this was so much fun, which put me in such a great mood that I binged the heck out of it in no time at all. I really need to work on finishing the remainder of Tricia Levenseller’s backlist. I’ll be the first one to admit that this isn’t the BEST fantasy that I’ve ever read, yet it simu I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. So...that was an evil way to end it, but in no way diminishes my love for it. Like her previous book, The Shadows Between Us, this was so much fun, which put me in such a great mood that I binged the heck out of it in no time at all. I really need to work on finishing the remainder of Tricia Levenseller’s backlist. I’ll be the first one to admit that this isn’t the BEST fantasy that I’ve ever read, yet it simultaneously checks all of the boxes for me. Adventure? Romance? Sword fights? Witty banter? To be honest, I’d recommend this to Princess Bride and Arthurian mythology lovers the most. It has EVERYTHING going for it!!! (Also, there's a fun Arthurian twist that I think you'll like :P) But there are also so many elements that make it special among the plethora of YA fantasy. Can I just say how refreshing it is to see social anxiety representation in a FANTASY NOVEL? So many times, if I want to see certain representation, I’m usually resigned to seeking it out in the contemporary genre, but, for once, it’s actually in a fantasy book, which makes me soooo happy. Here, Ziva is a reluctant heroine, but not because she’s an antiheroine - no, she is genuinely a good person who doesn’t want her creations falling into the wrong hands. Rather, she just has difficulty in social settings with her anxiety and panic attacks. And her loved ones don’t make her feel any less for it. They accept her for who she is with no exceptions whatsoever, even pointing out that they also have fears of their own, so who are they to judge her? Plus, there is the sweetest and most gentle romance...and the loveliest of sisterly bonds. I really have nothing bad to say about this book, except that now the wait for the finale will undoubtably be torturous. I highly recommend keeping this 2021 release on your radar! :D

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nashita (Hiatus)

    Beauty. Such a silly, superficial thing, and yet, so much danger was created because of it.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars Thank u Bhavya and Madinah for putting up with my overly excited ramblings about Temra💖💖 Just so y'all know Im very extremely pissed. That ending HOW DARE YOU' I cried for days💔 Now before I start crying, ill continue the review Plot "I prefer metal to people, which is why the forge is my safe space.” Ziva has always preferred metal to people. She loves forging more than conversations. Armed with kn Beauty. Such a silly, superficial thing, and yet, so much danger was created because of it.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars Thank u Bhavya and Madinah for putting up with my overly excited ramblings about Temra💖💖 Just so y'all know Im very extremely pissed. That ending HOW DARE YOU' I cried for days💔 Now before I start crying, ill continue the review Plot "I prefer metal to people, which is why the forge is my safe space.” Ziva has always preferred metal to people. She loves forging more than conversations. Armed with knowledge and magic, she uses her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. The only person she loves is her sister Temra for whom she has provided her entire life. She would do anything for her. The sisters together live in a forge. But trouble arrives when Ziva learns that her weapon that is capable of stealing secrets is to be used by a warlord to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees. And joining them is a handsome mercenary whom Ziva has admired from a distance for a while and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world's known magics. Their quest to destroy the weapon takes them on a journey that is unforgettable and deadly Writing I adore Tricia Levenseller's writing. It addictive, fun and heartbreaking at teh smae time. Like her previous books, it had teh right amount of everything and teh pacing was perfect! I loved it a lot Characters Ziva "I am more than my fear and weaknesses, but so much of the time, they're all I can think about." Ziva is character that i absolutely enjoyed reading about. She was totally different from the authors usual MCs. Alosa and Alessandr are shown as like other girls and they're smart, sassy, brave. they're also sexually empowered, independent and the type of person you would think twice before crossing. I was intially skeptical about Ziva bcz i ususally hate the not like other girls thing, but here the author has done a great work! We see an actual reason why she wasnt like other girls. She also doesnt shame others for being a certain way and I loved that. I loved the anxiety rep and how it was dealt with. I found myself relating to Ziva soemtimes when suffered due to anxiety. I loved how caring she was of teh people she loved and her relationship with Temra. It was so pure and beautiful.💖💖 Speaking of Temra A. How dare you B. HOW DARE YOU🔪🔪 The first thing i would like to say is im totally in love with Temra. She's just so fucking awesome!!! If you're wondering where is teh authors signature charcater, look no far because here she is. She is smart, strong and brave. I love how confidnet she is It’s all right, Ziva. Whenever it happens, I’ll be here for you I loved how caring she was of Ziva. She always takes care of her even though its supposed to be the other way around. 💖 the more i think abt her, the more i wanna cry Let us now wipe away tears and talk about the next character Petrik Petrik is literally the most cutest character here. He is a leading expert on ancient magics. At first I was skeptical about him, but then as teh book moved on, i realized he's just a big cinnamon roll. I loved his character. “I’m no good with blood, and I refuse to be party to your ill-conceived ideas Haha but he does end up being a part of all the ill conceived ideas And Im totally aboard the Temra X Petrik ship💖 Kellyn TBH, he is the character I care about the least. He kinda amybe struck me as a bit boring. I was really interested in his character and I loved how he supported Ziva throughout whenever she had a panic attack💖 But compared to all other characters, he was the one I least liked And YES I love the Kellyn X Ziva ship! I cnat wait to see more😌💖 Anyways, Ill be re reading this book before Master of Secrets come out. And until then, im going to pretend this never existed because I cant handle the ~pain~ |Blog|Pintrest| Linktree My rating system: 5⭐ - I loved it soo much! New favorite 4⭐ - It was really good! But something was missing 3⭐ - It was nice..but had more potential 2⭐ - I did not like it at all!... It could have been soo much better 1⭐ - Nope. Just No. I hate

  6. 4 out of 5

    Booktastically Amazing

    (still sounding slightly possessed) Rating: 😊🔪🔪🔪 4.4 *me talking to the mirror pretending it's the author* Let's get something out of the way first. How dare you? Seriously. How. Dare. You. You know what? You are selfish. Bring me to the abysm of heart break, go ahead and rip the life giving elixir from my hands and say 'oh, I'll give it to you a year from now' and all that, has the same energy as to what this did to me. That's a huge no no, ma'am. Don't make me go over there and beg. Yeah, you do NOT (still sounding slightly possessed) Rating: 😊🔪🔪🔪 4.4 *me talking to the mirror pretending it's the author* Let's get something out of the way first. How dare you? Seriously. How. Dare. You. You know what? You are selfish. Bring me to the abysm of heart break, go ahead and rip the life giving elixir from my hands and say 'oh, I'll give it to you a year from now' and all that, has the same energy as to what this did to me. That's a huge no no, ma'am. Don't make me go over there and beg. Yeah, you do NOT want to see me do that. And don't you wish for me to cry out of pain, because I already am, so haha! Jokes on you, hahaha. I need a break from this. I actually don't, but I'm writing this directly after finishing the book (which I never do) and my reviewing capacities have denigrated to a near zero existence. So, bonjour! This is going to be an epic disaster. To be completely honest, I thought this book wouldn't gather such an extreme reaction from yours truly (considering this is a series, and I was aware of the fact that there may be a cliffhanger to keep me hooked. Alas, did I listen to reason? Why do that when you can get completely bamboozled and left for a carcass at the feet of Zeus?) I could've probably finished this in a day, perhaps a few hours. (it being so fast-paced and all) But as we allll know, this chick started this book at 12 am. Meaning, what? She had to stop or dare to approach the life of the living dead in the morning hours. Trust me, they have nothing on me when I'm in that state. I should be casted or something- So yes, I postponed ending this book for a few hours. Woke up and ignored said book. Before, obviously, being forced to read the rest, therefore causing my potato life to be hindered. And I shall say that after all of that (missing) thought process, one thought ran rampant through my synapses, which was: This was so freakishly cool. Believe me, I tried to make that statement sound so much more eloquent, but I'm afraid that slight part of my nervous system is non-existent for the time being. The writing flowed extremely nice, considering I was not focused on it for the majority of the story. Sue me, I was not in the mindset of reviewer. *snort* I really liked how the whole book was written. Being in first person just made it so much better for me, since I like experiencing things firsthand and not third hand (hehe). It immersed me into the world I was reading about, nice imagery adding to the package, no 'I let go of a breath I didn't realize I was holding' crap, no over enthusiastic poetic moments which would take away from the story. Maybe there a few times where I skipped a monologue for being too long. But all in all, not bad. And I say this for the sole reason that this author's books have been a slight hit-and-miss for me these days. And I frankly can mention that I enjoyed it nonetheless. I just lowered my expectation a bit and all was well. I would describe the plot as 'a short amount of pages that tried to accomplish a lot of things and which completed at least half of them'. Yes, that's exactly how I referred to it in my head. You know, it actually works sometimes. That conclusion jump-scared me too, don't worry. Because I'm still overly dramatically angry at how it ended (though I shouldn't be BUT COME ON, I NEED THE SECOND BOOK) I shall roast some small details that are maybe not that worthy of roasting. That being, the world in and of itself. Okay, *COUGH* I have no idea in which time this was set in. Like, none at all. It gave me the sass of the Knighthood era but then shoved the 'Modernized version of the world' down my esophagus. They used words that would be described in this day and age, whereas the clothing and sometime manner of speech sounded too old to be of this century. Let me explain, there were words such as 'school' and 'restaurants'. However, then there were words that literally fit in with the overall 'old esque' aspect. On those part I was all, wait- what? Where are we??? And maybe it's because my lazy behind didn't bother to read the whole map, or it's actually a valid reason to be peeved about. Now, I need to yell a little: THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF EVERY MAGICAL THINGY WAS SO ASTRONOMICALLY COOL, I CANNOT DEAL. Yes, that is it. It was confusingly nice, and I so look forward to knowing more of it. ( Like now. The book. Now) If I could get out of the tomb of ghost hood and haunt the characters for the rest of my non-existent life, it would be worth it. They were so cinnamonic (that sounds like demonic but overlook that detail, please) I wanted to hug them and protect them from the world. ... minus the MC. I'm sorry, you HAD to know I would rant against something in particular, so why not make it (once again) about the main character? It's so much fun to imitate people who probably think, BOOKSY JUST LIKE SOMETHING FOR ZEUS'S SAKE. And I want to say, I am tryiiinnnnnggggg. It's not my fault they're useless! Incredibly moronic! And dumb! You would expect that a smithy with magical abilities would use a sword to defend herself more than once. But nooooo. Well, that's actually not entirely true, she used t for two strikes at the end- logic has no place here. Indeed, I found her personality incredibly relatable and THE SOCIAL ANXIETY REPRESENTATION WAS ASTOUNDING. I actually screamed at times because it made me so happy to see more books representing it. (I'm so sorry that I'm randomly screaming, I have to do exercise and I want to kill something) I liked how strong she was and how she was an amazing sister. Overall, even though I hated her being so weak at times (not mentally, I mean when in fights. Sword which she has in her hand? Useful? Nah, let' just try to talk it out) I'm looking for that character ARC that I'm expecting to blow my brains out and make soup with them. The side characters such as the sister, the handsome mercenary, and the teddy bear-y scholar (he cried over books, ya'll. Forget everything, I loved him) were so well-developed and had such an abundance (less than my adoration level but more than most) of personality I could actually see myself inheriting. I need ammo for future arguments, and they were sarcastic enough and witty for spades to earn a place in the Donate Booksy Banter. Excuse you, I actually need it. I lived for every interaction between the sisters which left me feeling replenished and wiping my eyes because of the beauty. The brewing relationship between the two love interests was too much for me to handle and 'the screech' was present more than once. I awaited patiently (not) for every dialogue and blooming bromance that at times, I caught myself hanging off the edge of my seat for the anticipated surprise. And it DELIVERED. And with what? The romance (bromance). It will never cease to astonish my soul when two characters don't immediately start professing their love for each other after the fifth interaction because it has happened so many times. And this didn't do! Ahhhhh, okay. So. I really, really liked it. Sure the MC fell in the 'crush' zone after seeing the guy, however upon further investigation, he was to die for, so I completely understand. Their lovely banter and awkward moments were a balm to my heart and I squealed so many times I still have a tingly feeling resting against my throat. All in all, it seemed real, attainable and best of all... actually useful. I still think that the Love interest has a long way to go, priority wise, but I hold it in my utmost custody the fact that he will become a future husband of mine. (or I'll wish him dead) For now, he shall rest beneath the pages that I threw in the metaphorical wind after the ending chapters. (yes, I am indeed still petty in regard to that) On a closing note, if it wasn't yet completely obvious, I need the second book. Yesterday, more like. I left this review bubble in my subconsciousness after 5 beautiful hours of sleep, so I attribute all non ethically intelligent mumbling to that. (I cannot promise it won't happen again) The story was enriching in its unique premise, characters were lovely, sisterhood was out and shining (which I stanned. HARD), representation was much needed and very appreciated and the romance was not horrible (like in the previous book I had read from the author) so I would totally recommend just so y'all can suffer just like me. Or not, you may not like it, but hey, some books are just worth the read. And the wait. Ahahhahahahaha 2022 You thought- Worth five stars though? Not exactly. ...................................................... *cleans glasses* *throws glasses at wall* *locates book* *throws it out the window* *shamefully brings it back* *sits on the book* *screams* Ha! I'm totally fine, if you're even the slightest bit curious. Totally not fantasizing of going over to the author and demanding some things. And totally not screaming at absolutely no one because WHAT WAS THAT FREAKING ENDING. WHAT WAS THAT. WHERE'S THE REST. YES, IT IS A SERIES. YES, THERE'S A SECOND BOOK. ALSO, YES. I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL 2022. AHAHAHHAHAHA. 2022. AHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA someone's going to perish tonight AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH *starts screeching out of nowhere* The book, where's the book? Does somebody have the book? I need the book. Give me the book. Hiya, I need the second book. Give. It. (I shall return in a bit. I need to get some things... terminated) (I sound low-key possessed, omg-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    "I'm never gonna finish my TBR", I cry, as I casually add more books to my TBR also, this cover. I'm here for it... "I'm never gonna finish my TBR", I cry, as I casually add more books to my TBR also, this cover. I'm here for it...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bhavya

    “I prefer metal to people, which is why the forge is my safe space.” ~Rating- 3 stars~ Content/ Trigger Warnings- anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks (on page), non-consent violation (mild, is stopped before anything happens) self- harm (mention of cutting for magic related purposes and one character deliberately tries to bruise themselves on page), death of parents (mention), child abandonment, grief, mention of fear of spiders, mention of fear of darkness, mention of claustrophob “I prefer metal to people, which is why the forge is my safe space.” ~Rating- 3 stars~ Content/ Trigger Warnings- anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks (on page), non-consent violation (mild, is stopped before anything happens) self- harm (mention of cutting for magic related purposes and one character deliberately tries to bruise themselves on page), death of parents (mention), child abandonment, grief, mention of fear of spiders, mention of fear of darkness, mention of claustrophobia (small breakdown because of it on page), murder (on page), blood, bullying (on page) - No mention of these in the review- “It’s a phase,” Temra says, reading my thoughts. “It will pass eventually.” “I’m sure you’re right.” But I don’t believe it for a moment. Ziva prefers metal to people and spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her. She uses her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power, but when Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, she creates a sword capable of stealing its victims' secrets. This sword is more powerful than any weapon Ziva has made before and when Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees. Joined by a mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world's known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely. “Beauty. Such a silly, superficial thing, and yet, so much danger was created because of it.” The plot of the book was entertaining, and kept me hooked from the beginning to the end. It is fast-paced and Blade of Secrets is a perfect book to get you out of a reading slump. There were a few plot twists but I felt they could have been foreshadowed a bit more. Otherwise, the plot was satisfying. “One day, you’re going to fall madly in love. You’ll find someone who will make you want to leave the forge. You won’t even see him coming.” “The day the world runs out of iron ore will be the day I leave my forge. But even then, I’m sure I could figure out something with copper.” The world of Blade of Secrets was interesting, but this was the least developed part of the book. While I would have liked more world building, I think it was a good choice not to be too descriptive about the world. This is one of the rare instances where I was happy with the lack of world building, as I feel it wouldn't have flown well with the plot. Extreme details of the world were not necessary, and I was glad it was not there. "I am more than my fear and weaknesses, but so much of the time, they're all I can think about." The writing of the book was great. It was easy to follow along and perfectly fit the tone of the book. The chapters were short and the book did not feel like a drag. This was my first by this author, and I am looking forward to reading more work by Tricia Levenseller. “Love is uncomfortable at first. It’s terrifying and exhilarating. But that will pass. It will become easier and something that you need rather than want. And if that doesn’t happen, then you’re with the wrong person.” The characters were the best part of the book. They were all flawed and well-written, but most importantly they felt like realistic teenagers and acted accordingly, which was a relief. In most YA books I've read, the characters are the same age as me, yet I cannot connect to them as they do not feel like an authentic depiction of teenagers. Fortunately that does not happen here. ◙ Ziva “I wish I had her [Temra's] fearlessness. I wish I could rid myself of the sinking sensation that feels like falling whenever I’m on display. I wish it didn’t become hard to breathe when someone new wants to strike up a conversation. I wish I wasn’t helpless in a crowd. I wish my body didn’t dictate how I’m supposed to react to things. That I could just tell it, Behave, and it would listen. I wish I could separate myself from the fear, to learn who I truly am.” Ziva is our main character, and I loved reading from her perspective. I loved seeing the metal health representation in a fantasy book, and I loved seeing Ziva's day-to-day struggles because of it. “I’ve always forged my own weapons. I enjoy the process of creating something out of nothing. The magic is wonderful, too, but I love shaping steel into what I need.” I also liked the fact that Ziva made weapons for a living. I feel this isn't explored much in fantasy so it was nice to read from Ziva's POV. ◙ Temra “Ziva. A sister is the most special gift you could ever be given. Better than any doll. She will be a best friend you can take with you through life. Someone who will love you no matter what.” Temra is Ziva's sister, and their sisterly bond was a joy to read about. Temra is the exact opposite of Ziva, but their clashing personalities only strengthens their love. Their relationship was the best part of the book. "It’s all right, Ziva. Whenever it happens, I’ll be here for you." ◙ Petrik Petrik was my favourite character! He is such an adorable cinnamon roll. “I’m no good with blood, and I refuse to be party to your ill-conceived idea." I loved his relationship with Temra, though I wish it was more of a slow burn. ◙ Kellyn Kellyn was an ok character, but he didn't make much of an impression on me. “Sometimes change takes generations," Kellyn says. "And sometimes people disregard the law to pursue their own beliefs.” I liked him a lot more once we got to know more about him, but I wish he was more developed. “When did I become the leader of this poorly-stitched-together group?” Overall, The Blade of Secrets was a fun read. While I enjoyed it a lot, unfortunately it still remains only a 3 star for me. Despite the wonderful mental health representation, there wasn't much about this book that made it unique form the rest of the YA books I have read, but it is still a great read. "My life is a world of opposites. One instant I'm safe in my forge; the next I'm on the run for my life. One second I'm fine, and then I'm lost to despair and panic. I can't control any of it." Buddy read with Nashita and Madinah. Thank you so much for reading it with me! Review written on 29th August, 2021. DISCLAIMER-All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it. How I Rate- 1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed 2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed 3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing 4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing 5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite ................................................... This was entertaining. Buddy read with Nashita and Madinah. 3 stars. Review to come. ……………………………………………………………… Really excited for this one!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lia Carstairs

    i felt that when one of the characters was silently crying while being forced to burn the pages from his book yes, this haunts me more than the cliffhanger RTC ____ after loving the shadows between us so much, im really excited for this hehe buddy read with lauren!! i felt that when one of the characters was silently crying while being forced to burn the pages from his book yes, this haunts me more than the cliffhanger RTC ____ after loving the shadows between us so much, im really excited for this hehe buddy read with lauren!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    RTC after a re-read but obviously I loved it and think it's one of the most wonderful fantasies out there . . . because I felt so seen and understood by it. I received a digital ARC from Feiwel & Friends via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Quotes in the review and reading updates were taken from an uncorrected ARC copy. RTC after a re-read but obviously I loved it and think it's one of the most wonderful fantasies out there . . . because I felt so seen and understood by it. I received a digital ARC from Feiwel & Friends via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Quotes in the review and reading updates were taken from an uncorrected ARC copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    CW: (view spoiler)[anxiety and panic attacks (hide spoiler)] Well it was very enjoyable and also quite disappointing. Hear me out. I actually think the set up was soooo good and I was excited for the 'epic-ness' that I expected to follow. Whilst I enjoyed how the story progressed, the action and magical showdowns that had been, in my opinion slightly foreshadowed, never really developed. Instead it was quite a relationshipy type of story, heavy on romance, with people travelling from one place to CW: (view spoiler)[anxiety and panic attacks (hide spoiler)] Well it was very enjoyable and also quite disappointing. Hear me out. I actually think the set up was soooo good and I was excited for the 'epic-ness' that I expected to follow. Whilst I enjoyed how the story progressed, the action and magical showdowns that had been, in my opinion slightly foreshadowed, never really developed. Instead it was quite a relationshipy type of story, heavy on romance, with people travelling from one place to another. If I knew this I think I would have had my expectations set to 'romance' and not 'magical sword of amazingness used in showdown with evil megalomaniac kick-arse female warlord'. See where things went wrong for me? Expectations eh! They can make or break your reading experience. Just okay for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

    One of my favorite reads of 2020 was The Shadows Between Us—which was my first time reading a Tricia Levenseller book—so I was very excited when I heard about Blade of Secrets! And this book did not disappoint! Listen, I don’t know how Levenseller does it, but her ability to fit in so much in such short books is wildly impressive. While Blade of Secrets is the first in a duology, it surprised me how much character development and action Levenseller managed to squeeze into the first book alone. Wi One of my favorite reads of 2020 was The Shadows Between Us—which was my first time reading a Tricia Levenseller book—so I was very excited when I heard about Blade of Secrets! And this book did not disappoint! Listen, I don’t know how Levenseller does it, but her ability to fit in so much in such short books is wildly impressive. While Blade of Secrets is the first in a duology, it surprised me how much character development and action Levenseller managed to squeeze into the first book alone. With Blade of Secrets, I especially enjoyed seeing how Ziva changed as a person, but also how the dynamic between Ziva and her sister Temra changed over time. When the book starts, Ziva is both wildly co-dependent of Temra, but also steadfastly protective of her, which in and of itself is an interesting dynamic to navigate. Temra, while equally protective and loving toward her sister, very evidently wants to branch out and find her own place in the world that isn’t necessarily by Ziva’s side, and this creates conflict between the two as it becomes more apparent to Ziva that what she wants isn’t what Temra wants. Watching these sisters clash over their conflicting interests throughout the book, and seeing them learn to respect each other’s wishes and grow into themselves—Ziva especially—was such a realistic and gradual evolution, and I’m in awe of how well Levenseller made it work, especially for how short the book was. So, yes, I loved Ziva and Temra and exploring their relationship, but we can’t forget about Kellyn and Petrik. I don’t want to spoil too much about these guys, but I have to give Levenseller kudos, once again, for writing such perfectly imperfect male leads! On top of that, the banter between our four main characters was just too fun at times, and I found myself laughing out loud while reading. Now, we really need to spotlight the anxiety rep in this book because it is phenomenal, in my opinion. I don’t know really anything about Levenseller and whether or not she herself experiences anxiety, nor is it my business to speculate whether that is the case, but if she doesn’t, I cannot applaud her enough on how accurately she depicts Ziva’s social anxiety, down to the smallest mannerisms. At first, I even found it a bit difficult to fall into a steady pace with reading Blade of Secrets because being inside Ziva’s head was rather overwhelming with the rapidity of her thoughts and sensory overload she was constantly facing. But truly, Levenseller did such a fantastic job at making Ziva’s anxiety feel real and consistent, and not just like a tacked-on personality trait for the sake of mental health representation, nor like a caricature depiction of anxiety. Additionally, I cannot say enough how much I appreciated the fact that Levenseller was so careful about making sure Ziva’s love interest didn’t carry on the role of trying to “fix her”, and that he, rather, worked with her to understand her anxiety and help her in what ways he could while allowing her the space to figure things out for herself. When it comes to mental health, it seems to be such an easy trap for authors to fall into where they want one character to “fix” the other character, and that is just so damaging and disappointing to see in portrayals of mental health. Even though Blade of Secrets was only my second experience with a Tricia Levenseller book, I’m now, more than ever, thoroughly convinced I need to read more from her, and I’ll definitely be back for Master of Iron when that is eventually published! **Thank you to Fierce Reads for an eARC of this book!**

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    4 stars! Wow. The wait for the second book is going to kill me. Blade of Secrets is about Ziva, a magic bladesmith, who imbues magic into the weapons she forges. Dealing with social anxiety, she relies on her sister Temra to handle most of the communication with customers and everyone else in her town. By mistake, Ziva ends up creating a sword that reveals secrets when it cuts someone, and she soon realizes in the wrong hands the owner of the sword can conquer the world. She and her sister flee, 4 stars! Wow. The wait for the second book is going to kill me. Blade of Secrets is about Ziva, a magic bladesmith, who imbues magic into the weapons she forges. Dealing with social anxiety, she relies on her sister Temra to handle most of the communication with customers and everyone else in her town. By mistake, Ziva ends up creating a sword that reveals secrets when it cuts someone, and she soon realizes in the wrong hands the owner of the sword can conquer the world. She and her sister flee, with a mercenary and a scholar, and they hope to find a way to destroy this new magic weapon. Tricia Levenseller has become an auto-buy author for me. She’s published five novels and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. And lucky us, she seems to release one a year so it’s not like the wait times are killer. I loved that the main character of this book had social anxiety. I think Levenseller did a great job depicting it. While I personally don’t have the same level of social anxiety that Ziva does, I’ve experienced much of what she did in this book on a smaller scale, and like her there are times when I need to be alone. Having a character like Ziva, I think many people will be able to relate to her and I love it. I thought this book was wonderful. The plot was a little bit all over the place in terms of the challenges the main characters faced, but it was really fun overall. The romance in this was great and I liked all four main characters a lot. I’m so excited to read the next book, you guys have no idea.

  14. 4 out of 5

    spring ~♡

    At eighteen I hate to leave the house and be around people. Honestly, the amount of relatable moments in this book is unreal. Specially in the first couple of chapters. This might be my favourite book by Tricia Levenseller so far. Ziva has social anxiety, and that makes her automatically my favourite person in the world. I felt her. Not everyday you get to read about a protagonist who has the same anxiety problems as you. Ziva is socially awkward. She can make the best deadly magical At eighteen I hate to leave the house and be around people. Honestly, the amount of relatable moments in this book is unreal. Specially in the first couple of chapters. This might be my favourite book by Tricia Levenseller so far. Ziva has social anxiety, and that makes her automatically my favourite person in the world. I felt her. Not everyday you get to read about a protagonist who has the same anxiety problems as you. Ziva is socially awkward. She can make the best deadly magical weapon without loosing a sweat over it but when it comes to attend a party she is something like this- Has being social killed anyone in the history of the world? Surely not, but that does not seem to matter to the lead weight in my heart or the buzzing insects in my stomach. Or if you ask her about the world, I just wish the rest of the world would disappear.” “That’d be an awfully empty world.” “Exactly.” did I mention I love her? Ziva hates attention. While her sister Temra (honestly why would you name your child "Temra" that is beyond my understanding) is bright, fiercy. They balance each other. Every time Ziva has to "socialize" Temra is there to make things normal and bearable for her. The sisterly bond is the second best thing in this book. So Ziva caught attention of a certain warlord in a party. The warlord requested her to make a magical sword for her. Unfortunately Ziva outdid herself. She accidentally makes a blade so powerful it can tell you anyone’s deepest secrets. Also, it has a very long range. The sword can't be destroyed (I know! just the cherry on top) so Ziva had to make sure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. There you go, we have the wildest adventure ever. I personally don't like a book that is mostly about traveling. But I didn’t feel bored for a minute. Ziva, Temra, Petrick, Kellyn managed to capture my attention from the very first and I ended up liking all of them. I'll surely be holding my breathe for the next book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    aly ☆彡

    As I'm about to write a review on this (after 5 days reading them, I still squealed like I just finished it). I honestly going into blind when I started reading the book. I went through the synopsis but did not thoroughly read them. The story is about Ziva, who loves to spend her alone time in the forge creating unique weapons imbued with power using her magical gift. Simply to say, she loves metal more than she is with people. Then, she was commissioned by a warlord, to create the most powerful As I'm about to write a review on this (after 5 days reading them, I still squealed like I just finished it). I honestly going into blind when I started reading the book. I went through the synopsis but did not thoroughly read them. The story is about Ziva, who loves to spend her alone time in the forge creating unique weapons imbued with power using her magical gift. Simply to say, she loves metal more than she is with people. Then, she was commissioned by a warlord, to create the most powerful blade and has created one that could cut far deeper than the length of its blade. But here's the catch, it could also whisper secrets of the people it killed. Unknowingly, after the warlord intentionally cut herself to the weapon, she discovered her wicked intentions to use the weapon and enslave all the world under her rule. And Ziva did the only right thing to do with her sister. They fled. Along the way, they hired themselves a mercenary as well as getting a young scholar who has extensive knowledge of magic to follow. This book takes reader together to escape and find themselves a safe place from the dangerous warlord. 1. Ziva Ziva is a magical blacksmith who also suffers from social anxiety. Often time, she is envious of her carefree sister, Temra who gets to flirt, talk to other people and put forward herself out there without having to worry about what people think of her. I love how Ziva's character is presented authentically. Like a Fantasy YA with mental illness representation? Yes, sign me up! Tricia really did well in writing Ziva. You can see whatever actions Ziva did is a reflection to her anxiety and I could honestly relate to that. Another thing that I love about her is Ziva's relationship with her sister. You can see how much she loves and is very protective of Temra, having to be the rightful guardian after both of their parents were killed. In whatever outcomes or decisions she made, she'll always put Temra first. Even when her potential love interest chose to save her than her sister, she would hold grudges on you for that. She just had too much love for Temra and I appreciate that (because 85% of the time, I want to beat tf out of my sister). 2. Temra Temra can be a very admirable character. Even when she is the younger one, she takes care of her anxious sister very well and become her self-appointed protector. Always come out at the right moment when she knows there is turmoil going on in that brain of Ziva. Is carefree, good with blades and overall still lovable. I just felt like that one part of her burst was rather sudden but this is probably the author's way of showing Temra's flaws and I could commend that. 3. Kellyn Kellyn is an interesting character. He was deemed as attractive, making Ziva captivated by his charm when she first saw him... only to be repulsed at how disgusting he is. At one time you can see him staring at Ziva (like you think he really likes her) only to refuse to help her when there is no money involved. Like, why so confusing(πーπ)but things changed as Ziva get to know him. I particularly like how fiery Kellyn is. He is arrogant but also sweet and caring when it comes to her and his family. 4. Petrik Petrik is a nice addition to the group. I especially love seeing the dynamic between him and Kellyn, offering some humour and a light atmosphere in the book. The most admiring character of his would be his loyalty towards the Tellion sisters. Petrik may be seen as a subsidiary but is equally sweet, which made him important to the story. Needed to say, the characters in this book is to die for. They are all amazing and loveable. I was hoping this to be a found family trope later on because these people are just, again, darling. However, the world-building still need to be polished and I believe it will get better in the next book. The plot is alright since there is not much going on in the book. You really just see them trying to escape and save themselves after moving from one place to another. But this will be a series(?) So, I believe we have a long way to go. The ending was definitely a surprise. I did not see it coming and I can't wait to see how it will contribute to the shift in the connection between characters. And the cliffhanger..... Give me the second book as soon as possible!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jodi Meadows

    I can't wait for everyone to read this book! I can't wait for everyone to read this book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maggie V.

    TRICIA. SIS. You- I- yes. Just...yes. This is officially my favorite Levenseller. First of all- the idea is so gosh darn cool and original?! Hello magical blacksmith?! I’m obsessed. The book is action packed from start to finish. We love the adventure. We love the characters. We LOVE the romance. Also, the representation of anxiety (or ANY mental illness for that matter) in a fantasy novel?! From the MAIN character???? Unheard of! And so. Well. Done. The social anxiety aspect of this book was th TRICIA. SIS. You- I- yes. Just...yes. This is officially my favorite Levenseller. First of all- the idea is so gosh darn cool and original?! Hello magical blacksmith?! I’m obsessed. The book is action packed from start to finish. We love the adventure. We love the characters. We LOVE the romance. Also, the representation of anxiety (or ANY mental illness for that matter) in a fantasy novel?! From the MAIN character???? Unheard of! And so. Well. Done. The social anxiety aspect of this book was the reason it was such an anticipated read for me this year. This is not something one sees in fantasy. It is something I would LOVE to see more of in fantasy. (Neurodiversity for the win!!!) And I was not disappointed. It was really accurate and relatable and real, just, so real. And it added to the plot and the character development rather than taking away or distracting from the story. Just listen to this quote: “I wish my body didn’t dictate how I’m supposed to react to things. That I could just tell it, Behave, and it would listen. I wish I could separate myself from the fear, to learn who I truly am.” TRICIA, WHO LET YOU INSIDE MY HEAD?! Blade of Secrets seems to know some of MY secrets, tbh. Ugh, but it was so good people. This book is full of magic and adventure and love and hope and it was such a wonderful escape (as I binged it like the glutton reader I am). I recommend this book to anyone who is into YA fantasy because it’s just fun and exciting and a great read, but I EXTRA recommend it to my fellow social anxiety (or general anxiety) peeps. Because, wow. I mean...slow clapping it out for Tricia on this one. Ya did good. Ya did real good. Read it people! It’s great. And thank you Tricia! Now I have to wait till next year to find out what happens which is TRAGIC. Pre-release review: SHUT. UP. A fantasy novel with a main character who has social anxiety? WHERE WAS THIS FOR TEENAGE ME?! I don't care, I'm just glad it's here for 20-something year old me. Straight to the TBR. This sounds AMAZING, I'm so pumped! I hope May comes soon!!! Thank you Tricia!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Thanks so much to Edelweiss and the publisher for the early copy. You'd think I'd be happy about this, but now I have to wait a million years for book two, and I not okay about this, especially with an ending like that!! I would like to be like other reviewers and exclaim, "I was so surprised by this book!" or "I was not expecting to like it," but I'm not those people because Tricia Levenseller is an auto-buy author for me, and I knew from the moment she posted the cover reveal on Instagram that Thanks so much to Edelweiss and the publisher for the early copy. You'd think I'd be happy about this, but now I have to wait a million years for book two, and I not okay about this, especially with an ending like that!! I would like to be like other reviewers and exclaim, "I was so surprised by this book!" or "I was not expecting to like it," but I'm not those people because Tricia Levenseller is an auto-buy author for me, and I knew from the moment she posted the cover reveal on Instagram that I was going to absolutely fall in love with it. In short, I was not surprised that BLADE OF SECRETS blew my gourd. But all of that is a given. What we have here, folks is something completely different. We have a social anxiety rep in YA fantasy. I knooooow the release is so far off and I shouldn't post quotes from the book just yet, but I have to do just ONE I need to get out there: "I've always been a poor sleeper. it often takes me hours to find oblivion, my mind unable to stop thinking about all the things that are troubling me." Ziva has anxiety. She forges magical weapons and likes to keep to herself. She obsessed over the simplest things; her mind often going into overdrive. She needs time to recharge, to be alone. She has trouble sleeping, and can't look people in the eyes when talking. She hates when people stare at her; it makes her feel like she's on display and that she needs to hide to get away from it. Ziva is me. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to have an anxiety rep. Ziva is a heroine all young girls can cheer for. She envies her sister's easy, outgoing attitude and often wonders why she can't be that way too. But she doesn't need to be, because we're all built differently. After she forges a powerful sword for a warlord, she realizes the blade takes secrets from it's bearer. She learns of the warlord's intentions and, with her sister, a scholar, and a hired mercenary, she leaves her home to outrun the warlord and keep the blade from enemy hands. This book had plenty of raw moments. Ziva is not the best fighter, in fact, she seems reluctant to even brandish a weapon. Her anxiety keeps her in a bubble, but knowing the magical sword could hurt others, she comes out of her comfort zone, and that is something to applaud. People with anxiety don't often like change. We'll drive the same road to somewhere, even if it's longer, just because it's something familiar. We like our quiet, and we hate confrontations. For Ziva to do what she did took great bravery on her part. The world is safe in terms of fantasy books. There's magic, but only for a choice few. The cities and towns and landscapes all feel familiar. I loved the whole ragtag band of runaways, although I do hope to see more of Temra in the second installement. The romace was slow burn-ish and sweet. Kellyn is arrogant, but he's also sweet and cares more than he lets on. The story moves at breakneck speed. At no point was I ever grazing over paragraphs. Reading this book felt like stepping into a world where people are just like you and me and must fight for what's just and right. But there's also the safety of love and family. I believe Ziva is a great role model for young adults who are wondering why they're not like everyone else, and hopefully realize that they are heroes regardless of their mental illness, disability, etc. I am beyond excited for Tricia and for readers to get their hands on this book. It's a special one, and I hope you all love it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    4.5/5⭐ A different main character than I'm used to from Tricia Levenseller but I really loved our main cast and the romances...and the adventuring. I am incredibly curious what a sequel will bring based on this ending as well as the magic expansion. I am however terrified that this series gonna be another Primrose Hunger Games ending. 4.5/5⭐ A different main character than I'm used to from Tricia Levenseller but I really loved our main cast and the romances...and the adventuring. I am incredibly curious what a sequel will bring based on this ending as well as the magic expansion. I am however terrified that this series gonna be another Primrose Hunger Games ending.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/05/09/... I went into Blade of Secrets expecting fun times, and I was totally not disappointed! I loved Tricia Levenseller’s The Shadows Between Us and so it was no surprise her new Bladesmith duology is off to a rockin’ start, with all the action, adventure and humor I could possibly ask for. The story begins by introducing us to Ziva, our titular bladesmith who possesses a magical talent enabling her to make enchanted weapons tha 4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/05/09/... I went into Blade of Secrets expecting fun times, and I was totally not disappointed! I loved Tricia Levenseller’s The Shadows Between Us and so it was no surprise her new Bladesmith duology is off to a rockin’ start, with all the action, adventure and humor I could possibly ask for. The story begins by introducing us to Ziva, our titular bladesmith who possesses a magical talent enabling her to make enchanted weapons that are highly sought after across the realm. One day, she hopes to save enough money for her and her younger sister Temra to strike out on their own and make a new life for themselves. However, Ziva also struggles with severe social anxiety, and usually it is the bubbly and charismatic Temra who is the face of their business and the one to deal directly with customers. Ziva herself is completely content to work at her forge in the back of the shop alone, where she can stay far away from crowds and avoid any interaction with strangers. Still, every once in a while, the sisters must make a social appearance, especially in the noble circles of their most lucrative clients. It is during one of these soirees that Ziva meets Warlord Kymora, a former general of the King and said to be the greatest swordfighter in all the land. Kymora, who is aware of Ziva’s reputation, wishes to commission from her a magical sword. She is also willing to pay handsomely, even offering Ziva a position in her household as her personal weaponsmith. Starstruck and honored by the praise, our protagonist agrees and sets about trying to forge the most powerful sword she has ever made. But how? Her magic works in mysterious ways, and often a weapon’s magical effects are imbued during the crafting process and won’t even manifest themselves completely until after they’re finished. Unexpectedly, the answer to Ziva’s predicament comes in the form of a beautiful stranger she spies passing by the front of her shop as she was in the middle of crafting the weapon. Something about him causes her her forget about her anxieties just long enough for her half-made sword to react, thus giving Ziva the idea to imbue the metal with her most private thoughts. In the end, a blade more powerful beyond her wildest dreams is forged—one not only capable of cutting its victims from a distance, but also revealing their secrets from spilled blood. This is how Ziva discovers Kymora’s deepest desires and realizes she can never allow the sword to fall into such dangerous hands. With no choice but to run, the sisters hire a mercenary to help guide them through the wilderness, as well as a traveling scholar who may be able to help them destroy the magical blade. I don’t know how she does it, but I just can’t seem to get enough of Tricia Levenseller’s fun, refreshing style! Those who know me know this is not the kind of YA I typically go for—it’s cheesy, fairly predictable and full of clichés, and yet I ate it all up. There’s just something about her writing that makes it easy to overlook these aspects. Some authors try too hard, resulting in overly contrived plotlines and characters, but Levenseller seems to own it, employing well-worn albeit beloved genre tropes like they’re going out of style, and appears not to care one whit about it. I have no idea why such an unapologetic and unabashed approach makes a difference, but it does, while simultaneously delivering an experience that feels more authentic somehow. I also believe a good story must start with the characters, and here is where I think the characterization of our protagonist really shines. Anyone who has ever struggled with social anxiety will immediately relate to Ziva, especially during the segments where we are inside her head, experiencing the sheer panic and fear of being in a roomful of strangers, feeling like you can say or do nothing right, while the sensation of being watched, being scrutinized is ever closing in, tightening around your chest, making it hard to breathe and think straight. It’s a cycle that plunges a person into paralysis, making you feel helpless and out of control, and it can be extremely unpleasant. My heart broke for Ziva, and having been in her shoes, I felt her portrayal was realistic, sympathetic, delicate and thoughtful. Simply put, her character is not defined by her social anxiety, but it is as much a part of her as, say, her love for her sister, or her determination to do the right thing. This I feel is representation done properly, and not just another box for an author to check off in order to score some internet woke points. I truly felt close to the protagonist, and while all the other characters—Temra, Kellyn, Petrik, etc.—were fantastically written as well, it was still Ziva alone who had a special place in my heart. Needless to say, I am now a completely sold on anything Tricia Levenseller does and a hundred percent going to be all over the sequel. While Blade of Secrets ended on a semi-cliffhanger in that not everything is hunky-dory but you still know they’ll turn out okay, I’m nonetheless itching to get my hands on the next book to see what happens next. That’s the power of a good story, one that allows you to just kick back and have fun. Audiobook Comments: Loved, loved, loved Emily Ellet’s narration and portrayal of Ziva as well as the other characters in this charming, lovable cast. Her performance was great, and I hope I’ll be fortunate enough to listen to her again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fallon

    I have become such a fan of Tricia Levenseller and her writing. She far surpassed my expectations with this one. I knew she was going to touch on anxiety which is very rarely done in fantasy. However, I thought it would be minor and she showed how debilitating anxiety can really be and this is woven through out and not just a minor detail. I understood Ziva and related to her courage to push herself to survive. The sister dynamic in this book is refreshing and I am also a sucker for a well writt I have become such a fan of Tricia Levenseller and her writing. She far surpassed my expectations with this one. I knew she was going to touch on anxiety which is very rarely done in fantasy. However, I thought it would be minor and she showed how debilitating anxiety can really be and this is woven through out and not just a minor detail. I understood Ziva and related to her courage to push herself to survive. The sister dynamic in this book is refreshing and I am also a sucker for a well written sibling book. The way the relationships are written are so spot on. In one instance you have Ziva who has had a hard time talking to anyone let alone boys. She sees someone that takes her breath away but that does not mean it changes her anxiety and yet her sister loves boys and has an ease flirting and talking. This is such an important book for me and I am sure many others. If you do not suffer it is so hard to describe how it feels but being sucked into someone's journey and world is like living with something unfamiliar. Hopefully this helps teens not feel alone and for others to understand. I will be recommending this and hoping it opens up the conversation. So many suffer in silence. A must read and 5 out of 5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    ☘ Lily ☘

    3.5 stars Maybe I'm a bit biased since The Shadows Between Us was one the best books I've read last year. Maybe because it's YA and I cut this book a little slack. Because it wasn't that bad actually. If you like a travel from one place to another plot like me, then you might like it too. I was rooting for these kids and hope none of them died in the end. So, that's a huge leap for me. Although, the main character's anxiety issue really brought the rating a bit down. I know progress shouldn't be fo 3.5 stars Maybe I'm a bit biased since The Shadows Between Us was one the best books I've read last year. Maybe because it's YA and I cut this book a little slack. Because it wasn't that bad actually. If you like a travel from one place to another plot like me, then you might like it too. I was rooting for these kids and hope none of them died in the end. So, that's a huge leap for me. Although, the main character's anxiety issue really brought the rating a bit down. I know progress shouldn't be forced quickly but I wished she could stand on her own and be a bit wiser with her decision. So, hopefully we get to see that side of her in the next book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    *Spoiler free* I have a soft spot for Tricia Levenseller books, so I was ready to read whatever her new one was going to be. She has a way of writing that makes it so easy to fly through her books. They don't take themselves too seriously, so they feel light, fluffy, and the good kind of cheesy. So, a Tricia Levenseller book about a blacksmith with social anxiety sounded like it would be right up my alley. Like, I love swords. And the MC MAKES magic swords? Yes, I was very, very eager to read thi *Spoiler free* I have a soft spot for Tricia Levenseller books, so I was ready to read whatever her new one was going to be. She has a way of writing that makes it so easy to fly through her books. They don't take themselves too seriously, so they feel light, fluffy, and the good kind of cheesy. So, a Tricia Levenseller book about a blacksmith with social anxiety sounded like it would be right up my alley. Like, I love swords. And the MC MAKES magic swords? Yes, I was very, very eager to read this one. Trigger warnings: minor self-harm, anxiety Yes, I still very much have a soft spot for Tricia Levenseller. This book was so good. I guess I'll start off with the big thing: the anxiety rep. It's more specifically social anxiety, but every single facet of it was something that I just got. I got the need to feel safe and comfortable, of your thought spiraling and coming up with worst case scenarios, of having your skin crawl when faced with certain social interactions. I got needing time alone to recharge, of caving to be somewhere safe and alone. I got how Ziva felt fine one second, and then incredibly anxious the next, since I have had that exact experience. Sometimes the feeling of being done just creeps up on me. I got how Ziva hates how she feels sometimes, how she wishes social interaction wasn't so hard all the time. I got how she felt like she was being so awkward all the time, even though she logically knew that wasn't the case. There was just so much about her character that I understood. One of the best things about this book, is that this anxiety rep takes place in a fantasy book. There's sword fighting and roadtrips to escape a warlord and magic. Ziva interacts with her world like an anxious person would, but her world is a fantasy world. I know those seem like such obvious statements, it's a bit hard to explain. Ziva is allowed to exist in this fantasy world. Her anxiety is allowed to exist in this fantasy world. This book had everything I love about fantasy books, and it also had something that I deal with. It had a character interact with a type of world I love so much like I would interact with it. I know my explanation is rough, but I think it's worth saying haha. Alright, moving on to characters. It is obvious that I love Ziva, but I loved every single other character too. Temra was feisty and not what I expected at all. She's strong and she's brave and she's fully capable of handling herself. Plus, the sister relationship between her and Ziva was top notch. Petrick is awkward, and just wants to study magic and write his book. Though, he does have some snark in him. Kellyn is a mercenary and definitely knows his way around a sword. He has snark in spades, but he's actually very sweet, and a really solid dude. Romantic relationships! Ah, I loved these so much. The side one, the smaller one, is still one that I was completely invested in. And then the main romantic relationship, oh I swooned so much. It's sweet and it's adorable and it's understanding and it's caring. It has it's bumps, but the snark that comes out of those bumps is amazing. And the kissing scenes were wonderfully fantastic, which I feel is very important to mention haha. I feel like I can't do this review without mentioning the swords and the blacksmithing. Though I don't think I could handle the heat of that trade, I still think it is so, so fascinating. So it was so awesome for a character to be able to make magic swords! It was so cool how the magic worked and how Ziva was able to make these magic items. Plus, the whole overarching plot was amazing. It's basically a roadtrip to escape an evil warlord. There's snark and banter along the way, with plenty of sword fights and almost captures along the way! And it's made all the better by Levenseller's writing. Her light and fluffy writing just works for this book. It gives everything a sweet undertone, which doesn't seem like it would bode well for a fantasy book, but it just does here. So, I really, really loved this book. It was everything I loved about Tricia Levenseller books with so much more. The social anxiety rep, the sister relationship, the romantic relationships that made me want to melt, magic swords, snark, and a good amount of humor just made this book incredible.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joleen (starlightbooktales)

    4 stars Every time I pick up a Tricia Levenseller book, I am constantly impressed. Blade of Secrets was fantastic! It has adventure, a relatable MC, and one awesome plot twist. There is not a lot of fictional characters that I can relate to, but Ziva comes the closest. Her struggle with anxiety mirrors my own. It was nice to see an MC feel the way I often feel. And I absolutely adored her relationship with her sister. Those two genuinely care for each other and it shows. We also get a precious rom 4 stars Every time I pick up a Tricia Levenseller book, I am constantly impressed. Blade of Secrets was fantastic! It has adventure, a relatable MC, and one awesome plot twist. There is not a lot of fictional characters that I can relate to, but Ziva comes the closest. Her struggle with anxiety mirrors my own. It was nice to see an MC feel the way I often feel. And I absolutely adored her relationship with her sister. Those two genuinely care for each other and it shows. We also get a precious romance that I hope everyone loves. Now let's talk about that plot twist. Obviously, I won't spoil it but I was taken aback. I did not see that coming. I mean seriously what an ending! Thank you to Netgalley, publisher, and author for this one!

  25. 4 out of 5

    MiraC

    Okay, I do not know how I will survive this wait. Heroine who is a normal career girl instead of an assassin/warrior/queen? Yes. Heroine who is incredibly skilled at something other than the fantasy standards of fighting or magic? Yes please. Heroine with social anxiety? YES PLEASE.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽♔

    Honestly, I wish it was longer! I finished it in a day and now I want more. *Review to come*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melanie (TBR and Beyond)

    I'm complete trash for Tricia and I'm not even sort of sorry about it. I'm complete trash for Tricia and I'm not even sort of sorry about it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie ϟ Bookseller

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 3/5 stars: ★★★☆☆ "I wish I could separate myself from the fear, to learn who I truly am." In this retelling of the origins of King Arthur's sword, metal-magician Ziva is commissioned to make a sword for a warlord who turns out to be intent on using the magical weapon to take over the kingdom. When Ziva learns of her patron's intentions, she flees with the sword, her sister Temra, a hired mercenary to I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 3/5 stars: ★★★☆☆ "I wish I could separate myself from the fear, to learn who I truly am." In this retelling of the origins of King Arthur's sword, metal-magician Ziva is commissioned to make a sword for a warlord who turns out to be intent on using the magical weapon to take over the kingdom. When Ziva learns of her patron's intentions, she flees with the sword, her sister Temra, a hired mercenary to protect them, and a scholar of magic who insists on following along. Full of adventure, romance, violence, anxiety/mental health-representation, and a dash of magic, this was a fun and easy-to-follow story for fans of Daughter of the Pirate King or Sorcery of Thorns. I am consistently pleased by Tricia Levenseller's writing abilities. I really cannot think of a YA fantasy author who writes so clearly and makes her plots so easy to follow. I really feel like I got everything I needed to out of this book despite speed-reading it at times, which is impressive and really speaks to the clarity of the writing and plot design. That being said, this is a very simple story. Ziva makes a sword with immense power, including the ability to reveal the secrets of those it cuts. While testing the sword, the powerful warlord who commissioned it cuts herself and Ziva is made aware of the lord's intentions to take the kingdom by force. Ziva runs, fearing what her creation might do to the world. This concept is simple, and the events that follow are spaced widely and explained well. Conflicts arise and are settled, clues are dropped very obviously, and everything gets resolved. Well...not quite everything, because this will be a duology, but there is no big cliff-hanger and the direction of the next book is made extremely clear. Also, I need to throw in some appreciation for Kellyn the mercenary. Hottie!!!! And sensitive. We like. Any-who...with this book's simplicity is also its lead character's very typical, almost textbook, experience with her anxiety disorder. While I appreciate the representation, as someone with multiple anxiety disorders myself, I consistently almost felt spoken down to about something that I myself have. When Ziva would have a panic attack, for example, it didn't feel right in the story. if anything, I felt like I was being taken out of the story, read the definition of a panic attack, and the dropped back into the book as if I could pretend that nothing had happened. Also, for someone with pretty extreme anxiety, Ziva seemed to come up with some pretty clever comebacks and well-spoken words in general, which just didn't feel genuine. My own anxiety makes me stutter, go completely blank, or even ramble endlessly, depending on the situation. Ziva never did any of this, and always said the right things to move the plot perfectly, so...it just felt like the book was already written and then the author decided to splice in Ziva's inner thoughts about her anxiety later on. It just didn't flow. Blade of Secrets was a good story and I'll probably read the next book. I liked the romance and the twists, and the concept of an Arthurian re-telling without Arthur or Merlin (so far) is a nice and creative change. Just be aware that those with anxiety, or those expecting a complex high fantasy, may be disappointed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Madison Mary

    "The day the world runs out of iron ore will be the day I leave my forge. But even then, I'm sure I could figure out something with copper." Levenseller is back with a fantasy duology centred around sisterly bonds, social anxiety, and slowburn romances. ARC received from publisher for an honest review. Featured on my YouTube channel in a May 4th ARC reading vlog: https://youtu.be/yShogJjMCTE REVIEW Tricia Levenseller is one of my favourite YA authors and I was so excited to receive an early fini "The day the world runs out of iron ore will be the day I leave my forge. But even then, I'm sure I could figure out something with copper." Levenseller is back with a fantasy duology centred around sisterly bonds, social anxiety, and slowburn romances. ARC received from publisher for an honest review. Featured on my YouTube channel in a May 4th ARC reading vlog: https://youtu.be/yShogJjMCTE REVIEW Tricia Levenseller is one of my favourite YA authors and I was so excited to receive an early finished copy to review from the publishers. I will admit, this duology has a totally different feel from her other four novels--but it is refreshing. Our Characters Ziva - bladesmith with the ability to imbue weapons with magic Temra - Ziva's younger sister who Kellyn - the mercenary hired to help Ziva and Temra escape the warlord (he named his sword Lady Killer). Petrik - a young scholar writing a book on magic who convinces the girls to let him tag along Ziva has a social anxiety/panic disorder. She works in her forge alone, and her younger sister works at the front desk to deal with customers for her. Whenever she has to interact with a person she avoids eye contact and speaks in few words. Afterwards, she replays the conversation in her head over and over--scrutinizing every detail, afraid she said something stupid. If she is in a crowd, she is afraid people are staring at her. And if people are laughing, she thinks they are laughing at her. Ziva hates her social anxiety, but has accepted it as a part of her. We rarely have a main character in a fantasy novel with social anxiety, and that made me really appreciate this novel. Ziva is an unlikely hero because she just wants to live her life in peace, away from society--but she is also a genuinely good person and knows she has to step up to avoid letting her sword fall into the wrong hand. When her mind isn't spiraling from anxiety, she has a rather hilarious inner monologue. I found myself cackling from time to time at her blunt observations and classic introvert remarks on the world. But what I really loved was watching her slowly open up to Kellyn. Ziva and Kellyn's romance is extremely slowburn (especially compared to the other romances Levenseller has written before). But it was also one of the sweetest romances I have read all year. I absolutely adored the way Kellyn paid attention to Ziva and noticed when she was having her panic attacks and needed space. He was so observant and it just made the romance all the more cuter because Ziva was so shy around him. They also have some greater banter and it added to the chemistry brewing between them. Kellyn isn't my favourite love interest of Levenseller's, but I thought he was perfect for this novel. I was also really glad that we got to see more of his true self toward the end of the book and I think there will be a lot of growth for him in the next book. While this story is mainly about Ziva's journey and growth, the secondary focus is on sisterly bonds. I am a huge fan of fantasy novels that focus on sisters, especially when it is done right. The sister bond in this book reminded me a lot of Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross because of how the sisters interacted with one another. Ziva and her younger sister, Temra, have a very realistic and raw relationship because they have had to rely on one another since their parent's murder. Their dynamic is interesting because while Ziva is the elder sister and the breadwinner, it is Temra who is always looking out for Ziva and making sure she is safe. And despite their fierce loyalty, the sisters are envious of one another: Temra is jealous of Ziva's magic and feels stifled by her isolating nature, while Ziva is jealous of Temra's social skills and natural beauty. I really loved them together and how they fit their roles. This is 100% getting added to my list of "fantastic sister relationships in fantasy." Another note on Temra. I will admit that at the beginning I was worried she would be a little one dimensional--but once the journey begins, she flourishes. There is so much depth to her character and she has a lot of hidden strength behind her flirty façade. There is so much to be said about Temra and I kind of wish we got her POV. I really hope we get to explore her further in the sequel, but I am also super nervous. Which leads me to our final traveller, Petrik. I honestly think he is my favourite character in the book. Petrik has a lot of banter with Kellyn and it is utterly hilarious. I loved every time they bickered and made fun of one another--it was classic Levenseller writing. He is a scholar but knows how to step up to the plate when the situation goes awry. I also thought his budding relationship with Temra was super cute--but I do wish we got to see a little more of it. Quote between Petrik and Kellyn: "And you're wearing a dress because...?" Petrik glares at the man. "These are robes. I was trained at the Great Library of Skiro. And I'll have you know I am a leading expert on ancient magics." "And just many people are in your field?" Sadly this book is not a 5-star for me, but all of Levenseller's other novels have been. I just felt like that extra oomph was missing from this book. A lot of time was spent on Ziva's anxiety, and while I appreciated that as someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, it removed me from the book at times and slowed the pacing. But, the last third really picked up in it's pacing and had a shocking plot twist--which led me to bump it up a quarter star. I have no idea where the plot is going to go in the sequel and am nervous about how the book ended (mild cliff-hanger), but I am so excited and can't wait!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Joseph-Perez

    It was fantastic I love this author like always been here since Daughter of the Pirate King and I will be here till she's done writing! It was fantastic I love this author like always been here since Daughter of the Pirate King and I will be here till she's done writing!

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