Of Pens and Swords by Rena Rocford
This is such a difficult book to review. I loved the storyline but not the characters who were stereotypical and lacked depth. Cyra stomps around with a huge chip on her shoulder regarding her missing hand and her sarcasm came across as bitchy instead of a more understandable defense mechanism. Her friendship with Christine appeared to change in a blink from dislike to best friend and nearing the end (no spoilers here) the emotion felt forced.
The story itself is melodramatic and at times trite. The ‘real’ romance was lacking… just that – romance, I did not see the spark between Cyra and Rochan.
On the positive – the cover is beautiful and the font used for the chapter headings is to die for.
The fencing side to the story was brilliant and a refreshing change from stories featuring the more common sports such as football and ballet (except not ballet because I love ballet books!). I am not a sporty person and am often bored by the play-by-play descriptions and explanations of the rules, but the author handled the sport really well, allowing it to shine but not dominate.
Recommended age: 12+
Title: Of Pens and Swords
Author: Rena Rocford
Published: 21 March 2016
Curiosity Quills Press
Seventeen-year-old Cyra Berque wants two things in life: a date with Rochan and a chance to fence at the Olympics. But people with one hand don’t normally fence, and girls with big thighs don’t get the boy. Knowing that she wants to make the Olympics, Cyra’s coach sets her up with another coach, one who could take her all the way to the top, but the new coach costs more. Feeling her dreams slipping out of reach, Cyra agrees to tutor a ballerina with a rich father and a D minus in English. It’s triple the pay and triple the pain. The ballerina isn’t interested in passing classes―she wants Rochan, and she’s promised she’ll turn her D minus into a full-fledged F if Cyra doesn’t help her win the heart of Rochan. — Abstract from Goodreads.com
The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.