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Sword of the Guardian (Legends of Ithyria #1)

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  682 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A shocking assassination creates an unconventional bond between a princess and her guardian in a kingdom filled with political intrigue, danger and unexpected romance.


Princess Shasta Soltranis enjoys a pampered life of court dances, elaborate finery, and the occasional secret fencing match with her twin brother, Daric. But in the midst of a birthday celebration, her world
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Bold Strokes Books
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The Warrior's Path by Catherine M. WilsonA Journey of the Heart by Catherine M. WilsonA Hero's Tale by Catherine M. WilsonThe Dark Wife by Sarah DiemerSword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon
Lesbian Fantasy
5th out of 118 books — 81 voters
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah WatersFingersmith by Sarah WatersAnnie on My Mind by Nancy GardenKeeping You a Secret by Julie Anne PetersFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Lesbian Fiction
86th out of 1,081 books — 1,321 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,543)
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LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
This was one of two books I purchased when I decided I wanted to give Bold Strokes Books' f/f fiction a shot. Sword of the Guardian was my first choice – when I read that it starred a princess and her cross-dressing guardian, I knew I had to have it. It was a surprise to me that I enjoyed Jane Fletcher's Rangers at Roadsend as much as I did, and I fully expected to enjoy Shannon's Sword of the Guardian even more. Unfortunately, Sword of the Guardian turned out to be a disappointment.

My biggest p
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Alex
Ahahahahahaha, this book was ridiculous. It was this lesbian fantasy novel SO OF COURSE I ENJOYED THE SHIT OUT OF IT. Bordered on some trans stuff, interestingly enough. Would happily read any and all sequels to this story. I mean, this wasn't magnificent in terms of writing or plot, but WHATEVS. I LIKED IT, OKAY??? DEAL.
Voronwer
Thank god this book is finished. There were several times I just wanted to stop, but since I'd read over half, it felt like a waste of effort to give up.

Sword of the Guardian has all the ingredients to make an interesting story. I love the whole girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy-so-she-can-play-soldier setup, but was disappointed on the whole. Halfway through, it felt like the book would soon be coming to the end. Maybe it should have.

My problem mainly lies with the characters and their development. I
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Maria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian
I really enjoyed how the romance aspect of this book was handled. I thought the author did a good job making it develop naturally, if somewhat inevitably. I was especially impressed by the relationship between Erinda and Talon -- it's common in fantasy novels for the starring pair to never know anyone else, and I appreciated giving Talon prior experience.

However, in other ways, the book struggled. The world is standard issue for fantasy novels with nothing to make it stand out. The plot was also
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Tara
I picked this up because the second book in the series just came out and I wanted to read this first. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad I did. Loved the characters, loved the story. The romance is so lovely, and I particularly loved that the book took place over a few years, so I really believed in the relationship (especially with how hard won it is). I'll definitely be reading this one again.
KA
I was really hoping to love this, even (especially??) the cheesy parts, because F/F fantasy is like pizza, right? Even when it's bad it's good. But ultimately I got very frustrated with the writing. The world-building was all over the place and seemed to be cobbled together from elements of other fantasy novels as suited the plot. Attempts to make the setting medieval felt half-hearted and anachronistic, and the elements of fantasy were only there to serve as dei ex machina when the author got l ...more
Kylie
I liked this quite a bit. I picked it up because of the similarities in plot to The Rose of Versailles (mainly the woman dressed as a man being guardian to a princess), and in that department it didn't fail me, though it is very different overall. I had no problems with the writing style, it was engaging enough to keep me reading. The language was fairly modern but since it is set in a fantasy kingdom there's no fixed time period it has to adhere to etc.
Trin
Really love the battle part, and the priestess are so cool during the fight.
Hope Merry Shannon make sequel for the child... Ofcourse, expecting more exciting lesbian romance and adventure!
Artemis
Remember the cliché: "Don't judge a book by its cover"? As much as I love the book, I must say that the cover is not exactly an attention-grabbing highlight. Trust me, the story itself is much better.

Now, the story itself...

Oh dear, I love Shasta's character. I love the transformation from the naive and somewhat spoiled child to the playful and feisty young woman to, finally, the courageous and stunning Queen.

And Talon, the tall, dark, brooding and handsome... woman. Goddess, I love how these tw
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lov2laf
This was a really solid, entertaining story. We are introduced to Talon, an orphaned acrobat masquerading as a man and looking out for her two sisters. Because in an act of heroism she saves Princess Shasta, she is assigned as her royal bodyguard.

This tales takes place over approximately four years and, in it, we see Princess Shasta mature from a naive, petulant teenager to a strong, wise young woman. The first 2/3rds of the book are the day to day exchanges between Talon and Shasta. Talon essen
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Liralen
Moderately ridiculous but generally entertaining fantasy lesbian romance. Not going to argue with that, but am going to make snarky comments:

King Soltran: My daughter is being pursued by an assassin, and I must keep her safe. The obvious thing to do is hire an acrobat to be her bodyguard. It's perfect -- the acrobat is secretly a girl, so Shasta's virtue won't be at risk.

Captain Vaughn: I'm teaching the lad -- ha ha -- to be a soldier. I'm one of the only people who knows the boy -- ha -- is rea
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Laylah
Nov 24, 2012 Laylah marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving up on this one about a quarter of the way through. The prose is perfectly fine but the story is hitting too many notes that don't work for me. I want my lesbian fiction to feature women who know themselves and their desires, especially in secondary worlds; reproducing marginalization and alienation in fantasy doesn't do it for me. Talon's "I've lived as a boy for so long, my body has forgotten it isn't male, ack!" reaction to kissing a girl and liking it just depresses me -- it would ...more
Lucy Ritter
Disguised as a young man to protect herself and her two sisters in a traveling troubadour act, acrobat Talon unwittingly foils a mysterious assassin from killing Princess Shasta seconds after the prince and heir to the royal house of Rane is cut down. Taking advantage of Talon's ruse, the king promotes the young hero to lieutenant, and charges her with becoming the perfect, everpresent bodyguard for the headstrong princess, including keeping her gender a secret. With the assassin still at large, ...more
E.L Wholf
I enjoyed it.

At the time I was looking for an easy, fun read and that is what I got. It's like being in the mood for and getting plain vanilla ice cream - it's not complicated or exotic, but it hits all the right spots.
'Branded Ann' is the same - a nice quick Saturday or Sunday afternoon read.
Alfie
I enjoyed reading this book (more then once actually). It brought me into another world for a visit and that's really why I read books. Though I have read better lesbian romance stories however together with the danger and fantasy it really pulled me in. I had recently read "Nightshade" by "Shea Godfrey" and wondered if these authors had come together for tea and discussed religion because I found many aspect of the Goddess and the veiled women very similar. That's not a negative mind you, just ...more
Jazzmin Moore
enjoyable

I love reading fantasy novels and to find one where the protagonist is a woman that falls in love with another woman is great
M
Oct 01, 2012 M rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: l-books
This is a very nice fusion of a classic fantasy story with a lovely romance.

It had all of the battles, intrigue, innocence and magic you would expect from a story written by David Eddings or Raymond E Feist, and rather like these books, this is a light and escapist piece of fiction.

The story has (for me) an unapologetic lesbian romance at it centre, which is allowed to evolve and grow throughout the story. Even through the characters might be inherently cliches, the writing drives the story onwa
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D.
This book was great, just great. It had drama, suspense, romance, action and some comedy. The story was engaging and entertaining that it was hard for me to let go of the book. It was hard to understand the time lapses, they use moons and winters instead of months and years, but it's fine once you get used to it. The ending was kind of like any other kind of happy ending, but it was still a great, if not, interesting ending. I give it perfect score and if you like this kind of books, then I woul ...more
Jess
I knew what I was getting into before I started the book, but I was more intrigued by the description of Talon rather than the lesbian relationship. I did enjoy the story in some parts, but others seemed... well... too easy. When the going got tough something always worked out jussssst right for our ladies. And the entire ending just smacked of "happy ending tralala" to me. With a little smudging of the sex scenes I would deem this a fit book for young teens, but not so engaging for an adult or ...more
Cidney
Possessive tranny guardian protects hot, young princess... love the idea. The whole guardian dynamic is sexy. I don't normally read fantasy, but I'm exploring some different genres under romance and made an exception with this author because I loved her other book so much (Branded Ann). I love this author's style, but this was a little too Young Adult for me. It was a pretty fun read, but I'd like to re-visit these characters when they're all grown up.
girlwithglasses
This was a quick, easy read, perfect for unwinding with whilst attending a conference. I did find the main characters' lack of awareness of their sexuality a little disconcerting -- fair enough for Princess Shasta, but would someone who had been crossdressing since childhood and who was supposedly very attractive to the ladies really never have thought about her own sexual urges?
Min
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Milkiways
For a change, I chose to read this book because of Kings, Queens etc., However, I am not too impressed by the plot! In every civilization stories, there was female warriors and same sex relationships however, this book sounds too unrealistic, dragged too much!
Alena
I couldn't put it down for the first 3/4 of the book. So much delicious tension between Shasta and Talon! Once the tension between them was gone and the big battle began I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't as addicting anymore.
Rebekah Weatherspoon
I haven't read any fantasy in a long time. This book was awesome. Great characters, a great plot, realistic love story and the action at the end was very cool. I can't wait for the next installment.
Jenna
LOVED IT. Great story, great characters.. and man, that end battle was EPIC. The book was not perfect, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Alicia


I really enjoyed this book, good story, well writen and edited.
Champongramen
Wow... that's what I call a really really good book.
Jeanne
Good book different which made it more fun.
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Mostly Lesfic: * Sword of the Guardian March 2012 56 83 Feb 19, 2014 08:33AM  
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Merry Shannon was born in California and grew up a military brat. Raised in a conservative family, she was not allowed to watch cartoons and moved around so much that she made few friends; and so she turned to books for companionship and entertainment. She fell in love with reading at a very young age, and soon began to write her own stories.

Her love of fantasy and adventure began very early, and
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More about Merry Shannon...

Other Books in the Series

Legends of Ithyria (2 books)
  • Prayer of the Handmaiden (Legends of Ithyria, #2)
Branded Ann Prayer of the Handmaiden (Legends of Ithyria, #2) Women of the Dark Streets: Lesbian Paranormal

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