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The Defiant Heir

(Swords and Fire #2)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  2,058 ratings  ·  255 reviews
Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all seventeen lords to decide a course of action.

Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to smother the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruc
Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Orbit (first published April 19th 2018)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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James Tivendale
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I received an advanced copy of The Defiant Heir in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Melissa Caruso and Orbit Books. *Minor Spoilers May Follow*

In the second entry to the Swords and Fire trilogy, we pick up events approximately a month after the finale of The Tethered Mage. Everybody seems pretty content in the world of Eruvia right up until the point that some of the Empire's Falcons and their Falconers start to turn up murdered. Known as The Serene Empire's secret weapons t
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink


Okay *breathes*

Oh, I love this series, and I loved this book even more than the first (which I also loved) *ahem* excuse my babbling. But hello yes if you love court and political intrigue READ THIS SERIES.

I'll do a better review soon :)
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’m always a little nervous going into a sequel to a book I loved, especially when the story and characters are still fresh in your mind. Knowing you are jumping into a new adventure that can change the course of everything you know or shift the game as swiftly as the weather is sometimes a terrifying thing.

But as it turned out, I had an amazing time with Melissa Caruso’s The Defiant Heir. In fact, I pretty much couldn’t a
Hafsah (on hiatus)
The Tethered Mage 4⭐
"I had my hand on the quill of fate as it wrote the next chapter of Eruvia's history, and it was up to me not to spill red ink all over the pages"
Do you love a book full of ancient magic as well as political intrigue and everything that comes with it? One that's perfectly paced and has a range of unique, complex characters that you're likely to never forget? If so you better full-on SMASH that tbr button right now, my friend. Trust me, you won't regret it because this b
Liz Barnsley
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored The Tethered Mage- a brilliant start to a fantasy series so heading into The Defiant Heir I was hoping for great things and boy did I get that and then some.
I’m such a huge fan of the way Melissa Caruso builds her world and her characters in perfect harmony with each other, The Defiant Heir moves us forward in page turning, addictive, beautifully written style.
Magic and mayhem abound as our heroine Amalia and her “scooby gang” – that’s my thing by the way, I love the group dynamic- try
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! Full review to come!
Kalyn Josephson
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is hands down my favorite book of the year.

Aside from obviously being an undying fan of Kathe (I mean, he's the freaking Crow Lord, how could I not be?), I loved everything about this book. The characters are so distinct and vibrant and complicated, the magic is beautiful and technical and detailed, the world is expansive and deep and so, so lush. Vaskandar is the sort of setting I could disappear into. I want to know so much more about it (and so we will! The author sold another series!!).
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This whole serie is alot about politic and power and it is quite different from what I am used to read in a YA fantasy Book.
I really like the world arround the falcons, the questions about magic, freedom and love.
It was a new setting in this sequel and it was fun.
So far a great second book I will be happy to read the third one.
Tara (Spinatale Reviews)
The Tethered Mage was one of my favorite books of 2017 so I had high expectations for The Defiant Heir. Somehow, The Defiant Heir was even better than I was expecting. There was absolutely no second book syndrome here. The character development was amazing, the banter witty, and the plot wonderfully engaging. This is technically adult fantasy but I think there’s a lot of YA cross-over appeal.
"I’ll be careful, I promise”
My mother’s mouth crooked toward a smile. “I’m not certain I believe you. But
Blodeuedd Finland
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ok so I was crushing hard on someone in this book, haaard! Leave Marcellus behind and run away with this guy, stat! He was the perfect trickster/fool *dreamy sigh*. You hear me, Amalia! You forget that other guy this instant!

Right. So in the last book Amalia became a Falconer, which means she controls someone with magic. She does want to make it better for those with magic, so they do not have to be forced to become falcons. She did not choose to become a Falconer either, but what can you do. An
A stirring sequel that cements my affection for Melissa Caruso’s work as well as her thoughtful, conscientious protagonist and her flamboyant, rough-tongued warlock.

The series continues to explore the implications of its internal logic, to my delight. It’s not easy being La Contessa’s daughter, but Amalia is showing a flare for it. But will she be able to live with what that means?

Excellent world-extending, intriguing mysteries, magnetic new characters and an epic threat. Honestly, I love this
Sheila Goicea
I hope The Tethered Mage is good so I can read this one...the cover is just...<3

Literary Han
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, fantasy, ya
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Whilst reading the first book in this trilogy (The Tethered Mage) I was eagerly anticipating the second novel (The Defiant Heir) as I had heard from multiple sources that the second book is a lot better.

If you read my short review of the first book you would know that I was not overly impressed. It felt very juvenile and things tied up too well. There were little repercussions and the Main Characters were saved in the nick of time. This is not believable and so I had to
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
4 1/2 Stars

The Tethered Mage was one of my favorite books read in 2017, and I loved The Defiant Heir even more. It's extraordinarily fun with amusing dialogue and some quirky personalities, I enjoyed the growth of Amalia and Zaira's relationship, and it was fascinating to learn more about Vaskandar and Amalia's family on her father's side.

Full (Long) Review on My Website
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
This book was even better than the first one!!

Issues first: still not a big fan of Marcello.

All the rest is great!!!

I loved that we are in Vaskandar this time, and that we get to discover both the landscapes, the creatures, the castles, and the Witch Lords from up close! It's so good to see another part of the world and not just stay in Raverra or in the Serene Empire!! Some scenes were just awesome and I wanted to actually see them, to actually be there!!!

I still love Amalia, who shows even m
The Library Ladies
(Full review here at the

I was so excited when I received an ARC for this sequel! “The Tethered Mage” came out of nowhere last fall and quickly became one of my favorite reads for the year, so I was so excited to see what antics (troubles?) Amalia and Zaira would get themselves into this time. So much so, that I brought this book along with me on vacation, which was probably not the best choice since it actively distracted me from all of the “real vacationing” I was apparen
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, magic
Who would have thought I would fall in love with a fantasy trilogy? An unexpected pleasure! This trilogy starts with the Tethered Mage, which I just loved! Strong women, and plenty of them, performing magic to save their empires. The subtext dynamic of Falcon and Falconer is fascinating and powerful. The Defiant Heir continues the story, and it was all consuming. Hit every note. Apparently, the third comes out in April 2019, The Unbound Empire. Have got to see this through! I have fallen for eve ...more
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fucking hell. I loved this one even BETTER than the first. Like what the hell is that about? ReeDICKULOUSLY political. the fucking romances guys. the WORLD BUILDING. the MAGIC SYSTEM. Be prepared to never stop hearing about this series yall.
Sydney (sydneysshelves) West
The romance! The Political Chaos and Maneuvering! I love this series so much. Its amazing and you should read it.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This trilogy is so underrated.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

The Tethered Mage was a fantastic 2017 debut that I immediately loved. I had high hopes for this trilogy and anticipated that it was only going to get better, and let me tell you, it exceeded those expectations more than I could have ever possibly imagined. The world keeps expanding and Caruso’s skills at writing become more and more apparent as the story moves on.

The Defiant Heir is where this trilogy really seems
I love this series so much. I've seen a few people say they didn't like it because it's 'too YA' but I disagree. I admit that there are certain aspects that lend it to YA - the first person perspective (although this has been done successfully in adult fantasy, too. Case in point) and the protagonist's love interest. But with such rich worldbuilding and characterisations this is a series that is broad in scope and which I find endlessly fascinating. Do I think this series is for everyone? No. Bu ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, magic
Okay, this is gonna count as a review for both 1 and 2, really, because I am lazy. Five stars to both, though - and I read them on a whim because a friend recommended them on the spot. I did audio format for both so it's difficult to pick outstanding lines, but man, were these good. A magical world with everything from elemental warlocks who control fire and storms, to 'artificers' who embue devices and create instruments of magic, and alchemists, who create magical potions, I found the worldbui ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Once again, Amalia and Zaira are called to save the day and prevent war with Vaskandar, the northern state that is more like seventeen domain and in each domain rules a witch lord.
Those witch lord are very powerful and immortal bc they're connected to their land and every living creature there, including human. There can be only one witch lord in every domain, which mean that they live long after their children had long passed away. There for, to some of witch lords there is much interest to
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
2.5 rounded up.

Not as good as the first book. It felt very much as though the author was running along the standard 'YA novel plot' track in this. And there was a love triangle, which means I drop a star.

It wasn't bad, but nowhere near as good as the first one.
LJ Waguespack
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A breathtaking thriller that does not miss a beat in a fantastic journey. Outstanding continuity, this story flows with passion, consequence and heart. Onto book three, what a great ride, thank you Melissa Caruso, work well done.
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vid review on September, 16, 2020 here ...more
Melissa Hayden
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The political games are visible here. In both Vaskandar and the Empire. These plots and plans and twists keep me listening. I want to know what will happen or how things will change when someone does something unexpected.

The characters feel to be alive, keeping me cheering and hoping for them. I'm loving all the aspects I'm getting here! All are weaved together, creating the people by their plans and choices in life and politics.

Melissa has moved up to one of my favorite writes with this book.

Calvin Park
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Defiant Heir, sequel to The Tethered Mage, and the second book in Melissa Caruso’s Swords and Fire series is a wonderful story that manages to be epic in scope but intensely personal in feel. It’s the sort of sequel that builds on the first novel and yet manages to continue to leave you guessing and discovering new aspects of the world and characters. Caruso has given us a page turner in this one, a novel that demands to be read.

It’s hard to know where to begin singing Caruso’s praises when
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was even better than the first book! Full of even more excellent characters, amazing world building and definitely a lot more romance. It had everything I love!

Amalia and Zaira are sent to her Grandmother's in Callamore, a land that joined the Empire through her mother's marriage to her now dead father. It borders Vaskandar, where troops have started to build up. Amalia starts courting Kathe, a Witchlord from Vaskandar (there are 17, and all are mages). Through him she can attend the Concla
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review at The Quill to Live:

I am going to Europe next week, so I felt like reading about pseudo-fantasy Venice as I was packing. In order to scratch that itch, I am back with a review for the second book in Melissa Caruso’s Swords and Fire series, The Defiant Heir. Also, while we are on the subject – I realized in book two that the reason the series is called “Swords and Fire” is that it’s about trying to accomplish things while using neither. It is
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Play Book Tag: The Defiant Heir by Marissa Caruso; 5 stars 4 14 Feb 22, 2019 12:14PM  

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Melissa Caruso is the author of THE TETHERED MAGE, first in the Swords and Fire trilogy, out now from Orbit books.

Other books in the series

Swords and Fire (3 books)
  • The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire, #1)
  • The Unbound Empire (Swords and Fire #3)

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