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Sword of the Guardian (Legends of Ithyria #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,275 Ratings  ·  70 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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Bold Strokes Books
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Lesbian Fantasy
269 books — 207 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Book Worm
First of all I have to say that I like the book. I think it is solidly written. The medieval fantasy world is quite detailed and entrancing. I like the characters and I think it is a sweet love story.
However, I have a small problem with this book. Yes there are the inconsistencies other reviewers have already mentioned (Talon being a girl was supposed to protect the princess' virtue, but as this is a secret, it really doesn't. - being just one of them), nevertheless this is not so much what bot
Megan EM
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lex Kent
My favorite type of book to read is a really good world built f/f fantasy book. And this is exactly what you get with Sword of the Guardian. This has turned out to be one of my favorites ever just behind the series of Dragonoak, Arravan (Nightshade), and When Women Were Warriors. While being slightly better then the fun series, The Chronicles of Arianthem. If you enjoy these types of books, do not hesitate to read this. You won't be disappointed!
I'm looking forward to reading the next book in th
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
So, I enjoyed this one but I didn't love it. The world-building was relatively good and the lead characters were fairly well-established, but their growth felt somewhat simplistic to me, especially in the case of Shasta and Bria. Both characters started with one personality and ended up with another, but I never fully believed the transformation for either of them. Shasta spent literally 67% of the book responding to nearly every situation with a tantrum that placed other people in danger, then ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: girl-love, meh
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
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
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Amy Aelleah
DNF - PG 108


(le sigh, this is the third and final lesbian fantasy I bought at the same time that didn't work out for me.)

Other reviews have noted (and noted better than I could) the flaws in the characterization and world building. I do not deny that they are there. I, however, was ready, willing and able to overlook them because I am so desperate for a good lesbian fantasy story. And, truthfully, I could kind of like Talon and Shasta both, even for all their flaws. (Both intended and not, I
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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.
Kathy Salt
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a little bit silly at times and I found a partical detail of the ending very predictable. But it was heartbreaking and beautiful and I loved how it spanned over several years. If you want a novel with fantasy-tones, a gentle and androgynous female hero pretending to be a man and a seemingly spoiled princess, this is the book for you.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF. I tried so hard to stick it out and there parts that I actually quite enjoyed, but the plot was so slow!!!! Seriously, there was no progress. The pace wasn't just slow, it was nonexistent. It got so frustrating after a point and I just did not see the point of continuing... So disappointing.
plot was straightforward and the sex scenes were basic. kudos for featuring a butch/femme relationship, though.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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!
Cee Jelly
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: femalexfemale, so-so
This book is really a pleasant surprise of a potentially great story. But that's all to it, potential, wasted.

The writing:

Nice and vivid descriptions, clearly effort was put in. I enjoy the wording presented.

The story:

Everything before Shasta discovered Talon's true gender is solely for characters' development and romance, with little foreshadow of what to come. About the real plot there is... Despite the setting of a fantasy combined with medieaval world and the fight between royal bloods goi
Better suited for young adults

As one with an ever present, extremely vivid, and sometimes overactive imagination, I'm very in touch with my inner child. When I found myself groaning disbelieving several times during this book, because the depicted circumstances were flung beyond far-fetched into the realm of ridiculously unlikely, disappointed surprise ensued, followed by several iterations of WTF?! Also, I noted at least a couple of jarring editorial inconsistencies, and I found myself wonderin
This fantasy novel features Princess Shasta, who is left as the heir to the throne of Ithyria when her twin brother is killed by an assassin. The princess escapes the assassin's attack through the efforts of Talon, an acrobat masquerading as a man. As a result, Talon becomes assigned as the princess's personal guard and joins the palace staff along with her two sisters. There are further assassinations, war, priestesses who can shoot blue fire from their hands, and developing feelings. I enjoyed ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Honestly? The story itself was well written and enjoyable- I found myself breezing through it- and the sexuality element is introduced naturally....UNTIL the princess is involved. Maybe I'll have to give it another try but once the princess decided she was in looovvve (which was an overnight occurrence apparently), suddenly the romance felt incredibly and aggressively forced. It went from slow burn to charred quicker than you can say "now kiss!". Maybe I'll give it another chance at some point.. ...more
Michaela Dean
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was an okay read. It had pretty solid characters but the plot was fairly predictable and kind of boring. Felt a little bit weird because of the age gap but the couple of chapters that were will they wont they when the princess didn't know Talon was a girl were fun. I want that but like extended the entire book and also everyone knows Talon's gender.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book so much!
april campbell
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good writing and story

I wish this book was written way back when I was young. It would have given me so much joy and hope for the future
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has a pulse... and I missed the characters and the world of Ithyria once I finished the story.

I can always tell how much an author has loved and clearly imagined her own story by how much I can clearly experience them myself... I really appreciated all the detail and imagery and character development that went into this story. It spans a 4-year period as the key characters all grow and mature here from adolescence into adulthood and find their purpose in life. You feel you have lived a
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Worse upon reread. Though I guess the gender role stuff bothered me a little the first time too, but um, anyway. I needed some better fluff than the other lesbian princesses book I read.
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Mostly Lesfic: Sword of the Guardian March 2012 56 87 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
More about Merry Shannon

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