Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swordheart” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(The World of the White Rat)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  4,217 ratings  ·  686 reviews
Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate... and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws... and the ...more
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Argyll Productions
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swordheart, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mikhail Soooooome. The main plot isn't touched upon except in a very offhand fashion, but a few of the setting-based surprises will be a little less surprisin…moreSoooooome. The main plot isn't touched upon except in a very offhand fashion, but a few of the setting-based surprises will be a little less surprising.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,217 ratings  ·  686 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Swordheart
K.J. Charles
Second read. I was saving this one for time of need and by God this is one. As comforting, wise, funny and sharp-edged as I recall. I could really use a new T Kingfisher right now.


An absolute joy. Set in the Clockwork Boys world but with ostensibly far lower stakes--we're not saving the world from demons, here, just saving a widow from being forced to marry a cousin. Except that what we're actually saving is a woman's self-respect and a man's humanity, which actually is stakes high eno
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
4.5 Stars ⭐️

Buddy read with my MacHalo lovelies! This was a fun book and I love Sarkis!!

The end!!!!!!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Lois Bujold
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who like fantasy adventure romance humor
Recommended to Lois by: random internet review apprised me of its existence; prior books by the author primed me to grab it

Well, that exactly suited my reading mood rainy yesterday. Fantasy-romance-adventure-humor. A beleaguered widow finds herself the inheritor of a magic sword, after which nothing goes as either of them expects.

Set in the world of the previous duology The Clocktaur War. Reading that first would inform the world-building in this smaller-scale tale, but I don't think is required. The romance has something of the same Kingfisher flavor as the one from that story (and some others), which, if you like
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
⚔️ Fluffy Stabby Things for the Win Buddy Read (FSTftWBR™) with the MacHalos and stuff ⚔️

There are only three things you need to know about this book:

It's hilarious as fish, as I may or may not have perhaps mentioned before (maybe) (view spoiler).

② It features what is considered—at least in my subaquatic dominion—an outrageously unhealthy amount of fluffy stuff and romantic crap. And still I gave the book a most barbaric 5 star rating (view spoiler)
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Swords and sorcery novel featuring, as the author put it, “a beleaguered magic sword saddled with an inept wielder.” And because it’s written by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon), you know it’ll be done well.

The magic sword Is inhabited, genie-like, by a mercenary whose spirit was involuntarily attached to the sword many years ago. The holder of the sword is a thirty-something woman who’s had a rather rough life. It’s an engaging story with appealing main characters, Set in the same world as Clo
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who can appreciate a funny romcom in a fantasy setting
Recommended to jade by: a friend who's a loving fan of the romance genre and well aware of my personal hangups with it
“yay!” said halla, when sarkis handed her the jar.
“no one,” said sarkis wearily, “in my entire life, has ever said, ‘yay’, when i handed them a jar of piss.”
“well, there’s a first time for everything.”

when someone says, ‘fantasy romance’, i think of historical romance and fairy tale retellings. y’know, the stuff with either yearning and longing glances or surprisingly explicit erotica. might also come with a free dose of Rippling Abs and/or Hot Inexperienced Girl.

this book, however, turned
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, humor
Halla is a respectable widow who was housekeeper to an artifact collector and scholar until his recent death. After the entire estate of the collector was willed to Halla, she is imprisoned by her husband's family until she agrees to marry her brother-in-law so that the family can get their hands on the inheritance. Halla resolves to kill herself rather than be married and unsheathes an old sword on a wall to do it. But when she unsheathes it a magical warrior, Sarkis, appears with a mission to ...more
Final update: This should've been much shorter (it has no business being over 400 pages long) or have more story.
May 2021 update: another try because of rave reviews. This time I could get to around 30%. this romance refuses to work for me. I love romance, but in a good romance novel, romance itself is developing characters, it’s important for the arc. it’s not just there. if there’s no tension or conflict, it is boring. these two are decent people who are immediately attracted
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
So excited to read this one :D
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much while reading a book. Swordheart is a romantic fantasy novel that’s brimming with humor. Everything Ursula Vernon writes is delightful, and I will continue to eagerly rush to read anything by her. However, my enjoyment of Swordheart is tampered by displeasure at some issues with asexual representation.

Halla is a respectably widowed housekeeper who spent more than a decade looking after an old man… who just died and left everything to her. Unfort
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
3.5 stars. This is a stand-alone, but I’m looking forward to Angharad’s book :) you don’t need to read the Clocktaur War’s duology to appreciate this, anyway you should because it’s lots of fun too.

In the songs, men always say they’d die for you. I suppose there’s something to be said for the fact that you found one who actually did.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
There’s always a really good vibe to this author’s books.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it

Kingfisher’s new novel takes us back to the world of the Clockwork Boys, but apart from the same brilliant ‘setting’, the story is quite different. Namely, this is not a tale about saving the world. No, this is much more mundane, and I absolutely loved it!

The author’s mastery is in creating amazing characters, complex, flawed, and so believable! The interaction between Halla, a quirky 36-year old widow in danger from her in-laws, and Sarkis, a sullen soldier imprisoned in a magic sword, is
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
This is the first time this year I've really loved a book I read. This was fantastic. It was funny and romantic and kept me turning pages. I appreciate that the main character is a mid-30s woman. I get so tired of women in fantasy books being 16 year old Mary Sues.

Anyway - It's defintely a book I would recommend and happily re-read.
Lis Carey
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction
This book is set in the world of the Clockwork Boys, about five years later. Halla is a widow who has been acting as housekeeper to her late husband's uncle, Silas. Silas has now died, and the reading of the will reveals the new, as shocking to Halla as to Silas's own relatives, that he has left her his entire estate.

Her husband's cousin Alver, and his mother, Malva, are not prepared to accept this. The only acceptable resolution, at least in their minds, is that Halla marry Alver. Aside from th
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
T. Kingfisher returns to her world of the Clocktaur War, and instead of another story with large ramifications to this world, she's crafted a little story about a housekeeper, Halla, inheritances and disgruntled relatives, and a weary warrior, Sarkis, magicked into a sword centuries earlier.
Though unconnected to the events of the Clocktaur books, there are elements already introduced in those books that are mentioned here (gnoles, paladins, etc.). It's not critical to have read those books to en
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNFed @ 53%
This had potential to be really good but it was wasted :(
If I had to choose a book similar to this I'd have to say one of those Riyria books. Those tho were my favorites probably bc it was about friendship and this one is a romance.
I really wanted more banter and I wouldn't have even minded if the characters had some hate to love thing going on (that's not my favorite thing but it's better than nothing)
I can see this getting a higher rating from me if it has a good ending but it just
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Review is also on

This may well be, in one day, a new favorite book. I can’t recall a book that has been so perfect for me, to be really honest.

Halla is a widowed woman who is the housekeeper for her rather well-off uncle by marriage. When that uncle dies, Halla finds out that she has inherited the entire estate. Unfortunately, other relatives have shown up to try and force her to marry back into the family so that they can take advantage of the inheritance. So, of course the
Skye Kilaen
Overall, lovely and wonderful in the same ways that have made me a T. Kingfisher / Ursula Vernon fangirl. Adventure, humor, strong female character, etc.

However I am still sorting through my feelings about multiple instances of language that struck me as denying the existence of asexual people.

UPDATE 12/31/18: I'm not the only one who noticed, #ownvoices review here: And I haven't been able to get past it. All of that content just felt so *mean*. : (
THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN and filled a void in my heart for adult fantasy romcoms, a subgenre that seems otherwise inexplicably barren???? I loved the banter, the gallows humor, the fun world/culturebuilding, and, of course, the sweet mutual pining romance. It was such a fun reading experience that involved just nonstop cackling on my end. I'm so glad that this is the first novel in a swordfucker series because I need more of this in my life. ...more
Iona Sharma
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, 2020
I loved this book SO MUCH. I did not know I needed a hysterically funny roadtrip comedy about a sensible widow who asks too many questions, a nonbinary lawyer-priest and a man who lives in a sword, but I did and believe me so do you. The characters are wonderful and the worldbuillding is fascinating and the whole thing is just so warm and satisfying. Zale, the put-upon property adjudicator, is my favourite, but they're all my favourite. I am going to reread this one in times of trouble. ...more
Para (wanderer)
This book was so much fun.

Halla wanted to be the sort of person who yelled at her cousin and forced him to acknowledge that she had a choice in the matter. Unfortunately, it seemed that she was the sort of person who ran up the stairs to her bedchamber, grateful for the reprieve.

This was a depressing discovery.

Halla is a housekeeper. When her uncle dies and she inherits his estate, his relatives are not happy and lock her in her room, planning to marry her off to her cousin (with clammy hand
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I may have annoyed people on the subway by laughing too much. They kept giving me dirty looks and I'd try to stifle it, then two pages later I'd be chortling and this elder Chinese man next to me was clearly thinking that the foreigner was utterly daft. ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I love the main characters, the humour, the world, everything. Never want her books to end!
Isabella - SnooRegrets
CW! Horrible and thoughtless ace-representation. Pissed me the fuck off.

I normally would have rated this one a 3.5 to 4 star read, For most of the book I had a lot of fun and was smiling rather often. And I really liked some ideas, we have a couple were both are “older”, a non-binary clerk as well as consent and a good discussion of power-imbalance between the couple. I also like the lighthearted and smooth writing style.

I have some negative points regarding plot and world building - as a roma
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to read a light fantasy adventure w/ romantic plot
3.5 stars

I 100% agree with other reviewers: this was like a mix of The Princess Bride, Monty Python, and Howl's Moving Castle. It is actually one of the funniest books I've read in a while, and if you're interested in reading about a low-stakes, light fantasy adventure-romance, I would definitely give this one a shot.

Halla is a poor widow who has been set to inherit a large sum of money. However her pretty awful family members lock her up in order to secure the fortune for themselves. Halla find
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars rounded up.
Robin (Bridge Four)
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I loved Swordheart!  It feels like forever since I have connected with a book this deeply and enjoyed it so much.  Halla and Sarkis were phenomenal characters that really made my day.  Swordheart is full of funny lines and interesting situations.  I am so happy to find this author, this is one of those books that made me want to g
When Halla’s uncle-by-marriage dies and unexpectedly leaves his entire fortune to her (well, she was the one person taking care of him in his old age …), the other relatives lock her up to force her to see sense and marry clammy-handed cousin Alver to keep the money in the immediate family. But a piece of her inheritance turns out to be far more helpful than Halla could ever have imagined. And so begins a madcap adventure full of tension, laughs, and romance.
This book was a pleasant surprise. Do
Emma (howlsmovinglibrary)
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Swordheart was such a lovely, light-hearted and completely unputdownable read. I started it on the last day of 2019 (hoping to get a sneaky head start on my 2020 goodreads challenge) and ended up loving it so much that I finished it before the arrival of the New Year. It reads like a more adult version of Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, complete with bickering love interests and found family feels.

Humorous fantasy is such a difficult thing to get right, and Swordheart pitches it perfect
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Kingfisher - Swordheart [Jan 3, 2021] 39 35 Feb 03, 2021 05:31PM  
Vaginal Fantasy B...: Feb 2020: Swordheart Discussion *Spoilers* 1 31 Feb 26, 2020 09:29PM  
/r/Fantasy Discus...: February 2020: Swordheart 3 108 Feb 24, 2020 05:47AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Black Dogs Part One: The House of Diamond
  • Half a Soul (Regency Faerie Tales, #1)
  • The Mountain of Iron (Black Dogs, #2)
  • Ten Thousand Stitches (Regency Faerie Tales, #2)
  • The Lord of Stariel (Stariel, #1)
  • Masquerade in Lodi (Penric & Desdemona, #9)
  • The Prince of Secrets (Stariel, #2)
  • The Physicians of Vilnoc (Penric and Desdemona, #8)
  • Strange Love (Galactic Love, #1)
  • The Court of Mortals (Stariel, #3)
  • The Orphans of Raspay (Penric and Desdemona, #7)
  • The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting
  • Winter's Orbit
  • Drowned Country (The Greenhollow Duology, #2)
  • Love Code (Galactic Love #2)
  • Penric's Demon (Penric and Desdemona, #1)
  • A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)
  • Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
T. Kingfisher is the vaguely absurd pen-name of Ursula Vernon. In another life, she writes children's books and weird comics, and has won the Hugo, Sequoyah, and Ursa Major awards, as well as a half-dozen Junior Library Guild selections.

This is the name she uses when writing things for grown-ups.

When she is not writing, she is probably out in the garden, trying to make eye contact with butterflies

Other books in the series

The World of the White Rat (5 books)
  • Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War, #1)
  • The Wonder Engine (Clocktaur War #2)
  • Paladin's Grace (The Saint of Steel, #1)
  • Paladin's Strength (The Saint of Steel, #2)

Related Articles

  Talia Hibbert is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. A lifelong bookworm, she’s known for haunting the local library,...
84 likes · 16 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I am the servant of the sword,” he said. “I obey the will of the—great god, woman, put on some clothes!” 9 likes
“One of the grimmer realizations of Sarkis’s youth had been the discovery that knowing you were being an ass did not actually stop you from continuing to be an ass.” 8 likes
More quotes…