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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  3,077 ratings  ·  493 reviews
Return to the world of Clockwork Boys in this all-new novel from T. Kingfisher!

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 agai
Kindle Edition, 419 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Red Wombat Studio
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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)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  3,077 ratings  ·  493 reviews

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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
Lois Bujold
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
There’s always a really good vibe to this author’s books.
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
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
Lis Carey
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Iona Sharma
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I love the main characters, the humour, the world, everything. Never want her books to end!
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*. : (
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars rounded up.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell
Only $1.99 right now!!!
Emma (howlsmovinglibrary)
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
This was such a fun romantic fantasy adventure - set in a different part of the same world as her Clocktaur Wars series but much less dark and with different characters. Like all Ursula Vernon/T Kingfisher novels, it was incredibly charming and full of moments that made me snort-laugh as I read - and I absolutely loved the characters. The chemistry between the growly hero, Sarkos (who's spent 500 years trapped in a sword), and the loquacious and easily-distracted (but MUCH smarter than she appea ...more
Michael Gates
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was halfway through this, laughing so hard I couldn't sit up straight, and one of the kids asked me what the book was about. "It's a romance novel, with some overtones of horror." It took a minute to get the sentence out through all the giggling.

Because, well, it *is*. It's all about Halla and Sarkis, falling in love and coming together. And how Sarkis is trapped in a magic sword forever and gets horribly killed now and then, and they explore how that works. (It's not good! Don't get yourself
While this was a very funny (sometimes maybe trying too hard?) romance fantasy novel which I might have rated a solid 4, it was very much acephobic so... meh

Great review that I agree with here
Victoria Rose
As with most T. Kingfisher books, this was an easy read and I enjoyed the humour very much. However, I thought that Swordheart, though lighthearted and fun, didn't have the sharpness or snap of her short stories or novellas, wasn't quite as funny as The Clockwork Boys, and didn't have the sense of jeopardy as The Wonder Engine.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, especially aspects of it - I thought Halla was absolutely hilarious, and I loved reading about her befuddling people with her incessa
Olga Godim
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
4.5 stars
A fun romp of a quasi-medieval fantasy by a wonderful writer. I read many of her previous books and liked most of them. The only ones I didn’t like, her Clockwork Boys duology, had characters forced into their adventures, and I dislike this plot twist intensely.
In this book, Halla chooses what she does. Granted, her choices don’t always lead where she wants them to go, but that’s life for most of us, so no surprise there.
Halla is a delightful heroine, a middle-aged widow with an unsuc
Jerome Comeau
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong.

I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I st
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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

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From independent presses, to tales in translation, to critical darlings and new debut novels, these books (all published in the U.S. this year)...
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“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.” 4 likes
“I am the servant of the sword,” he said. “I obey the will of the—great god, woman, put on some clothes!” 3 likes
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