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(The World of the White Rat)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  7,673 ratings  ·  1,182 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, 426 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 4.22  · 
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 ·  7,673 ratings  ·  1,182 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
Jun 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, cozy
Fans of "cozy fantasy" here's another one to add to your tbr! This was everything I wanted!!!

It follows a woman named Halla, who picks up a sword only to find out there is an immortal warrior named Sarkis trapped inside it who is now bound to protect her. They spend the book traveling across the country so Halla can get the inheritance that her late husbands family is trying to steal from her. Sarkis is magically compelled to protect Halla from all sorts of danger they encounter on their travels
Lois Bujold
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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 🖤🐶🐺🐾
✘✘ 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)
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-romance
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
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
“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
Katie Colson
Aug 09, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T Kingfisher has a WAY. I've said it once and I'll say it every damn time.

I love that she writes from actual adults points of views. But somehow they still have this innocence to them that is believable and heart warming. No matter how old you are, there are a million things you're ignorant to.

I love these characters and the romance. It's so sweet and bumbling.

Also, love the representation of the non binary lawyer/priest. They were a great addition to the plot.

“I am the servant of the sword,” he
✦ this was cute. a cozy fantasy adventure is a perfect way to describe it. definitely had some funny moments too. great banter between the characters.
✦ i was liking it a lot in the first half, but it got draggy for me. honestly i just think it was a little too long. i did like it overall though!
She had to be practical. Other women got to be impractical - young ones, beautiful ones, ones with well-off families to catch them when they did something foolish. Halla was no longer young and had never been beautiful. So, she had to be one of the practical ones.
Sarkis did not make her feel the least bit practical.

Never fear, Halla, you're in a T. Kingfisher book! I love these novels set in the White Rat universe - this is the third, and is separate from the first two (other than some slight no
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
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
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
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Speaking as a recently converted fan of T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon’s who discovered her work through The Twisted Ones and The Hollow Places, I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered that Swordheart was coming to audio. Of course, it’s a very different kind of story—not horror or paranormal, but a fantasy romance. Still, I enjoyed it very much, and it drove home the sheer talent and versatility of this author and her ab
Crystal Cook
Aug 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2022
Absolutely fantastic. Cozy romantic fantasy. Excellent storytelling and lovable characters. Funny and charming and just overall delightful.

Will be in my next vlog
Isabella - SnooRegrets
CW! Really 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 romance an
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 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
There’s always a really good vibe to this author’s books.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
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.
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
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
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022-favs
I don't think I've ever laughed this much reading a book!

This book gave me so much joy!!! It had such a sweet romance with so many tropes that I love - like the bodyguard trope and them being magically bound together.

T. Kingfisher is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her sense of humor, her banter and immense creativity never fails to make my day.

I absolutely adored Halla and Sarkis and their Grumpy x Sunshine dynamic! This is most definitely a new comfort read for me.
Intisar Khanani
Dec 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-romance
Sometimes you just need the fluff. And goodness did I need the fluff this fall. Swordheart 100% delivered - this is by FAR the most amusing "bright cheery woman + gruff warrior" pairing I've ever read, not the least because some of that bright cheeriness is actually weaponizing stereotypes of femininity in order to allow the heroine to escape dangerous situations. I literally laughed out loud reading this, multiple times. This is an adult romance, not YA, but it's still relatively clean - even t ...more
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
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*. : (
Iona Sharma
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, 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. ...more
Lis Carey
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, f-sf
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
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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

Other books in the series

The World of the White Rat (6 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)
  • Paladin's Hope (The Saint of Steel, #3)

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