Sisters of Sword and Shadow by Laura Bates
Published: November 9th 2023 by Simon & Schuster
Rating: ★★★★ (4)
Genre: Young Adult // Historical, Fantasy
Quick Thoughts: Brimming with intrigue, a fresh spin on Knights Of The Round Table, with a powerfully feminist vein flowing through it’s core.
About The Book:
What if the Knights of the Round Table had been women?
This afternoon Cass’s older sister will be married. Soon she will be too. Gone will be days of running through fields and feeling the earth between her toes. So when a beautiful leather-clad woman rides up and offers to take her away, Cass doesn’t hesitate to join her.
Cass is introduced to the Sisterhood of Silk Knights – a group of women training to fight and working to right the wrongs of men. Cass is drawn into a world of ancient feuds, glorious battles, and deadly intrigue, where soon discovers she holds a power that could change the destiny of her sisterhood.
‘An interesting thing happens, when a man is defeated in combat by a woman.’
‘He tells nobody.’
This year has been wild for my reading tastes. I’m usually not one for Historical-type novels, but I’ve found myself reading a fair few this year and surprisingly, I loved them. So when the lovely team at S&S got in touch about Sisters of Sword and Shadow, I knew I had to see if it was another beloved read.
We learn a lot about Cass right off the bat, about her childhood and how eerily it’s slipping away with her sister Mary’s impending wedding. The days of them running wild and free are long behind them, and Cass knows she will be the next one gone and married off—but she doesn’t quite want that, longing for the days of freedom and serene moments of being in the fields. So when a woman rides up to her one day and quite literally offers her an out—to take her away from her life—Cass unflinchingly agrees.
When Cass meets the Sisterhood of Silk Knights, it’s like nothing she’s ever known or seen. They’re a collective of women that are training in fighting skills, striving to undo the wrongs of man. At first, Cass isn’t sure where she fits into their world. Can she be like them? As she gets pulled into historical feuds and forthcoming battles, she soon discovers she more than does have the power to be like them: and maybe even be the one that will turn the tide of history forever.
Overall, Sisters of Sword and Shadow was brimming with intrigue, a fresh spin on Knights Of The Round Table, with a powerfully feminist vein flowing through it’s core. The writing, as if poetic, was one of the huge things that reeled me into the story. And although I do consider this more of an origin/pre-story that didn’t have a lot of “action” as I was expecting, which might be to come in a sequel (as the conclusion leads me to believe) it still had so much to offer in terms of non-action: sisterhood, strength and a rooted sense of reimagining historical morals. I think that fans of historical fiction with a feminist angle will love this, and I can’t wait to read more from Laura. An amazing four stars!
About The Author
Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality, with branches in 25 countries worldwide. Laura is the author of Everyday Sexism, the Sunday Times bestseller Girl Up, and Misogynation. Her first novel, The Burning, was published in 2019. She co-wrote Letters to the Future with Owen Sheers. Laura writes regularly for the Guardian, New York Times and others and won a British Press Award in 2015. She has been a judge for the Women’s Prize, the YA Book Prize and the BBC Young Writers Award and part of the committee selecting the 2020 Children’s Laureate. In 2019 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.