Title: The Harp of Kings
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date: 27 August 2019
Source: ARC from the Publisher
Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and is a rare talent on the harp. They are both training for the elite warrior band on Swan Island when they are asked to join a mission that requires posing as travelling minstrels.
Their task is to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has mysteriously vanished. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted. Faced with plotting courtiers, secretive druids, an insightful storyteller and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realises an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and a heartbreaking choice...
The Harp of Kings is, I believe, the first work I have read by Marillier, though I know a close friend of mine has long been a huge fan of her writing. As such, I came to the book with no expectations, and overall I found it an enjoyable read. The story and characters were interesting and well developed, and the prose was a pleasure to peruse. There was absolutely nothing I would state as 'wrong' with the work; however, for me it is a four-star read, not a five, because I didn't fall completely in love with it. I never sank into the story fully, as I have with some other fantasy books I have read recently. I enjoyed it. I would read more in the series, should the opportunity to do so arise, but it's not one where I am desperate for the next instalment and hanging for it to release, if you see what I mean. I am keen to see what my friend will make of it when she reads it, since she is already a Marillier fan, but on the whole I would say The Harp of Kings is a solid fantasy story that is sure to appeal to lovers of the genre.