Of Pens and Swords Book Review

Of Pens and Swords

By Rena Rocford


SynopsisSeventeen-year-old Cyra Berque wants two things in life: a date with Rochan and a chance to fence at the Olympics. But people with one hand don’t normally fence, and girls with big thighs don’t get the boy. Knowing that she wants to make the Olympics, Cyra’s coach sets her up with another coach, one who could take her all the way to the top, but the new coach costs more. Feeling her dreams slipping out of reach, Cyra agrees to tutor a ballerina with a rich father and a D minus in English. It’s triple the pay and triple the pain. The ballerina isn’t interested in passing classes―she wants Rochan, and she’s promised she’ll turn her D minus into a full-fledged F if Cyra doesn’t help her win the heart of Rochan. (Goodreads Summary)
My Review: I went into this book not knowing anything beyond the brief synopsis, and I came out of it in a combined mess of tears of joy and sadness. I didn’t believe prior to reading this that any other author besides John Green could make me feel these things. Rena Rocford is a true genius, and I thank her for writing this book which I am now going to annoy all of my friends with by telling them to read every second of ever day.
            One thing Rocford does extraordinarily well in her writing is character development. She gives each character their own individual voice and personality, and allows the reader to truly feel like they are connecting with them. A character I surprisingly found that I was able to connect with was Crya. After reading the synopsis I didn’t think that I could find a way to connect with a one-handed fencer, but Cyra is much more than that. She is a smart girl, a feminist (there’s this amazing scene where they are discussing sexism in Hamlet in english class), a bookworm (she makes several references to Harry Potter), Captain Hook obsessed, and she puts all her effort towards achieving her dreams. I started out hating Christina in the beginning; I thought that she was going to be the cliche bratty girl turned nice, and that it was going to be something I’d already read a thousand times before. I can tell you, it was not. Now, Rochan is the only character I have slight issues with. I can’t say much about my issues with him without spoiling the ending, but I can say that I believe he comes to terms with something a little quicker than I would’ve expected. All in all, 
            The overall plot of the story was ingenious to me; a new take on an old story. For some reason it reminded me of the movie John Tucker Must Die. Not in the whole revenge way, but the whole girls banding together to get a guy to like a girl way. Sounds confusing when I write it out, but it make perfect sense in my head. I promise. I can’t say much else without spilling the beans, but there is one thing that happens towards then end of the book that caught me completely off guard. I was completely unprepared, my walls were down, and Rena Rocford made me sob like a four year old who lost their favorite toy. Right before I read this part I decided that I was to go to bed at the end of the chapter, but that never happened. It made me want to stay through till the bitter end, and I ended up finishing it in one session.
              Also, do you see how beautiful this cover is??? I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but, the cover was honestly what made me click on the book on Netgalley in the first place. I love the use of bright colors, the ballet costume that is merged with the feather quill, and the letter in the background. All these things corresponding to stuff in the story which made it fun and interesting to look back on once I’d finished. I read this book on my kindle after receiving a copy to review form NetGalley, and I need to get my hands on a physical copy to add to my collection IMMEDIATELY.

I give Of Pens and Swords 5 stars because is a beautifully written book filled with wonderfully written, loveable characters and an enticing story filled with many twists and turns. I am so glad to have recieved a copy from the publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, off of Netgalley to review, because I don’t know if I would’ve picked it up if I hadn’t, and I am incredibly happy that I read it. I suggest you pick it up if you’re looking for a nice, realistic fiction read that’ll make you laugh and cry both happy and sad tears.
If you would like to purchase Of Pens and Swords
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