By Lucy Holland
Publisher: Redhook Books
Pub date: Oct 5, 2021
Sistersong is a lyrical, atmospheric retelling of the Twa Sisters, a British folktale ballad.
Set in the kingdom of Dumnonia in 535 AD, Sistersong weaves the story of the king’s three children through their unique POVs. The eldest, Riva, is a healer who is still coming to terms with her childhood injuries. Keyne, the middle child, is forming his male identity although his family still views him as a woman. And the youngest, Sinne, is a beauty who dreams of romance.
Magic has flowed through the land, making their kingdom fertile, strong, and wealthy. But for several years, a visiting priest has changed their traditions and beliefs, and the kingdom grows weak. They live in fear of the invading Saxons, and their dwindling crops.
I loved the magical elements, so tied to the earth and each characters’ abilities. I loved each sibling, and I think this story will live in my head for a while to come.
We get to spend the most time with Keyne, our fighter. At the beginning of the book, Keyne is viewed as the middle sister of our trio. Keyne builds a relationship with a bigender character, and finally gets to explore his identity as a man. His story has emotional depth, and is also fun – he gets to train with both magic and weapons.
Riva is disabled after being burned in a terrible fire as a child. Her relationship with her magic and the land is her emotional core, and her love story gets a lot of page time. I am always here for a love story, and hers had a lot of twists and turns.
Sinne is a seer and spends a lot of time watching the other characters and commenting on their decisions. I am also always a fan of the romantic in every story – and her story was heartbreaking.
Sistersong is a very character-driven story, and I love all of them.
Thank you to Netgalley and Redhook Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!