The Sword Brotherhood

The Shadow Sword series Book 3

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
665 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Sword Brotherhood is the third book in The Shadow Sword series by Susan Hartland. Roaran was supposed to be on top of the world, but now he is just a prisoner hidden from everyone else. Archanin was supposed to be his ally and now he is his captor who wants Roaran to spill everything. But Roaran is determined to keep his mouth sealed, even if it costs his life. On the other side, Dannon tries his best to keep the Sword Brotherhood together in these trying times. As Archanin’s hold becomes stronger, Dannon’s desire to search for Roaran becomes more desperate. He is not afraid to ask for help, so when he finds out that the sorceress Genya can help them defeat the evil and liberate the innocent, the Brotherhood takes the initiative and approaches her. However, Genya is a little hesitant. She has her own secrets and she knows she must make a decision if she wants to live. What will it be? Who will be successful in winning this war between right and wrong?

The Sword Brotherhood is perhaps one of the best epic fantasies I have read this year. There is action from the moment the story begins! I got an adrenaline rush just reading the novel and I had zero issues with picturing whatever was going on. I felt the tension, I felt Roaran’s betrayal, I felt Dannon’s desperation and Genya’s conflict. I was holding my breath and waiting to know what will happen to Kaell and if he will ever wake up. I enjoyed Dannon’s growth in this novel and I learned to feel a little more compassion for Roaran as well. I remember reading the second novel in the series, The Last Seer King, and being blown away by the writing style. Susan Hartland jumps from one point of view to the other effortlessly and seamlessly makes the connection to continue the story. As expected, this is a brilliant addition to the story and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Sword Brotherhood by Susan Hartland is book 3 in The Shadow Sword series. Roaran is now Archanin’s prisoner, betrayed by the person he thought was most on his side. Archanin keeps Roaran locked up in a castle protected by magic but he wants far more than just to torture him. Archanin wants something from Roaran, something dangerous and it could change the fate of the kingdoms. Archanin takes over one city after another while Dannon struggles to keep the Sword Brotherhood together. He’ll do all he can to save Roaran but if he fails, the only thing he can do is kill him. There is just one way that Archanin can be defeated – Genya, a warrior sorceress trapped in the past. But she has to decide between good and evil and her choice will be the reason the Brotherhood stands or falls.

The Sword Brotherhood by Susan Hartland is the third book in a series – I have not read the first two. Without knowing the story that came before, I can say that I found this book fascinating enough to want to read the first two. I feel that enough backstory was provided to give some idea of how the story got to this point but not so much that it took over, and the characters are wonderful, with enough development to let me get to know them. This is a fast-paced, action-packed story with plenty of twists and lots of dark magic and excitement along the way. The suspense builds nicely throughout the book, leading to a tense ending which leaves the door open for the fourth part. While this is well suited to fans of fantasy, I feel that the entire series must be read in order and it will also be enjoyed by anyone who wants something just a little different to get their teeth into.

Romuald Dzemo

The Sword Brotherhood is the third book in The Shadow Sword series by Susan Hartland, an epic fantasy that reads fast, filled with strong characters and delicately woven plot threads. The story features compelling characters embroiled in a conflict that affects the fate of kingdoms. The Sword Brotherhood of ancient warriors faces a serious threat with Roaran taken prisoner by the very person he should have trusted: Archanin. Archanin is just a step away from conquering the cities with his charm and the one thing he needs to do this is possessed by Roaran. Dannon is the last man standing in the defense of the brotherhood and the odds are stacked against him as he envisages freeing Roaran. But there is one hope of defeating Archanin. It is the sorceress Genya, a woman with secrets and a hidden power.

This is a brilliantly written story that explores themes of magic, the proverbial conflict of good vs evil, loyalty, tyranny, and betrayal. The writing got my attention right from the start, and I loved how the author introduces the characters. Roaran is presented to the reader in a very difficult situation and against the backdrop of an unfriendly setting, and this introduces the conflict. The pacing is fast, punctuated by action and unexpected twists in the story. The world-building is exceptional. The imagery is wonderfully crafted, hugely imaginative. The Sword Brotherhood plunges the reader into a world that is filled with powerful forces tearing at each other. Readers will quickly develop sympathy for some characters and real hatred for the villains, but the denouement is unlike anything the reader expects.

Eduardo Aduna

There is an almost irresistible allure in never knowing what’s going to happen next in Susan Hartland’s The Shadow Sword Series. The Sword Brotherhood, the third installment of this dark and gritty series, continues to chronicle a world where shifting loyalties, uneasy alliances, and upturned fantasy tropes are the rule rather than the exception. Fans of fantasy would feel right at home in this smorgasbord of violence, betrayal, and despair. From Roaran’s travails at the hands of Archanin to Val and Genya’s journey, Susan Hartland manages to delve into each character’s persona as they interact with the worst this fantasy world has to offer. As some characters grow into power and some become powerless, readers can better see how each can adapt and adjust, and ultimately become more centered.

Through these characters’ journeys, there were times when I had to hold my breath and shake my head at the darkness that permeates these characters that I have grown to love. Hartland writes in a lush, seductive style that paints each character with a palette streaked with violence and blood. Death in this fantasy world constantly oscillates between being commonplace, bordering on mundane, to being, in some instances, an oddly perverse spectacle. Dark fantasy makes the reader escape into a world that mirrors the darkness of our own and shows us those traits that we normally suppress. Reality is often but various shades of grey, or in the case of Susan Hartland’s The Sword Brotherhood, shades of both darkness and blood.

Steven Robson

The Sword Brotherhood, Book 3 in the Shadow Sword series by S. J. Hartland, draws you into a magical foreign world where gods and kings play ultimate power games. Into this place of terrible deeds and valor unmatched strides Roaran Caelan, a Seer and Dark Rider of unmatched power, and the former King of Telor. Roaran is, by his very being, someone the Ghoul God Archanin wants to make his own, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his dark purpose. In a last desperate bid to avoid falling into Archanin’s hands, Roaran seeks refuge in the past within the body of another. Little does Roaran realize that his future is inextricably drawn to Archanin in a way he could never anticipate; a meeting that will strip his soul to its wounded core and raise the shadow of doubt over Kingdoms.

S. J. Hartland’s The Sword Brotherhood is not just an incredible adventure; it is a fully encompassing world that will immerse you in the lives of beings very different, and yet still familiar. What I found particularly poignant and thought-provoking was the way Archanin’s layers were exposed as the story unfolded. This is a character we should hate, but there is a certain vulnerability beneath it all that we glimpse, which stirs uncomfortable eddies in our emotions. Another focal point is the skillfully crafted relationship that developed between the ghoul Raggamirron and Roaran, which led to an eventual friendship no one could have foreseen. I was also impressed by the way Genya was integrated into the lives of her father and Archinin, allowing prophesy to be fulfilled in a surprising and unexpected way. This is a book rich in adventure and abundant in emotions that will have you captured as rigidly as Roaran in Archanin’s chains.