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What: The City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Who: Harlequin Teen

When: June 1st 2021

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Harlequin Teen Australia for review.

Through her courage and tenacity, Shyla Sun-Kissed has awoken the power of The Eyes of Tamburah. But this feat only marks the beginning of the challenges that the magical order, the Invisible Sword, faces to free the underground city of Zirdai.

Though they have allies among the monks and splinter cells inside the city, Shyla knows the Invisible Sword doesn’t have the strength to win. With the group fracturing due to the strain of losses from their latest ordeal, thinly veiled suspicions and endless disagreements, it’s up to Shyla to forge a new united order.

When both the draconian Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess learn of Shyla’s new powers, life becomes even more complicated as they will stop at nothing to capture Shyla and take the magic of The Eyes for themselves. Hunted at every turn and unable to hide, Shyla and the Invisible Sword must use every resource at their command – and unearth new ones – in their race to save the city from destruction. But their enemies always seem to be one step ahead. And the cost to win the battle may be more than Shyla would ever be willing to pay…The City of Zirdai is the second book in Snyder’s latest YA/adult crossover fantasy series, The Archives of the Invisible Sword. Unlike a lot of middle books in a trilogy that suffer from what is commonly called Second Book Syndrome, The City of Zirdai did not succumb to any of those problems. The pacing didn’t lag, the relationships didn’t suffer, and the development didn’t stagnate. In fact, it was the opposite of these three things that occurred in The City of Zirdai.

After the first book in the series, The Eyes of Tamburah, I really wanted to get to know the characters that had been introduced. Except for Shyla, none of them were around a lot in The Eyes of Tamburah so I was left wanting a bit more, especially when it came to Shyla and Rendor’s relationship. In The City of Zirdai, Snyder really took the time to let the reader get to know all the characters she’d introduced us to in that first book, as well as their pasts, and the motivations for their actions, especially their involvement with the Invisible Sword. I am always one for character development so this was a huge positive in the book for me.

Another positive was the storyline. In the first book a lot of the story included Shyla running from situation to situation, which set a good pace but also left me wanting a steadier storyline at the same time. There was definitely action abound in The City of Zirdai, but between these action scenes the overarching storyline was given time to develop, and the scope of the mission of the Invisible Sword became clearer. Towards the end I thought that everything was going to be wrapped up perfectly but there were 80 more pages to go, which is a particular kind of bookish pain! But it certainly left me looking forward to what book three is going to bring.

Lastly, the relationship between Shyla and Rendor grew a lot in The City of Zirdai. It went from attraction to something deeper, and it took Shyla a while to get to that point. She has her own demons of the past to overcome, as does Rendor, and the two of them are working through them together. It was quite lovely to see Shyla finally trust someone with her heart, and have someone treat it tenderly. However, Rendor isn’t the only one who provides Shyla with support and love, and I adored seeing her friendship and family group grow and solidify throughout the novel. I can’t wait to see Shyla and Rendor’s relationship grow even more in book three!

If you’re a fan of Snyder’s previous fantasy novels, archaeology, unique fantasy systems, magic, secret societies, or all of the above then The Archives of the Invisible Sword is definitely a series you should try!

© 2021, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

use of ableist language, explosions, child abuse, multiple deaths, multiple murders, attempted murder, torture, emotional blackmail, blood and gore

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Posted on: May 30, 2021 • By: Chiara

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