Dagger and Coin

Dagger and Coin

Soraya Gamo was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroyed the monarchy and the capital city. Now, improbably, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, finally holding the political power she always wanted - but over a nation in ruins. As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide:...

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Title:Dagger and Coin
Author:Kathy MacMillan
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Edition Language:English

Dagger and Coin Reviews

  • Kathy MacMillan

    For those who have asked what book 2 will be about:

    -Dagger and Coin picks up about 30 days after the events of Sword and Verse. However, I prefer to think of it as a companion novel rather than a sequel, because it focuses on a different protagonist and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first book.

    -The main character in Dagger and Coin is Soraya Gamo, the heiress who was engaged to Mati and was all set to become queen. We saw in Sword and Verse that Soraya was much more than just a pre

    For those who have asked what book 2 will be about:

    -Dagger and Coin picks up about 30 days after the events of Sword and Verse. However, I prefer to think of it as a companion novel rather than a sequel, because it focuses on a different protagonist and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first book.

    -The main character in Dagger and Coin is Soraya Gamo, the heiress who was engaged to Mati and was all set to become queen. We saw in Sword and Verse that Soraya was much more than just a pretty rich girl, and in this book she has thrown her lot in with her former enemies in order to pursue her ambitions.

    -Many of the major players from Sword and Verse appear in this book, especially Raisa, Mati, and Jonis. We also get to know some minor characters from the first book better: Deshti (Raisa’s adversary in the Arnath Resistance), Alshara (Soraya’s younger sister), and Gelti Dimmin (that handsome guard captain).

    -Decisions made in Sword and Verse come back to haunt our characters in Dagger and Coin, particularly a big one made by Mati. Sword and Verse was about upending an unjust system; Dagger and Coin is about the messy, seemingly impossible task of constructing a better one in its place.

    -This book is unabashedly, fiercely feminist. In 2016, I thought, “Oh, I wish this book were out now! It’s so relevant!” In 2017, I thought the same thing. Sadly, I don’t think this story is going to get any less relevant in coming years.

    -I like to think of this book as a tale of a well-educated female policy wonk battling her misogynist foes. In case you are wondering about my politics. 😉

    -I’m just going to put this out there right now, because some people have mentioned it: Soraya and Jonis are NOT EVER going to be a couple. Just not going to happen. Soraya’s relationship with Jonis is arguably the most important one in the book, but don’t look for kissing there. Just don’t.

    -Look for kissing (and more) elsewhere, though. There is romance in this book, just not with Jonis.

    -Like Sword and Verse, Dagger and Coin can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. Of course, it also features lots of rewarding tidbits for readers of both books! And yes, if you read Dagger and Coin first, it will give you lots of spoilers for Sword and Verse, so be warned if that sort of thing bothers you. (Personally, I love spoilers, but I am weird that way.)

    -I’m seriously considering making myself a bingo card of all the things that Soraya will undoubtedly be called once the book is out in the world. I mean, she’s an ambitious woman, see, so of course that means she must be inviting the whole world to comment on what’s wrong with her. A few of my predictions: too proud, too strong, too passive, too emotional, too icy, too ambitious, too shrill, too slutty, too prudish, too petty, too demanding, too calculating…

    -The story of the gods comes into play in Dagger and Coin, but in a different way than it did in Sword and Verse, because Soraya’s relationship to the gods is completely different from Raisa’s.

    -I really, really love this book and I can’t wait to share it with you!

  • Janet

    I could not put this book down. I was reading late into the night, and leaving all the things I should have been doing for another time. Dagger and Coin takes place shortly after then end of Sword and Verse, but this story is from the point of view of Soraya, one of the antagonists from Book 1.

    Soraya was fascinating. She knew how to wield power, and she was smart and capable. Yet as a woman, she is constantly being underestimated and looked down on. This book is about bringing two groups who wer

    I could not put this book down. I was reading late into the night, and leaving all the things I should have been doing for another time. Dagger and Coin takes place shortly after then end of Sword and Verse, but this story is from the point of view of Soraya, one of the antagonists from Book 1.

    Soraya was fascinating. She knew how to wield power, and she was smart and capable. Yet as a woman, she is constantly being underestimated and looked down on. This book is about bringing two groups who were once enemies together. About finding peace after war, about rebuilding after the upheaval. It can be so hard to trust those who were once on the opposite side, but without that, you have no foundation to build on.

    I thought MacMillan did a brilliant job of portraying the aftermath. I couldn't look away, and I was astonished at how fearlessly she threw intrigue after intrigue, complication after complication at her characters. She could definitely teach a class about how to put your characters through the refining fire.

    I should have probably re-read the first book before diving in, but I just couldn't wait. And while you can read this second book as a stand-alone, there are references that will make a lot more sense if you read book 1 first.

    I highly recommend this one!

  • Rachel

    I remember, when I wrote my review for MacMillan’s first book in this epic fantasy setting, SWORD AND VERSE, talking about how people conflagrate romance and fantasy. Particularly in the young adult genre, where romance subplots are so popular. My point was that some reviewers got so caught up in critiquing the romance bit that they didn’t even seem to acknowledge the fantasy. This seems like a trend that is so ubiquitous that people rarely question it anymore. SWORD AND VERSE is rife with actua

    I remember, when I wrote my review for MacMillan’s first book in this epic fantasy setting, SWORD AND VERSE, talking about how people conflagrate romance and fantasy. Particularly in the young adult genre, where romance subplots are so popular. My point was that some reviewers got so caught up in critiquing the romance bit that they didn’t even seem to acknowledge the fantasy. This seems like a trend that is so ubiquitous that people rarely question it anymore. SWORD AND VERSE is rife with actual fantastical elements—a story of gods that unfolds right next to the human drama—but readers see the setting mainly as the venue for another badass heroine to swoon over a prince and/or show off her stones.

    This issue loomed in my mind while reading the SWORD AND VERSE “sequel” / companion novel, because fantastical elements were at a minimum here. There was no godly storyline unfolding right next to the human one (perhaps understandable, since there is only one god left.) The most supernatural we get, beyond reference to the faith of the populace or references to the mythology of their world, is a subtle hint that maybe Sotia is pulling some strings in the background. But this niggle only comes up once or twice in a 400-page novel that is otherwise a political intrigue set in a parallel, agrarian land.

    Topically speaking, I am much more on board for this premise. Book one covers a revolution and book two covers the aftermath. Soraya, a minor noble in the first who was destined to be queen, now takes center stage as a member of the newly forged Ruling Council of recently slavery-free Qilara. From the offset, MacMillan sets the scene of broiling tensions between the two major groups of the land, the ex-slaver Qilarites and the ex-slave Arnathim. An attempt is made on former MC Raisa’s life, and she and her husband and co-council Mati slip away in order to conduct business away from the madness of the capital city.

    In their wake, they leave the other two council members, Soraya and Jonis, in charge. Soraya is a scheming former noble and Jonis is the more brash former head of the Arnath resistance, so things would be simmering even without their past history of hostage/captor. From there the plot moves at a brisk clip. MacMillan introduces a central conflict of a returning, pre-revolution slave ship from the Arnathim homeland. Soraya and Jonis struggle to contain the former slaves and former masters as reactionary political groups use their arrival as a lightning rod for their own purposes.

    It’s a rather juicy web of competing ideologies in the wake of political upheaval. Perhaps its not quite as fleshed out as it might be in a longer, adult book, but MacMillan doesn’t slouch either. She makes sure to leave room to draw distinctions between different classes of Qilarites, and the formerly enslaved and never enslaved Arnathim (in fact, the new arrivals refer to themselves as the Melarim.) But yes, there is also some personal drama—from the fact that former enemies and current councilmembers don’t really trust each other despite their lofty ambitions, vs the prerequisite young adult hormones. I’m not a huge fan of romance subplots, though in general I think I’m more forgiving than many of the fact that characters have emotional and sexual urges. I think that Soraya’s situation worked better for me than Raisa’s did in the first book, because it was tied so deeply into the frothing socio-economic upheaval. Soraya just wanted something familiar to hold onto.

    That being said, she is a character who is defined by her personal sense of rebellion. Sure, in the previous world, she was more of a pawn for the whims of ambitious men. In this new world, she fiercely defends her independence. Not to say that she doesn’t play with others, but she definitely has a voice. I liked her more than I liked Raisa, which may speak to my own character. :P Raisa’s greatest flaw was that she loved too well, and Soraya’s greatest flaw was that past prejudices and a general sense of distrust hindered her alliances.

    More to the point, Soraya was a member of the formerly oppressive ethnic group, and MacMillan did a good job of painting her complexly. She can’t help but cling a little bit to her old associations, though she is also trying to expand her worldview. She’s practical, if not idealistic, and respects that this is the world she lives in now, the world that gives her a modicum of self-determination, and also the place, though she might not always see it as such, which expands her horizons as a human. It’s a nice representation of a flawed but ultimately sympathetic character (and MacMillan also leaves room to highlight the impact of Soraya’s own losses in the revolution, because real revolutions don’t water down to angels vs demons. Anywho.) I think MacMillan also did a good job in showcasing complexity in ultimately less sympathetic characters, too. She definitely took seriously the social and political ramifications that she set up in the last book. Plus wrote a compelling story, which frankly sucked me in a bit more than the last one. I’m a fan of flawed and multidimensional heroines, big ethical questions, and even the intrigue of the plot.

    One final, and perhaps relatively minor criticism, revolves around the issue of Soraya’s sister. She seemed a little one note in her brattiness, well, until the very end until Soraya saw a different side of her. Still, it kind of seemed like one of those convenient reveals of character complexity. I guess there’s really not enough time to flesh everyone and everything out. Anywho. Much like with the last book, this one ends with an open door but not exactly the promise of a sequel. We still have plenty of other characters who could chip in with something to say! I have no idea if MacMillan will ever return to this world, but I will certainly keep an eye out. Post-revolution is a rich playground…as is exploring possible supernatural influence. I’d be interested in both!

  • Ellie J.

    revolution, strong female leads, magic, political intrigue, court politics

    This one was

    better than

    . I think MacMillan listened to some reviewers or maybe reread her own writing, but 1) the narrator here had a much stronger and more mature voice, and 2) the narrator even

    how naive Raisa and Mati were in the previous book at the beginning of this one.

    Soraya, the ex-fiancee of Mati and one of the members of the newly

    revolution, strong female leads, magic, political intrigue, court politics

    This one was

    better than

    . I think MacMillan listened to some reviewers or maybe reread her own writing, but 1) the narrator here had a much stronger and more mature voice, and 2) the narrator even

    how naive Raisa and Mati were in the previous book at the beginning of this one.

    Soraya, the ex-fiancee of Mati and one of the members of the newly formed council, narrates this book. From the start she's far more of ruthless and cunning than the other characters. The first line of her narration is, after all, "My father would have been ashamed that the assassin didn't target me" (3), and if that's not a sign of a strong character with political motivations and a backbone to go along with them, then I don't know what is. I appreciated getting to know Soraya better after the few scenes we really got to see her in from Raisa's perspective in the first book. Going into it, I wasn't really sure what to expect of Soraya; Raisa hadn't been a huge fan of her and Soraya was clearly aggravated at being kept prisoner by the revolutionaries, but the first book didn't really go into detail about her, her life, or her personality. I'm pleased to say she's a fantastic character. While she also has a bit of that ignorance/naivete that Mati and Raisa have, she handles it much better and it's about far less obvious things.

    I also liked that we got to see more of Jonis in this book as well. In

    he was a mostly angry revolution leader, but here we get to see the calculating side that led to him becoming leader. We also get to see how much he truly cares for his people, as well as his deeply mistrustful stance on just about everyone around him. He provided some interesting conflict in terms of the different ways leaders handle situations and how misunderstandings can happen oh-so easily. For those who might've been worried about whether Jonis would become the flower child Raisa seems to hope everyone will become, don't worry, he's still his lovable vengeful self.

    The main plot of the novel is that the Swords of Qilara are hellbent on taking the newly-formed council down and get rid of all of the 'First Laws' that were enacted--laws that protect women's rights, the rights of all the freed slaves, the law

    that all slaves should be freed. The Swords are pretty clumsy at first, but as the novel progresses, they get more manipulative with their plans and objectives until it leads into the final showdown, which is very action-packed and much more human driven than the finale in

    . The plot also had several twists and turns, and the fun game of 'who really betrayed who,' that played into court intrigue and politics. It was definitely a more defined plot and a far more character-driven plot than in the previous book.

    I was tentative going into the book, but ended up enjoying it far more than the first one. Soraya is a fierce character whose willing to manipulate and twist in order to get things to go her way, and almost always has a way to get a back-up plan in place. The characters in all are far less naive than in the first book as well, and it's written as a regular book instead of someone chronicling their events like

    was, which probably helped elevate the maturity of the narrator's voice as well. All in all, a good book, and much better than its predecessor.

  • Sue Poduska

    The second book in the “Sword and Verse” series is gripping, exciting, and a lesson in finding one’s voice and independence. Written in first person from Soraya’s viewpoint, it points out the problems with always doing what is expected of you rather than what you know to be right. This is a tale set in a medieval world of the author’s invention. The world is believable and self-contained.

  • Tati

    Soooo, what's this going to be about?

    (I didn't think there was room left for a sequel, to be honest)

  • Jamie Coudeville

    2018?!

  • Catarina (TravelerBetweenWorlds)

    2018?? I was wondering if I would read this one or not but well I have plenty of time to think, though I would like to continue the series.

  • Clare

    I didn't realise that there was going to be sequel to

    . I have another book coming out this year to look forward to now!

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