Tour Stop/Fav Quotes: THE SWORD IN THE STREET, by C. M. Caplan
THE SWORD IN THE STONE, by C. M. Caplan
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2021
Page Count: 335 pages
*I received an e-ARC from C. M. Caplan and Caffeine Book Tours free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
“You ever seen The Seven-Bladed Crown? You know it?”
“I’ve heard.” She nodded slowly.
“There’s a line in there I like. ‘Can passion be selected?’ You know it?”
Madam Sway blinked at him. “What are you getting at, boy?”
“I’d like to select a passion.”
TW: Profanity, violence, ableism, self-harm, addiction/withdrawal, alluded abuse, alluded rape
In C. M. Caplan's The Sword in The Street, trial by battle is a holy rite on Hillside. Hired blades bleed their foes in savage duels, settling everything from petty grievances to the corporate laws that keep their citizens in line. Embroiled in these cutthroat political games is John Chronicle, an impoverished swordsman with no better prospects, seeking the duel that will free him from the Dregs.
Meanwhile, John’s boyfriend Edwin, an autistic university student, befriends a fellow scholar who claims to study the arcane art of thaumaturgy. When she offers to teach Edwin this subtle magic, he hopes that he can use it to bolster John’s skill with a blade. But thaumaturgy is a dangerous magic, and the forces that drive it have other plans.
The couple soon find themselves entangled in the web of intrigue surrounding the swordsmen and their sponsors, and they’re forced to question how bloody they’re willing to get to escape poverty — and they don’t come away with the same answer.
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their journeys in The Sword in the Street. John reminded me a lot of Azoth/Kylar from Brent Week’s Night Angel series, with his drive for better things for not only himself, but also for his loved ones. Edwin is actually my favorite character, and I love how Caplan portrays him as being more than his autism. He is a man who loves his boyfriend, who cares deeply about his friends, and is super intelligent. Even the bad characters - such as Lordess Triumph, are shown to be third-dimensional and not just evil for the sake of being evil.
The worldbuilding that Caplan invested in pays off almost immediately. Once I picked up my Kindle to start The Sword in the Street, I became fully immersed in the politics of Hillside and the Dreg. I want to walk around the Hillside with Edwin as he heads to the university, work alongside Aubrey at the Docks, and watch from the sidelines as John fights for the various petty feuds between the lording families. Lord knows that some of my favorite parts are when Aubrey and Edwin are explaining the concepts of thaumaturgy and the laws that govern their world.
However, I do have to take away a star from my rating due to the fact that the plot itself feels robbed. I was gearing for an epic showdown, a climax of John struggling to maintain himself in his quest for security and Edwin gaining more power through thaumaturgy. But the story seems to abruptly end after a sort of lukewarm battle. When I read the words "The End", I was rudely thrown out of my haze and told, 'time to wait for the next book'. I understand that The Sword in the Street is the first book in a series, so that is understandable, but I would have preferred a more stable ending than is given.
MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE SWORD IN THE STREET:
If you like these books:
The Way of Shadows, by Brent Weeks
Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson
The Once and Future King, by T. H. White
Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir
Then you will most definitely enjoy reading about John and Edwin.
The great thing about all of this is that you can purchase your own copy of The Sword In the Street today! Be sure to stop by your local bookstore or to order online at these links: Goodreads and Amazon.
Many thanks to Caffeine Book Tours for allowing me to join the The Sword In the Street book tour! You can check out the rest of the tour stops on their website.
C.M. Caplan Is the author of The Sword in the Street. He’s a quadruplet (yes, really), mentally disabled, and he spent two years as the Senior Fiction Editor on a national magazine – while he was still an undergrad in college. He has a degree in creative writing from Salem State University and was the recipient of the university’s highest honor in the arts. His short fiction also won an Honorable Mention in the 2019 Writers of the Future Contest.
Caplan’s introduction to fantasy came through J. R. R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin. He has a tattoo that roughly translates to Valar Morghulis, as written in Tolkien’s Elvish script, in an acknowledgment of that fact. Other influences include Robin Hobb, Ellen Kushner, N.K. Jemisin, Katherine Addison, John Irving, Ann Petry, K.S. Villoso, and Neil Gaiman.
He currently lives in New England, where he works remotely for a social justice theater company.