For those unaware, The Knight’s Daughter is a YA Fantasy novel from S.H. Cooper, a writer who normally specialises in horror stories, especially ‘Wholesome Horror’. If you like Horror, definitely check out her other books – three short story collections and one novella – but whether or not you’re interested in her Horror, if you like the kind of books I talk about here, you’ll love The Knight’s Daughter.
Unfortunately, I can’t do a normal review for this book, because I don’t ‘review’ books I’ve edited. It seems like a cheat almost, but I hope you’ll indulge me just a little and let me tell you why I love this book so much.
I knew Sarah (S.H. Cooper) was a good writer. She’s a co-writer for one of my favourite podcasts (Calling Darkness), and before TKD I had the absolute privilege of editing her Horror novella, The Festering Ones. But YA Fantasy is a different beast to horror, and and I was excited to see what she could do with it. Not to mention, as our friendship grew, she told me about Mary’s story, how much it meant to her, and how long the characters had lived in her head.
The idea itself was intriguing, and I was excited to read it. I had loved editing The Festering Ones, and looked forward to this new project. The YA Fantasy aspect sounded right up my street, and knowing Sarah’s previous works, I couldn’t wait to see how she handled it.
And wow was I impressed.
It’s an absolute delight to work as an editor on a book you honestly love. The Knight’s Daughter is the story of Mary McThomas, who wants to be a knight, like her father. Her dream almost costs her father his life, when their village is ambushed, leaving him gravely wounded. Following a mysterious fae, Mary leaves home with her older brothers, determined to save her father’s life.
Mary wants something different from her life, yes, but she doesn’t completely hate being seen as a ‘lady’. She doesn’t bemoan wearing dresses and such, and in truth, it’s not parental pressure that keeps her ‘in her station’, but more a worry she would let her very wonderful parents down. She embraces all aspects of herself, and proves her talents when travelling, able to navigate situations her brothers can’t.
Some of the things I love about this book:
The characters are truly YA – this doesn’t feel like it’s disguised YA aimed at an adult audience, but adults can still find joy in the story
No forced romance. As much as I love some more romance focused YA Fantasy, sometimes it’s nice to read about a heroine who…well, doesn’t need no stinking nerf herder.
The family dynamics. Honestly, I would die for this family. And it’s so nice in Fantasy to read about a family – parents and siblings – who truly, really are there for another.
The siblings. Yep, they get another mention. The brothers and the way they treat Mary are so realistic and reminded me a lot of my own older bros.
Cooper uses the tropes of Fantasy really well, while also giving it her own unique spin. Mary is such a wonderful character with a solid POV, and the world around her is fun to discover. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, you really, really should.
[I am currently offering my editing service at a reduced rate, and you can find out more details on prices at my website, elleturpittediting.com]