As I read Butterfly Swords- I felt I was on a balancing act with likes and dislikes. Not that I didn’t enjoy this book, but at the same time I felt there was some glaring weaknesses that made this book falter. With the old saying of opposites attract. Princess Ai Li and Ryam truly come from different walks of life. One of the glittering royalty and the other of just fighting to survive. Sparks truly fly when these two meet, only burns brighter. With Ai Li needing to get back to her family to warn them of danger and Ryam out to protect and make sure Ai gets there safety this on the road romance/martial arts story gets the reader a glimpse at the intrigues and shady allies whom would stab you in the back the moment your guard is down. Jeannie Lin did a wonderful job of showing the reading how the silk roads effected the empire at the time, while she did go into more fantasy when it came to Ai Li family, this didn’t bother me as much as the pace and at times the characters themselves. Ai Li was feisty, honorable swordswoman, whom may have been naïve and shelter about the world outside her home, but was very much to the point with a great kindness about her ,with Ryam, he had a “do or die” attitude that got him into more trouble, but also showed great honor to keep his word. When it comes to on the road romance I tend to expect a lot of talking, this gives the reader a chance to learn about the characters, have them open up to one another. This didn’t happen in Butterfly Swords, their talks and thoughts were on “repeat” with Ai worried about her family, how she can’t be with Ryam. Ryam fighting his manly urges about getting Ai into bed, how they can’t be together lather, rinse, repeat. This goes on through the whole book. Making it tedious at times. Thrown in a fight scene and the book started to really lag. The second part of the book was better, when things finally come to head between Ai and Ryam, I saw more growth between the characters, but as if they were scared of going forward, their thoughts once again went back to “repeat mode”. While an average read for me, still was an enjoyable and a good debut.