Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCollugh

The Oathbreaker's Shadow (The Knots Sequence #1)
Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.

Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

A gripping YA action-adventure fantasy, the first part of a planned duology.
Publisher: Random House, Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Kat's Review
I love supporting Canadian authors, so I jumped at the chance to review a copy of this book.  The cover is incredible, and the synopsis intrigued me.  It sounded like such an adventurous story, the type I would want my sons to read when they're old enough. 
Ms. McCulloch builds a complex world that requires quite a bit of investment on the part of the reader, particularly for the first third of the book.  This could get a bit tedious for some readers, but I think that it makes sense as the book goes on.  The main character, Raim, has been bound to keep a promise he didn't make, and when he somehow breaks that promise, he's exiled from everything he knows.  After learning some valuable lessons among the group of other oath breakers he's condemned to live with in exile, Raim decides to return to his people, beginning his dangerous desert adventure to go back home. 
There's a lot of magic and mysticism in this novel, and a cast of many, many characters.  I enjoyed the struggle and the push and pull between loyalty, duty, and staying true to what's right.  I think the book could have been shorter, and sometimes felt that there were unnecessary scenes or perhaps too much description or passages of information that could have been better integrated into the story.  Still, I was compelled to keep reading and I'm intrigued to see where the story goes from here.  Without the need to world-build quite so much in the sequel, I'm anticipating a tighter, more fast paced read.  I'm looking forward to it.
Rating: A Good Read
Despite some long descriptions and a lot of world-building, there's a classic David and Goliath type story at work here that has a lot of promise.  I'm looking forward to the sequel.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

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