Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

The Oathbreaker's Shadow

By Amy McCulloch

Blurb: With an original setting and fast-paced plot, Raim's story is epic fantasy at its finest

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 or which promise of his it symbolizes, and 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 oathbreaker, Raim has two options: run or die.

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure 

Publication Date: February 8, 2015

Series: The Knots Sequence (book 1)

Pages: 384

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I had given up on this book, when out of the blue, it got much better, to the point where I am actually considering reading the sequel.

The problem with The Oathbreaker's Shadow is that, like many fantasies, the book is bogged down with pointless details and boring descriptions. Like comparing the work ethics of the different peoples in this world. Or the weight of their goats.

Also, while I appreciate that the worldbuilding was not neglected here--I actually understood what was going on, and the Mongolian roots of the world was something unique that I haven't seen before--the fact that it took so dang long for the book to step away from worldbuilding and go into the actual story really annoyed me. I'm all for being thorough, but literally the first third of the book was all worldbuilding. I really wish I was exaggerating.

Basically, until around the 40% mark, I was dangerously close to falling asleep while reading the boring snoozefest that was The Oathbreaker's Shadow.

However, seemingly all at once, the story got immensely better. It took a complete 180 degree turn from where it had been and became really interesting.

First off, Raim and Khareh's relationship was super complicated and weird, but in a good way. Khareh is a major dousche, and I called that from a mile away, but then there's Draikh. So is Khareh all bad, or is he? Also, even if he is all bad, Raim has made an unbreakable vow to him. So how will that play out? It was really interesting to read about.

The sages were also interesting. The whole process for becoming a sage was well-thought out in regards to the worldbuilding. I enjoyed seeing Raif and Draikh work together, because they really were good friends, and it was an interesting dynamic.

The mystery surrounding Raif and his broken vow was never really solved. We got some hints, but I still want to know what he did. I have some theories, but they are all basically just random guesses because we didn't learn a lot about that. I have to say, that disappointed me. I was really looking forward to finding that out, and the fact that this is never discovered is basically the whole reason I'm planning on picking up the sequel and reading it.

I can't say I loved The Oathbreaker's Shadow, but it definitely piqued my interest for what happens next. I'd only recommend this to people with a lot of patience, because that is what you will need to get through the first third of this book, but once you do this book becomes really fun.

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