The Oathbreaker's Shadow

The Oathbreaker's ShadowI really loved The Oathbreaker s Shadow It really feels like an epic fantasy with a rich and complex world, all without being bogged down by tiresome commentary or exposition Raim s world is fully realized without sacrificing the plot s pacing, the story is exciting and imaginative, and the ending left me wanting to read the next book immediately to find out what happens The Mongolian influence also sets it apart from other epic fantasy stories I think it would appeal to fans of George R.R Martin, Diana Wynne Jones s Christopher Chant series, Philip Pullman, and the Kushiel Trilogy Past the first few chapters, which establishes Raim in the context of his community, family, and friendship with Khareh, the story is a fast paced adventure that doesn t stop until Raim figures out the truth about the promise he doesn t remember making His quest takes him from the harsh, unforgiving landscape of the desert, where he travels with the Alashan, connects with Draikh Khareh s spirit , and meets Wadi, and then to Lazar The last third is really exciting and sets the stage for the following book, which I can t wait to get my hands on Eh This is hurting my head.Like, giving me an actual migraine Or what I think a migraine feels like I ve never had one before or I did and I just couldn t identify it When DOES a headache turn into a migraine Is there a significant and distinguishable margin, like you coalesce from one range of pain into another muchterrible one Or is it justcool to say you ve got a migraine I m not good at biology The only thing I ve figured out by far is that migraine gives you that weird pin in your brains and eyeballs feeling, but then if you jump into a pool at the wrong angle, and water goes up your nostrils at an even worse angle you get that feeling as well Which makes you want to rip out your eyes This book didn t make me want to rip out my eyes but it definitely bored me with its endless and clunky info dump, cookie cutter characters, late beginning, lame dialogues, unrealistic relationship, and world building its telling that could have done with a bitemotion and feeling Moreover, one scene jumps straight into another and when its time to get back, dude, it beams out of the sky No guiding smoothly or amalgamating the story sequences.I m going to try and relax.I m going to ALOOOHHHAAA Aloha, baby Do it with me Two simple steps Wave your hands and shake your ass To the right To the left Do it alone if you re shy Or do it with me It s fun either way. In The Land Of Darhan, Promises Are Bound By Magic, Tied Into Knots, And Worn With Pride Those Who Break Them Are Physically Scarred, Cast Out Into The Desert, And Stalked By Vengeful Shadows Of Their Treachery Fifteen Year Old Raim, The Best Young Fighter Ever To Train For The Elite Yun Guard, Has Worn A Simple Knot Around His Wrist For As Long As He Can Remember He Doesn T Know Where It Came From And Barely Thinks About It At All But On The Most Important Day Of His Life, When Raim Agrees To Give His Life As A Warrior To The Future King, That Knot Bursts Into Flames And Sears A Dark Mark Into His Skin Now Scarred As An Oathbreaker, Raim Has Two Options Run Or Die Fantasy Review BarnA person s word is all they have Never has this been truer than in the world of The Oathbreaker s Shadow The nomadic group central to the story doesn t just believe in keeping promises, they enforce it Each promise made requires a knot to be tied a magical binding with grave consequences if broken Before a certain age breaking a promise results in a painful lesson But lessons are for children and there comes a point where the consequences are muchdire Breaking a promise is the very definition of taboo in this land, even if done inadvertently.Raim is a young man training to be Yun, an elite warrior and likely bodyguard to his best friend in the world, heir to the throne Khareh But on what should be his most proud day something terrible happens A promise is broken without any knowledge of what it contained and suddenly Raim is the run Forced into the desert he fights to figure out how he was cursed by an action he had no knowledge of and zero ideas of what he could possible do about it.This is a story about unintended consequences at least it wants to be In actuality it is a cool premise that unfortunately begs to have holes poked through it Because everything this society believes in will start tearing apart due to the actions of a few and the frailty of this system is an indictment that the society shouldn t have lasted with it for so long Arbitrary age restrictions could be explained away on their own but they are only the start of me outthinking things.Raim s broken promise, a promise made when he was a baby, should have never been possible This is the catalyst of the story but and therefore is completely intentional but still should be impossible by the rules as they are lain out Once the consequences are made clear, especially the titular Shadow, I was able to guess correctly the other major plot points coming down the pipe The rise of a villain, the discovery of a new magic, I was not surprised by a major plot point past the first third of the book.Despite having serious issues making any sort of logistical sense out of these details the author really manages to hide these flaws with a quick paced, entertaining plot and some engaging characters Raim looks to be building toward a redemption arc but things do not turn out to be that simple He is joined on his journey by Wadi, member of another nomadic group that wanders an even harsher land At first their connection is confused but eventually it comes out that she too is bound by promises not necessarily her own And McCulloch is not afraid to shock a reader violence and death are no stranger in this world.If I could pick a highlight it is in fact the ethical and moral implications of a promise based society When right and wrong sit on a sliding scale I find myself intrigued Karen Millar wrote a tale where the moral path was often the opposite of what we would expect due to a divine mandate The affect is the same here any promise broken results in exile This means a promise made under duress, or through lust, or under the influence potentially sets the moral course for a person s life Some very questionable promises come into play for some characters up to and including a promise of death.This is a smart, fun book that excels when it is clicking As long as a reader is not prone to overthinking things I have no problem recommending it And there is always a possibility, as this is the first of a duology, that many of my concerns will be answered in due time.3 StarsCopy for review received through NetGalley Recommended for fans of YA FantasyThe premise for this fantasy novel is unique and I love the idea that there are real consequences to breaking a promise You are immediately thrown into Raim s world, and McCulloch s world building is fantastic I also like how severe and unwavering Raim s society is They have rules for a reason and breaking those rules means banishment Even Raim s status can t save him It s a set up for a fast paced, suspenseful story. This is a rough book to fairly rate, but my review falls somewhere on the lower side of the 3 star range It s just that this book is all over the place, and that makes it hard to really 100% comprehend everything that s laid out McCulloch should get credit for creating a magic system that is actually fascinating The concept of promise knots, and the events that unfold if you break one, are solidly interesting The execution and explanation of this magic system Not so much For as long as it took to set things up, and all the info dumps that were present, I really felt lost for a long time in this story The magic system is there, but it s not well explained, and that s frustrating.The other part of this book that was rough for me was the lack of character development I m a very character driven reader, and I like to feel like my protagonists are learning and growing I didn t feel that way during my read, although I admit that I did like Raim overall I just felt like he spent so long trying to find the secret behind his knot, and then right when he was close the book went on all sorts of tangents It just didn t flow, and Raim just didn t grow, and that made it hard for me to really connect with this story.I think there s a lot of good things in The Oathbreaker s Shadow I think that the premise overall is solid and that, with a little bitlove, this book could have been great I am actually interested to see what happens next, to be honest. The Oathbreaker s Shadow is a book written by one of the country s most renowned and talented editors, Amy McCullough of Harper Voyager That s right adviser has become applicant in a bold move that surely places a lot of pressure on her shoulders to perform You see, over the years Amy has worked on books by George R.R Martin, Robin Hobb and Raymond E Feist, and leads the editing process on work by new and upcoming stars such as Blake Charlton, James Smythe and Janet Edwards too Her job revolves around being in regular contact with these kinds of authors advising them of their grammar, characters, plots and even marketing prowess.So, when I heard that she had written a book I was really interested to see how she, as an industry expert , performed I doubt I was the only one either you know the authors under her watch are going to be checking out the bosses work Anyway, here s the blurb 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 So, yes, when we meet our protagonist, Raim, he is unbearably close to fulfilling his destiny and becoming a Yun Warrior Since he was a young man he has been best friends with the future king and should he become a Yun Warrior he is expected to be the closest bodyguard to the King so everything looks rather rosy for him I wouldn t say that Raim is cocky about that fact, he is actually quite humble, but there is certainly a confidence about him and he has great ambitions and expectation in regards to how his life will play out So, when it happens, when Raim is shown to have broken a promise and has his future fall from one of guaranteed respect to one of being loathed and wanted dead, it is a truly emotional path that we must follow him on breaking a promise in the society that McCulloch has created truly is akin to being a spy or murder in our own.The setting of The Oathbreaker s Shadow is one that a couple of years ago when the book was released felt very unique, but today is starting to feelfamiliar This isn t a bad thing at all, McCulloch s novel being set in a hybrid desert society with strong Persian and Mongolian influences, I would suggest feels very much like Arabian Nights and it wouldn t be a huge jump to say that Raim shares many traits with characters from such tales, such as Aladdin What separates Amy s setting from the numbers that are filtering in is both the beauty of the description that she offers and its seeming authenticity Without going into Jordan esque detail, Amy creates vivid images of the scenery and landmarks you d expect to see in the aforementioned movies or the Prince of Persia games.We ve covered it a little already, but to give somedetails on the magic system as the blurb says, the novel is set in a world where promises can be magically bound by the tying of a knot Let us say you promise me you will never hurt my family we cement this promise by performing a quick ritual and tying a knot that you shall wear as a reminder of your promise to me Where it gets interesting is that if you were to break this promise perhaps attacking my son you d end up with a large scar on your person and a shadow would appear behind you, haunting you, letting everyone know that you re an Oathbreaker.I felt this was a great concept, evenso when you consider that the book is for Young Adults The question of who you make a promise to, what you promise and when if ever you can make a promise that will destroy your life, should you break it, is an interesting one that is likely to resonate with younger and older people a like All the best Young Adult novels provide a moral dilemma such as this and I think Amy s encouraging a younger reader to reflect upon their opinions of trust and truth makes this Young Adultthan just a pop novel.I will skip ahead a little, so as not to spoil what happens once Raim breaks this unknown promise Raim is away from the town and determined to find out what this promise was, who he made it to and get a solution as to how he can prove it wasn t his fault, that there has been a mistake of some kind With trust and truth being the main themes of the novel there is plenty of lies and betrayals along Raim s journey after he has made his decision to get to the bottom of what has gone on It is a journey that is full of adventure, packed with interesting characters and loaded with revelations that are likely to shock and surprise its young adult audience less so those adults who have read novels such as A Game of Thrones.Overall, The Oathbreaker s Shadow is an absolutely fantastic debut and I can say without a doubt it was one of the finest debuts of 2013 My hope is that once this duology is complete, Amy takes an even bolder step to writing a longer novel with a deeper,complex plot aimed at adult fantasy readers I think that if she chooses to shed the YA genre s constraints and can combine her literary and descriptive abilities with a complex plot we ll all be treated to her full abilities as a writer That said, this adult can t fricken wait for the sequel Amy McCulloch s The Oathbreaker s Shadow sets up as an interesting story and magic system, before going off the rails The likeable main character Raim, is training to be a member of the Yun, the elite warriors for the Khan His best friend, is Khareh, the son of the Khan, but while Raim likes Khareh, he is blind to his implied faults, which McCullouch implies to the reader Raim and Khareh want to swear oaths to each other when they are of age.Promises to each other are imbued with power When two people make a promise and tie a knot to each other, the promise is wrapped in magic Break the promise, and magic is angrily released The oathbreaker is scarred and the person exiled to the desert In addition, the person is haunted by a spirit of the person who was wronged by the promise breaker.Raim, who is an orphan, has a promise bracelet on his arm tied with a knot, but he is an orphan and no one knows what was promised.So McCulloch sets up a promising story and challenge for Raim to find out the meaning of the promise bracelet.Enter a Sage from the desert, who promises that he can teach anyone to be a Sage with awesome power and the inevitable is bound to occur.But whether its because McCulloch has to spend a lot of time doing info dumps or the long buildup to the first big event in the novel, I found myself skimming nearly 40% of the book at the outset.The action did not really pick up until I was around 60% through with the story, and then, I have to say that Raim seemed less engaging and interesting Yes its a coming of age story and the petulant youngster who must master magic and come to be a man and potential hero is a standard trope in fantasy, but I found Raim s eventual awakening just not that engaging.So I skimmed a lot of the beginning of the book and was not enthralled with theaction packed late middle and end.That is not good. I know it is often a part of a fantasy review, but it s so true An original and unique magic system in a book is like finding a wonderful new spice in a dish It gives the tale a unique flavor.This is a tale of friendship and loyalty and betrayal Of power and outcasts It s a good solid story I recommend it. 3.5 stars I struggled with the book at first because I was bored with all of the history that McCulloch felt the need to lay out all at once and frustrated with way too many characters for me to keep track of that I had to keep looking back But the story picked up about the halfway point, and I found myself really liking it I am, however, frustrated that I still have so many questions, but I am eager for the next one to come out.First of all, I think the concept is really interesting However, I m left to rely on pure faith alone on how the oath making and breaking system works If it s based on Sola s beliefs, then something like a piece of string or hair seems kind of silly for me And with all that background that McCulloch laid out so quickly, I would have thought she would have explained how that tradition came to be That doesn t come until much, much later.The other thing was the book s summary established that Raim was going to break his oath and be considered a traitor But we don t even get to that until about a third of the way through It just seemed like there was so much reading involved up until that point, but not much has happened.The other thing that frustrated me about this book was with all the set up, I thought I would have had a better idea of what was going on as I was reading But that wasn t the case There were some many times that I had to stop and think, Wait a minute, what just happened and I would have to go back and try to figure out if I had missed something Only, I hadn t It just wasn t explained until later or it wasn t explained at all Take for instance around Chapter 20 My mind was reeling on what was going on and how in the world that can happen It wasn t until near the end of Chapter 28 when Draikh rehashed what had happened did I really understand.Major Spoiler Alert for reasoning and later memory refresher Also, Raim was on this quest to find out the mystery behind the original knot Only view spoiler he never did find out I mean, he found out that it was a generational promise, but that explains nothing hide spoiler

Amy McCulloch is a Chinese White author, born in the UK, raised in Ottawa, Canada, now based in London, UK She graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A Hons in English, specializing in Old English and Medieval literature.At the beginning of 2011, she signed with Juliet Mushens of Caskie Mushens Agency for her debut YA fantasy adventure duology The Oathbreaker s Shadow and The Shado

[Reading] ➬ The Oathbreaker's Shadow ➳ Amy McCulloch –
  • Paperback
  • 384 pages
  • The Oathbreaker's Shadow
  • Amy McCulloch
  • 04 August 2017
  • 9780738744056

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