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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

[Blog Tour] MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

Title: The Oathbreaker's Shadow
Author: Amy McCulloch
Format Acquired: ARC
Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Publishing House: Random House Children's Publishers 
ISBN: 9780857531810
Source of Copy: Blog tour


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 symbolizes, 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.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Raim is on the run. What should have been the best day of his life became the worst when he unknowingly broke an oath marked by a simple bracelet around his wrist. Instead of being the Chief Yun to his best friend and future king Khareh, Raim is now regarded as one with the Chauk, people who didn't keep their promises - the lowest of the low in Raim's oath-important society. Marked for exile and ruin, Raim must find the answers he needs to save himself, and the people from a fate worse than breaking an oath. 

The Oathbreaker's Shadow is set in a hot environment that I could only envision only too easily. Granted that the country I live in may not prove to be as dusty and scorching as Raim's world, McCulloch is a genius at crafting a world where the reader might feel the need to turn up the air conditioning. Some descriptions are lush and vivid, which is why I am giving it three stars because I am, if anything, a sucker for detail. But while some areas are fine tuned, I did find some aspects of the book lacking and puzzling. 

Today's world where promises and oaths are taken lightly highly contrast the depiction of the importance of oaths and promises to Raim and his society. Oaths made before the age of sixteen don't account for much pain or consequences, on account of kids just being kids. Raim wasn't exactly the protagonist I had in mind when I started with The Oathbreaker's Shadow. Of course he has the mad skills to be a good fighter, but he's a little too bland and a little too girl-crazy for my liking. While he was supposedly on the quest to find some answers, I just thought that he kept deviating from his mission and focused too much entirely on the girl. I like it when romance springs from something interesting, but what I just get from the both of them is that they're teenagers, and they lack people their age around. I didn't feel any sort of spark between them, only that there had to be kissing. What I did like was Raim's relationship with Draikh, because they do evoke some really fun times together. On their own, well, not so much. 

As I said, some details may be lacking, and McCullock didn't actually explain a lot of the goings-on of the scenarios. They're not exactly cumbersome in the way that it actually bothered me though. What only really irked me was the flow of the book. Sure, it was entertaining, but I couldn't help but hope that it wouldn't keep readers hanging with a cliched end to book one. 

While lacking in some areas, Amy McCulloch's The Oathbreaker's Shadow spins an original tale about a society that above all else, cultivates dignity and honor. If you want to try something new, you can try to check if this one is right up your alley. 



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