|Image courtesy of amymcculloch.wordpress.com|
I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch through a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads. As such I was under no obligation to produce a review, I write this by choice not due to any agreement with myself and either the author or publisher.
The book is actually a YA title, hard as it may be to believe I am a few years past that stage ;-) but I'm a strong believer that if a story is well told then it's worth reading. Indeed it could be argued that the YA description refers to the age of the protagonists rather than a recommended reading age.
So I had no concerns over the YA tag but The Oathbreaker's Shadow is also a fantasy novel, a genre I haven't actively avoided but also not been particularly drawn to, I've not read the LOTR books or Game of Thrones for instance.
I was however, intrigued by the plot of The Oathbreaker's Shadow; the main character is 15 year old Raim, who lives a nomadic lifestyle in the land of Darhan. The people living here tie promise knots whenever they make a vow, these knots are bound by powerful magic. Should a promise be broken the knot leaves a physical scar, the oathbreaker becomes haunted by a shadow and is thrown into the desert as an outcast. Raim is training to be an elite Yun warrior and agrees to give his life protecting his best friend Khareh who is the future Khan. However, on the night he makes this solemn vow he accidentally breaks a promise. He has worn a bracelet since the day he was born but the children of Darhan are raised by the older generation and so he has remained unaware of the significance of this promise. Nevertheless despite innocently breaking this vow he is still made an exile and with a shameful scar marking him as a traitor he is forced to flee into the desert in a bid to uncover the truth.
The Oathbreaker's Shadow is a hugely enjoyable adventure story. It doesn't shy away from violence or death but also looks as the big themes of forgiveness, trust and love. Raim is a likeable hero with enough flaws to be interesting and Wadi is a strong and believable female character. Amy McCulloch has created lands and characters full of magic and mystery, The Oathbreaker's Shadow is a duology but I believe there is enough scope for a series of books. The book ended as, all good first books of a series do, on a cliffhanger. I'm very much looking forward to reading what comes next for Raim.
The Oathbreaker's Shadow is published in the UK by Doubleday Childrens.