Review: The Oathbreaker's Shadow

The Oathbreaker's Shadow (The Knots Sequence #1) by Amy McCulloch
Release Date ~ June 6, 2013
Doubleday Canada ~ Random House Canada
ISBN13: 9780385678247
Review copy received from publisher for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Fans of Philip Pullman, Jonathan Stroud, and George R.R. Martin are going to love this action-filled fantasy novel by an exciting and extremely promotable debut voice in the genre.

In the world of fifteen-year-old Raim, you tie a knot for every promise you make. Break that promise and the knot will burst into flames, scarring your skin and forever marking you as an oathbreaker. Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one seems to know where it came from or which promise it symbolizes, and Raim barely thinks about it at all--especially not since he became the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the day that he binds his life to that of his best friend (and the future king), Khareh, the rope ignites and sears a dark mark into his skin. Scarred now as an oathbreaker, Raim has two options: run or be killed. He chooses to run, taking refuge in the vast desert among a colony of exiled oathbreakers. Will he be able to learn the skills he needs to clear his name? And even if he can, how can he keep a promise he never knew he made in the first place?

The Oathbreaker's Shadow is an imaginative fantasy, the story of a boy's adventure through the desert to uncover the secrets from his past. This is precisely the type of book I'd like to see more of (a less prevalent setting, particularly the Middle Eastern-inspired desert and a very creative system of magic).

  1. A very unique plot:

    I loved the whole idea Amy put together with the consequences of having a shadow follow you for your life if you broke an oath, and the effects of being ostracized along with it. This is the book's greatest strength and it isn't like other stories I've read. It's so interesting to think about what this experience would be like, particularly for a teenage boy having to lose his family, friends, community, and even his future aspirations. That's an absolutely devastating loss and I liked the focus and attention paid to it.
The problem for me was that I ultimately failed to connect with The Oathbreaker's Shadow. So while there were a handful of aspects I found interesting, overall the story was one that did not resonate with me. By the end of the book, I didn't feel like I had been on the journey with Raim. It's also a far slower adventure story than I'm used to, and it seemed like I spent a fair amount of time waiting for something exciting to happen. The characters lacked any strong development so that they felt more like caricatures than real people.

But I think this book was more of a case where it didn't work for me and my own personal tastes. Readers who don't mind a fantasy book with a slower pace would likely enjoy it, particularly with the creative plot. There isn't much resolution at the end of this first book, clearly setting it up for a sequel where I anticipate there will be many more revelations regarding Raim's situation.

For those of you are curious about this book and think it sounds like something you'd enjoy, I encourage you to check out my friend Christa's review of The Oathbreaker's Shadow on her blog More Than Just Magic for a different take on the book from what I shared here.

1 comment:

ChristasBooks said...

Thanks for linking to me review! I'm sad it didn't work for you but you're right the pace IS slower and it's not going to work for everyone.

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