Series: The Knot's Sequence #1
Received: Received a copy from the Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest reviewRelease Date: June 4, 2013
Buy From Amazon.ca / Buy From Chapters.ca /
Buy From BookDepository.com
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.
A gripping YA action-adventure fantasy, the first part of a planned duology.
I was really interested in the idea of this book when I first heard about it, a story that revolves around keeping promises to your family and friends, and if you break that promise you are exiled from your community. After finishing this book, I can definitely say that Amy McCulloch's story really makes me want to really think about promises before I make them. It took me a bit of time to get into the story, but there was a certain point where I found myself needing more of the characters.
What is really great about this book is how detailed Amy McCulloch is with her writing. There are a lot of descriptions of everything, I was a little worried that the descriptions would overtake the story, but I really found that it added to it instead. These descriptions really help with the world-building, and I really felt that the story was brought to life for me. The setting was amazing and I think the idea of these different tribes being out in the desert made the story even more interesting.
I really found that the secondary characters really made this book more so than that of Raim, though I did like his character, there were a few times where I thought he was to trusting and just jumped into something too quick. I really wanted him to think before he acted. But despite that, his character is loyal and vows to protect those he cares about and that is something I always admire in a character. For me, I really loved the character of Waid, she is a strong female character that also fights for what she wants.
The book is split into three parts and each section takes readers on a different part of Raim's journey to finding out more about his broken oath. I like how new characters are slowly introduced throughout, we meet many great people in each section and they all have a strong impact on Raim.
I'm also very happy to hear that this is planned to be a duology, the way it ends really makes me eager to come back and read the next book and I know it won't just be filler that can happen with trilogies. I can see book 2 being heavier on the action and it makes me very excited! Everything about this book was so much fun, and readers who are looking for a good fantasy story will find it in THE OATHBREAKER'S SHADOW.
Also as part of the blog tour for Random House of Canada and The Oathbreaker's Shadow, I have a guest post from Amy McCulloch today. Welcome Amy!
If you’re an author, there’s one question you should be prepared to answer A LOT: where did you get the inspiration for your story from? Now, my standard answer to this question cites one major source (my studies), but in fact, inspiration is not made from a single thread but multiple threads weaving together to eventually form a cohesive whole.
Here are a few threads that came together to make The Oathbreaker’s Shadow…
This is where my studies come in. I graduated from the University of Toronto as an English specialist with a minor in History. It was actually that minor in History that led me to learn about the very medieval concept of fealty: an oath of loyalty from one person to another. At the same time, I took a course on the History of China, and learned about Genghis Khan properly for the first time.
I was intrigued that even though I was studying diverse medieval cultures – like China, Japan and Western Europe – this same concept of an oath-until-death kept cropping up. It’s something so foreign to modern society that it felt natural to twist the idea even further: what if breaking an oath had an actual, physical consequence, like a scar – or a shadow?
I’ve gained a huge amount of inspiration from my travels. I’m lucky enough to have travelled extensively with my parents when I was a kid, to places like India, China, and Pakistan, where I had my eyes opened to different cultures and societies. It was a trip to Lahore, Pakistan that eventually inspired the concept of promise-knots, as I was accompanying my dad on a carpet-buying trip (my parents own their own oriental carpet store in Ottawa). I walked through one of the weaving factories with my dad, completely mesmerized by the way the men (it was mostly men) wove thousands of strings onto gigantic looms to create the carpets. There seemed like magic in those strings.
When I first conceived of TOS, it was totally different from anything I’d ever written before. But I’d read several books that had completely inspired me – and showed me a whole new realm of fiction I had never really encountered before. One of those books was Dune by Frank Herbert. I fell in love with the setting (you can probably tell!) and the philosophy behind the book. Another was The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Here was a completely fascinating alternate world, amazing characters and a story with so many layers, you could discover something you had missed with every read.
Writing fantasy is such a great tool for breaking and bending the rules – and I learned that by reading. I didn’t want to create a fantasy world that was really foreign to readers, but rather to take a single concept (see above, of fealty) and take it to its fantasy extreme. And if I could throw a bit of action and adventure in along the way, all the better!
Thanks for having me!