Reviewed by Rachael Farndell
Being a few years past the aimed audience for this book, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch.
It is the first in a series, a YA (Young Adult) fantasy story set in the fictional world of Dahran. The story follows Raim, a fifteen year old boy training to become one of the Yun, the Khan’s personal protection. In Raim’s world promises are everything, you are bound to your promise by magic with a knot and these are not to be taken lightly. Reneging on a promise leads not only to physical scarring but scorn from your people, being outcast into the desert to Lazar, a place of no return-if you live to get to it-and tormented by a shadow of whomever you have wronged for the rest of your life.
For as long as he can remember Raim has had a knot around his wrist. He has no clue what promise it signifies but on the day he makes his biggest promise, an Absolute Vow, binding his life to his friend Khareh, the future Khan, his life is dramatically changed. Now an outcast Raim has to struggle to cross the desert to search for Lazar and answers to his past.
Wadi, a feisty, no nonsense girl saves him from certain death in the desert and makes an unlikely ally but even then her tribe treats him as an outcast, seeing his shadow. They agree to take him to Lazar as is their duty but what awaits him there was not what he expected. Seems the stories the children are fed are not always true…
Unlike others, Raim’s shadow does not haunt him, it is not a typical shadow. The relationship that develops between to two is fascinating and a great concept for the book. The premise that we wear our promises for all to see and a person is only as good as their word is intriguing. To break a promise means you are worthless, even if you have no knowledge of how or when that promise was made.
The story is well written and captivates you with the descriptions of a beautiful but perilous land, scorching heat from the desert and a fear for Raim through his struggle for the truth and redemption. Readers can almost feel the heat as Raim toils to find Lazar, the descriptions of the land are so fluent and captivating it’s hard not to get so involved.
Although the plot may seem predictable for older readers, it is still a brilliant story which flows well and I cannot wait to finish the series!
RRP: £7.99 (Paperback), £12.99 (Hardback), £4.99 (eBook)
Available to buy from Amazon here.