by Terah Edun
Release Date: Available Now
Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the empire. But beneath her empire’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond initiations.
Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.
But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.
This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.
My immensely interesting thoughts:
First off, that synopsis is incredibly misleading which is incredibly irritating. The supposed "legends" are nonexistent and this plot point is barely even the main plot arc. It's really just mentioned in passing and is certainly not the reason for her doing anything she does. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
This book.....oh, this book. I'm not quite sure what to say. I loved it and loathed it. I can't say I hated it because I didn't. I looked forward to reading it. But it is nowhere near the love end of the scale either. This book had far to many issues for it to come close. On a scale from "absolute loathing/all kinds of nope!" to "WOEKFJAODIFJAWOE", I'd say its a solid "okay/decent/not too bad".
(Ohhhhh that scales kind of nifty! Maybe a new rating system? I feel so creative! It does happen every now and then...)
Anywayssss, I guess I should start off with what I liked: the idea behind the plot. Seriously, magic and companions (still sounds like prostitutes if you ask me but whatever) and medieval worlds and MAGIC! So much potential! Add in "the one" to save the world, princes and secrets and I'm on this like a dog on a bone (Eh...not the best comparison but all creativity was used for the above scale). And I was intrigued. I really was. Even though this book failed to deliver on many levels *cough*secrets/legends*cough*, the idea was more than enough to keep me interested.
Oh, and I actually did like the prince. I wasn't expecting the age thing, but he had a somewhat solid head on him. Acted better and more mature than Ciardis anyways.
Unfortunately, that is really all the praise I can say for this book. My list of faults/needed improvements is much, much longer.
1. Ciardis - I wanted to love you girl. I really did. And I actually do love you. And hate you. My feelings towards you are confused, just as you seem confused as to what you want your personality to be like. One minute your a tough girl overcoming injustices. The next, you're being incredibly rude and haughty for no reason (I don't care about his age, he's still the prince! Show some respect girl!). The moment after that, your crying and acting all pathetic. Then comes more rudeness. Then random "OMG! LET'S BE FRIENDS! *giggles*. You were confusing. I couldn't decide whether to hug you, laugh with you, or punch you in the throat. Oh you confuse me so.
2. Random characters - Seriously, there are a couple characters that were introduced that had absolutely no point in moving the plot forward. Her best friend? Heck, can't even remember the name. Basically, they introduce themselves, say how their sponsors hate each other and then giggle like they are the best of friends. And guess what? They are! And guess what else? That whole interaction from first introduction to best friendship happens across the span of 5 sentences (give or take). WOW! It's like best friendship at first sight! And I could've fallen for it (maybe) if she ever came back and aided the plot. She pops up only once or twice more and for pointless reasons if you ask me.
Second unnecessary character - the Generals son. He's only there for the hunt to antagonize her and let you think that "hey, maybe this will be an interesting hate turned love relationship". YAY! Except no. He is there for that one scene then POOF. Gone forever. He didn't even add to the scene except to add some drama. Pointless.
Third unnecessary character(s) - the two villains. I'll get into this later, but basically that plot point went by so quickly and so unbelievably that they were pointless.
3. Under the category of writing:
- Lack of cohesion and transitions - the writing wasn't awful per se, but it needed some work. For one, it was jumpy. Thing happened and I don't know. It just felt jumpy.
- Not explaining things that needed to be explained - this book is only 265 pages long. That isn't very long for a fantasy. You see, fantasy is one of the few genres that I actually like details and expect them. They help anchor you to this new, fantastical world. However, it's almost as if the author just wanted to skip right on to the main (supposed) plot point. Need an example? She gets to the Companion's Guild, there is like 1 paragraph of explanation of what she's going to learn (even thats a bit sketchy) then its months later and she's all perfect and whatnot. Um.....I don't know. I thought the whole school and classes thing would be interesting. Instead of taking the time to sit around and explain the "how" it was just more of like "she was this, but now she's this" sort of thing.
- Also, the language lacked cohesion. Some of the words thrown in were wayyyy to modern and unexpected. It threw me off every time she'd say awesome or some other modern slang.
4. The actual plot - So, like I said earlier, the idea behind the plot is what kept me going. However, don't expect much to do with these "legends" about her being the only one to harness the power to raise the prince. Yes, I guess that is it ultimately, but I expected like prophecies and for it to be the talk of the town and to be a major plot point. It's mentioned once or twice, but thrown to the side like no big deal. Seriously?! I think the power to raise a prince is a PRETTY BIG DEAL!
- Also, those villains? Where did they come from?!?! Most of the time, even if you don't know who the actual villain is, you've met them or known them in some way. Sure, you meet these guys but I'm not even sure I understand the motive. I guess one I do, but the other? I guess he's just trigger happy. Whatever. Didn't see his benefit in it all.
- Oh, by the way, the whole "climax" takes maybe 3 pages.....3 FREAKING PAGES! That's it?! All this supposed buildup (if you can call it that because I totally wasn't feeling it) and it's take three pages to resolve it? Also, wayyyyyyyyy to easy. How CONVENIENT that she was able to do that when she previously wansn't. Andddd, to top it all off, no explanation given. Whatever....
Okay, so since I'm writing this all in one sitting, I see myself getting more and more frustrated as I write out all the issues. Heck, I'm not even sure I hit them all! Actually, I know I haven't hit them all. However, before I go into crazy ranting time (believe it or not I haven't hit that level yet) and since I think I hit most of the points, I'm going to stop.
Look, the book was interesting. I'll give it that. It had some really awesome ideas. But the execution? Lacking. Considerably. Too bad.