Great. You’re in the right place.
When I picked up Amy McCulloch’s debut novel The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, I didn’t really know what was in store. I knew from in-house meetings that it had to do with scarring, fire and broken promises. And yes, the novel does involve those three components, but in such an intricate way, you’ll find yourself never wanting to make another promise as long as you live.
At this point, you’re likely looking for a little more context as to what the heck I’m speaking about. Fair enough. I’m going to refer to the publishers website, because it was their description that really sold me on committing to read the book in the first place:
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 story of Raim and his journey to find the truth about who he really is, is one that will have you hooked on page one. Not only has he been exiled from his home, but he’s forced to walk away from his sister, his best friend and his mentor. With little to no direction, Raim stumbles upon a group of people, known as the Alashan. Luckily, they thrive in the desert, where Raim is barely hanging on. Their “guidance” (if you can call it) save his life and allow him to try to figure out the truth about who he is and what the searing mark on his skin actually means.
You’ll find yourself rooting for Raim. You’ll fall in love with not only his determination, but his heart. Because, at the end of the day, all this young boy really wants is to be a part of something. To belong to a family.
Amy McCulloch’s writing is intelligent and has a distinctive confidence wove into each page. The world of Lazar is described in such great detail, that you’ll find it hard to believe it’s a fictional location. This is a great book for people of all ages that enjoy the likes of Philip Pullman and/or George R.R. Martin.
You can connect with Amy on Twitter @AmyMcCulloch and be sure to visit her blog, where she not only provides you with an excerpt of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, but she also shares her (adorable) reaction to seeing her book in print for the very first time!