Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Review: Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun

Title: Sworn to Raise (Courtlight #1)
Author: Terah Edun
Release date: April 10th 2013
Publisher: All Night Reads
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 178
Source: NetGalley

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.

Sworn to Raise is the first book in what I think could be a great YA fantasy series. I liked the premise of this novel, and it has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, I don't feel that it lived up to it. There was so much that could have been enhanced plot-wise, details added in that would have made the novel more enjoyable and intriguing. This novel is quite short, which I guess is both good and bad. Good because I would probably have given up on it had it been longer, but bad because if the right things had been added, I would have really enjoyed reading it.

This book starts off at a slow pace, and remains like that for quite a while. In fact, I only found it getting interesting at about 40% in, which in my opinion is too long to successfully capture a reader's attention. Thankfully it picked up after that, and there were a few action scenes that I really enjoyed. I also quite liked the secrecy and royal politics embedded in the novel.

Ciardis is a poor orphan working as a washer in her hometown of Vane. But when a stranger from the Imperial Court pays a visit to Vane, Ciardis is chosen to become a Companion, and her whole life changes for the better. She discovers revelations about herself and her heritage that she never would have dreamed of, and is put to the test when she comes into her powers.

I did enjoy reading about Ciardis - I found her character likeable, and she's strong and kind-hearted. She also has a flame within herself that you wouldn't have expected. Ciardis is unpredictable and rash, but incredibly loyal and righteous. She's the kind of heroine that you can't help but root for. And I definitely did, throughout the book. There was a lot of character development in her, and I'm looking forward to see how she really comes into her powers in the next book, Sworn to Transfer.

However, Ciardis's character seems to be the only admirable one in the book. The secondary characters don't have enough of a focus on them, so they end up in the shadows, and I wasn't able to find out much about them. I really liked Ciardis's trainer, Damias, though. He was honourable and an all-round likeable character. And the Prince? Well, I'm a little confused. Prince Sebastian is a couple years younger than Ciardis, placing him at fifteen years. I'm not sure whether he's meant to be a love interest or not. In the future, maybe. But there's no romance in this book. I thought that would bother me, but it didn't really. Though if you're a romance fan, I guess this one isn't for you.

When this book picks up, it gets pretty interesting. There's this maze scene that I really liked, which reminded me of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter. But I felt like the really good stuff was too rushed. The ending is definitely rushed, and everything happens too quickly. If the last quarter of the book was more spaced out and the first quarter more narrowed in, it would have been awesome. Like I said before, there's great potential in this premise. I liked the whole feel of this fantasy world, which is a little like olden times with modern elements in it.

I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers, but I warn you - if you're an impatient reader, you may not get past the initial few chapters. Though I was disappointed by this novel, it has piqued my interest, and I will definitely be picking up the sequel to find out what happens next. Hopefully I'll enjoy that one a little more!

*Thank you to All Night Reads for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 2.5/5

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