Monday, 5 August 2013

Book: Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun

Book 1 of the Courtlight series.

I received an ARC of Sworn to Raise from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Ciardris Vane is the orphaned 17 year old daughter of a gypsy, she struggles to put food in her belly and a place to live. Making a scant living as a washerwoman, when one of the members of the Companion's Guild comes to her town and sees her she is swept away into a completely different life. At first believed to simply be a pretty face with no magical talent, it is soon revealed that Ciardris is actually the last living descendant of a famous mage clan, the Weathervanes. Ciardris has the power to enhance other people's abilities, making her contract a valuable thing to win. With the time to chose a patron drawing near, Ciardris enjoys the attentions of the Royal Mage, a General and the heir to the Imperial Throne, and has to make a decision, whilst helping out her new friend, Prince Sebastian. All culminating in a magical showdown...

Link to Goodreads
Link to amazon

This is one of those books that I've wanted to read for ages, and when I saw it on Netgalley, and got approved for it, I couldn't believe my luck! And thankfully, Sworn to Raise was everything that I thought it would be, and more. It delivered action, magic, romance, and that little bit of girly that dresses and make-up bring out!

The novel follows Ciardris, through a limited third person narrative, so for most events that happen away from her, the reader has no idea about either. At the beginning of the book she's one of those people that just gets on with her life, she doesn't want to hurt anyone, or be hurt, she just wants to do the best that she can with the resources she has. This develops through the story as she becomes more adventurous, and though she also becomes more girly, she still isn't afraid to get herself messed up. I liked this as a character, mainly because I can relate to it, she could get stuck into messy tasks but the next page she could be admiring a dress or some shoes, to me that is what makes a good female character.

The Companions themselves are very intriguing characters, as of yet we have only met three that are not in training, Serena, Vana and Sarah, but each has a unique ability, whether it is magical or mundane, that makes them special to their patrons. The relationship  between Serena and Vana seems to be particularly realistic, they bicker and don't get on, and there is a massive amount of rivalry between them, particularly as their proteges arrive and train at the same time.

Though most of the book is centred around the Patron Hunt, the romantic notions in the story are very subtle. The way I see the story there are two distinct paths that I think the love story could go, though I'm not sure which I think is most likely, or in fact which I prefer. The author has created a banterous energy between Ciardris and Sebastian, which I liked, particularly as that seems to be in keeping with the reactions of two teenagers towards each other, especially when they find each other attractive. On the other hand there is the mysteriousness of one of the other characters (which is one of the other ways that I think the love story could go), and from what we know about Ciardris' character so far, I think the mysteriousness could attract her.

The magic system has the basis to be a really interesting and unique one, though I am still slightly confused as the the limitations on the magic cores and what any given character can do with it. I liked that different abilities can manifest at different points in time, for example Ciardris' ability manifesting on her 18th birthday, as was customary in her family, and am eager to know more about it. Of course it is worth mentioning that the reason the reader is somewhat limited in their knowledge is because Ciardris is limited in hers too.

This is an entertaining, fast paced, fantasy novel, with a clearly well thought up world, well thought about characters and it certainly leaves you wanting more from the author! I can't wait for the release of the next one!