In the land of Darhan, making an oath binds you for life. Their promises are bound up in knots and carried with honour. Shouls an oath be broken, the knot will burn and brand them a traitor. And that’s not all oathbreakers have to fear; their betrayal haunts them in a perpetual shadow and they are banished to the city of Lazar. A place of no return and a journey across the deadly desert.

There was a lot to love about The Oathbreaker’s Shadow but I do have a problem with the official blurb for this book. The pivotal event that is mentioned is past page 100 and I felt that I was waiting for it to happen before the story could begin for me. The world building that comes before is extremely important; I loved the Northern Africa inspired land and the cultural history of the Yun and Darhan but I think I would have enjoyed it more without that expectation. So I’m not going to mention the event in the blurb, even though you may well have read it already.

Once I got into the book, I loved Raim’s time in the desert. It is not a forgiving place and you can practically feel the blistering heat and the discomfort of sand in your mouth as you read. There are wonderful creatures and traditions. Many of the stories Raim grew up with were considered myths, but as he ventures out in the wide world, he discovers the grains of truth behind them.

It’s an interesting concept to have a physical manifestation of your wrongs displayed to the world. There is no redemption. You make one mistake and that’s it, you are shunned forever. No matter how small the betrayal, if you made an oath and break it, you have to live with the consequences forever.

Raim did come across as a bit younger than 16 though. I guess if you’ve made up a world, the level of maturity and experience can be completely alien to ours, but something in his emotional range made me think he was much younger. Certainly not someone you’d trust with the life of royalty. However it’s the perfect book to give to someone a little tired of romance in young adult who is pining for adventure.

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow is published by Doubleday, an imprint of Transworld Publishing, and is available now in hardback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the author for providing a copy for review.

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Also reviewed @ Serendipity Reviews

Shelve next to: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke and Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.