Author: Amy McCulloch
Publisher: Random House
- Imprint: Random House Children’s Publishers (UK)
Date Published: June 6th 2013
Format: ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy). eBook.
Source: From the publisher for review via Netgalley
Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.
Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.
Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.
A gripping YA action-adventure fantasy, the first part of a planned duology.
Number of Days It Took to Read: Did Not Finish (DNF)
This is a cool cover and, with the synopsis, it was the reason for why I picked it up.
The Writing Score: 3 out of 5
Recommendation: Casual Perusal
Memorable or Forgettable: Forgettable
Rating: 3 out of 5
So this ended up being a DNF (Did Not Finish) for a few reasons but, before I get to them, I thought I’d talk about what I did like about this book before deciding that the end was not in fact at the 100% mark but at 54%.
I loved the beginning a lot and the great world building in it. The story is told from Raim’s Point of View and in 3rd person but everything is being seen from his perspective. Not that crazy in fiction. I absolutely loved the premise because it’s so unique that I kind of wished I thought of it myself and it’s because of this that I kept going as far as I did rather than give up on it earlier on. I think it’s fair to call this high fantasy which is not something that would’ve dissuaded me from reading it because I love all types of genre. It does put pressure on the writer to make this made up world appear real in the heads of readers in a way that doesn’t feel like info dumping.
This is where things soured for me a bit. First off, the pacing felt off. The set up took too long and certain scenes could have been a lot shorter, gotten rid of all together or fused with other scenes. There are moments or scenes that felt like too much telling and not enough showing which got me feeling irritated with Raim. Also, the way Raim’s best friend is depicted made it difficult for me to understand his loyalty to him especially since it’s through Raim’s perspective that we’re being shown everything (I really dislike his best friend).
A combination of these things are why I chose to stop reading at 54%. I’m sure it gets better later on and may even make the first half worth it but I just found it to be inconsistent in regards to be interesting. I’m sure others will like it (and others do like it) but it wasn’t the book for me unfortunately.
A. A. Omer
The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.