The Oathbreaker's Shadow (The Knots Sequence #1)
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.
I loved the magic in this novel - the knots and the shadows in particular. In Raim’s world, to make a promise to someone is taken very seriously. So much so that knots are tied between two people to represent the pledge, and if it is broken, the oathbreaker is physically scarred. Once discovered, an oathbreaker is captured and killed, or banished to the desert. Not only that, but they are then haunted and constantly goaded by whoever they betrayed. Both the shadows and the knots are such fresh and unique elements. The imagination here is astonishing.
Raim is a fantastic character. He is confident and ambitious - training to be a Yun warrior and first choice as protector of the future Khan, Khareh. When Raim binds his life to Khareh’s, he unknowingly breaks a vow he’d already made and becomes the very thing he loathes - an oathbreaker. Raim needs answers, and his only hope of staying alive is to run, so we’re taken on an emotional journey across a harsh, yet beautiful, landscape.
I’d recommended THE OATHBREAKER’S SHADOW to fans of Zoë Marriott - rich fantasy, beautiful writing and exceptional world-building.