Everything I know is a lie. I’m an ordinary mortal girl. Lord Irrik is a depraved dragon shifter. King Irdelron is an immortal tyrant. In the disease ridden land of Verald, life is mapped out much like the established rings of our kingdom. Everyone has a role… Me? I’ll be uselessly serving potato stew for the rest of my life because I can’t make anything grow. But starvation brews rebellion. When the king strikes, I’m captured by Lord Irrik. Instantly, I’m embroiled in a deadly game. One where I’m desperate to understand the rules. Because nothing makes sense anymore. Now, I'm not only fighting for my life . . . but a love that could be the key to my freedom. What if the truth means you’re not who — or what — you thought you were?
Blood Oath (The Darkest Drae Book 1)FeaturedHot
Verald used to be a beautiful and fertile land. Phaetyn’s kept the land lush and beautiful with their healing magic. The king being a selfish, greedy man killed all the Phaetyn’s and consumed their blood in exchange for immortality. Now with Verald being a desolate kingdom and a vile king as its leader, a rebellion is born. Ryn finds herself right in the middle of the rebellion. She works at The Crane’s Nest for an old family friend and the meeting place of the rebellion. Knowledge of the rebellion causing the king to strike back. Lord Irrik, the king’s drae, captures Ryn and takes her back to the king. Now, Ryn is caught in between of a deadly game and must figure out the rules fast. Her life may not be the only one in danger.
Blood Oath was definitely an interesting read. I really enjoyed the story and the development of the characters. Verald is a ruined land due to the actions of the king. Wonderful magic healers, known as Phaetyn’s, were killed to preserve the life of the king and now the land is to rot. The rebellion wants to overthrow the king and hopefully create a land of peace. Verald is overwatched by Lord Irrik, the king’s drae. He is a magical creature that can shift between human and dragon. I love the nightmarish stories that Ryn’s mother tells of the drae to create an image of dred. The world is very well described and so is the history of the land. The cruelty of the king along with the hope and fear of the people.
Ryn finds herself in the middle of the rebellion due to a fateful encounter with Lord Irrick. After witnessing her mother’s murder, Ryn is unable to run away and attacks Irrik. Once she is captured in the castle she is thrown down into the dungeon where she endures weeks of torture. These scenes were particularly hard to get through. The beginning of the torture section of the book were pretty graphic. I really enjoyed that because of the detail. Then the torture scenes continued, and continued. Understanding that these scene make Ryn who she is during the rest of the book, I still found myself waiting for them to end. Her friendship with Ty and Tyr are essential to the story but I feel like this could have been done without the continuous torture. After this portion of the book, I couldn’t put the story down. Once Ryn was out of the dungeon, I needed to know what happened next. The rest of the book was not disappointing and filled with action.
I love Ryn. Her personality is quirky and funny. I found myself smiling during a lot of the scenes in the beginning and the end because of her banter. She loses a bit of her personality during the middle which is understandable due to the torture. Lord Irrik is mysterious and wonderful. His character does make you wonder whose side he’s really on, even though you really want him to be good. The way Irrik shifts, sometimes uncontrollably, was so well executed. There was never any doubt that he was part dragon and that aspect created such a unique part of the story.
This book definitely entertaining. Once I really got into the story it was hard to put down. There were a couple of reasons why I did not rate this book higher. One of the reasons being the torture scenes were too long for me. While very necessary for the story, this could have been decreased with still breaking Ryn personality. Verald layout was a little hard to follow as well. There was a map in the beginning of the book, which I did refer to, but the kingdom was just so small. The size created some confusion when Ryn was traveling.
Blood Oath was definitely a unique and interesting read. I really enjoyed the lore of Verald and the Draeconian Realm. Phaetyn and Drae were great elements in creating this story. While the story was unique, my favorite parts of the book were the characters. I loved Ryn since the beginning with her humor and need for adventure. Her remarks kept me smiling even during the dark parts of the book. Lord Irrik was done very well. His shifting from human to dragon was unique and imaginative. Every time he shifted, the image was created by the description read. There are torture scenes in this book that are detailed which I felt like took too much time throughout the story. I would not recommend this book for those who are sensitive to this type of reading. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy high fantasy stories, magic and dragons! I am looking forward to continuing this story and seeing what happens next.
What I loved:
That cover! Gorgeous! And I am happy to say the story wholly lives up to the lure of the beautiful cover art.
Ryn is the kind of heroine I have come to expect from both St. Clare and Wagner, yet she has a quiet strength and sass that sets her apart. Humorous and witty, she takes her challenges in stride and learns to stand on her own two feet.
Lord Irrik. Yummy. If you loved Jovan from St. Clare’s Tainted Accords series, you will have a new favorite when you meet Wagner and Clare’s Lord Irrik. Dark and dangerous with a mysterious past and a hidden vulnerable side, Irrik is one handsome and broody dragon shifter I’d like to meet.
Ryn’s journey is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming, and breathless moments that will keep the pages turning long past that “just one more chapter” vow.
What I didn’t love:
A bit of a slow starter for me. While Blood Oath is one of the better fantasy books I’ve read for 2017, it did take me a little while to get into the story. Around the fifth or sixth chapter, the story really begins to take off. I promise you’ll be hooked.
I also struggled with some of the names and places. I realize fantasy names are typically unusual and can be difficult to pronounce. There were a few names that I continually stumbled over and that tends to pull me out of the story (because I just can’t not back up and get it right).
The bottom line:
As an author and editor, I struggle to fall into a story and actually finish it. It is incredibly difficult to let my reader mind just let go and have fun. The highest praise I can give a book is when it is effortless for my author mind to fall into a book and I’m able to remember what it is like to read for the pure joy of it. Blood Oath was that good and I cannot wait for Shadowed Wings.