Title: Sworn to Raise
Author: Terah Edun
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published: June 2012
Length: 298 pages
Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the empire. But beneath her empire’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond initiations.
Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.
But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.
This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.
First things first: I kind of regret not signing up for the later two books in this series. Because while I held back and only requested this first book, since there were a few ways it could go, I ended up truly enjoying the story!
The story is nothing new – orphan girl finds out she’s special, is hosted by an older, more beautiful and slightly mysterious woman, and then said orphan girl discovers that she is entwined in a conflict much bigger than herself. And the companion idea really reminded me of Firefly. BUT! I really enjoyed it all, nonetheless. I’m a sucker for stories like this, and Sworn to Raise was the perfect read for a night when I just needed some comfort words.
I really liked Ciardis – she wasn’t a damsel in distress or really whiny about anything. She doesn’t know how to read? She’s going to find someone to give her that ability through magic. Finds a mysterious boy in the spirit world? Heck no she isn’t going to fall in love – he could be evil in disguise! The other characters could have used a bit more development, but I’m sure that will come in the sequels. I’m especially interested in how Sebastian will develop.
As far as the plot, I think it wound up a bit too quickly, especially with how wound up everyone was about the big bad. But to me, this book wasn’t about the big bad – it was the setup for the baddie. Who I’m sure will show his/her face in the sequels. There’s just enough intrigue and plot thickening at the end of STR that it leads into book two, but doesn’t leave me hanging and having no answers. The same goes with the world building – we know a lot about the companion guild, but not much else about the world. I’d like to find out more of the politics and magic!
In the end, I enjoyed this a lot more than I had expected. It was a quick, easy read, and entertained me for a few hours. And I’m still kicking myself for not signing up for the next book. I think I’ll have to buy it on Kindle for myself!
Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer born and raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area, who transplanted to the Northeast region for college, and has spent years living abroad in South Sudan and Morocco. She writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl.