Friday, July 6, 2018

The oathbound by Mercedes Lackey

When her entire clan is slaughtered, her body defiled and left for dead, Tarma defies the odds and survives.  Needing revenge for all that she has lost, Tarma seeks out the service of her goddess and becomes one of the Sword Sworn - an elite group of Shin'a'in who leave behind their clan names and become weapons for their goddess, as sexless as the weapons they weild in Her name.  It was the only choice for Tarma to make, one that she would make again, even though it means her clan will die because the Sword Sworn belong to all the clans and not just one.  As Tarma tracks the men that destroyed her clan she develops the skills she will need for her revenge, taught by warriors that have tread the same path she now walks.  

When she closes in her quarry she discovers that she is not alone in her pursuit of the bandits - although her fellow hunter is something of a surprise.  Kethry is the last thing Tarma would have expected - she is a beautiful and talented sorceress.  It is also a surprise to discover that Kethry is not alone, she keeps the company of a sword named Need, who has bonded to Kethry with the simple purpose of helping women.  It soon becomes clear that Kethry has brains to match her beauty, and that they make very good partners indeed - even if Need seems determined to put them in harms way.  When the kyree Warrl joins their team it makes them formidable and easily underestimated.

As Tarma and Kethry set out to develop a reputation and build a name for themselves they will come across some very interesting stories indeed.  With her skills as  Sworn Sworn Tarma is a match for most, able to defend herself with steel and attack with steel and arrow.  When Tarma is outnumbered she can count on Warrl to lash out with teeth and claws, an ally smart enough to know when to fight and when to run.  With Need at her side Kethry can protect herself in a fight, while lending her magical skills of attack and disguise to whatever adventure they happen upon next.  They are a true partnership, sharing a bond deeper than friendship, but they also have to learn to trust each other and know when to trust that the other can take care of themselves.  A lesson they must learn quickly, because danger lurks around every corner and not even the deepest bond to the Goddess can protect them from everything.

The oathbound is the first book in the Vows and honour series and is both an enjoyable fantasy romp and a thoroughly inspiring read about family, friendship, and looking out for each other.  What begins in quite a brutal and horrifying fashion manages to bring elements of magic and a good dose of humour.  I have not read these books for quite a few years and it was nice to reunite with the characters and see where they started - although the original short stories are in Oathblood which is considered the third book in this series.  A great read, and a great start to re-reading the series.  

If you like this book then try:
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Magics pawn by Mercedes Lackey
  • Winds of fate by Mercdes Lackey
  • The Elvenbane by Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton
  • Throne of glass by Sarah J Maas
  • Sing the four quarters by Tanya Huff
  • If I pay thee not in gold by Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey
  • Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
  • Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
  • The diamond throne by David Eddings
  • Cast in shadow by Michelle Sagara

Reviewed by Brilla

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