Sworn To Raise (Courtlight #1)
By Terah Edun
'"You know," said Prima with a hint of cruelty in her voice, "If you really wanted to learn how to pay respect to the ground, I would have had Teachene show you."
Going stiff with ire at the girl's dig at her friend, Ciardis retorted, "It takes a dirt kisser to know one, Prima. Perhaps you should teach me."'
An interesting combination of court intrigue, medieval-esque politics, ancient magic and the painstaking trials of etiquette involved in becoming a true 'lady', Sworn To Raise is a tale to look out for.
Ciardis is of gypsy origin partially, which made her a fierce, fiery and intelligent heroine for the most part.
Her being taken to be trained to become a companion - the process involving makeovers, new dresses, lessons, never-ending critique, and more - is very reminiscent of The Princess Diaries. Especially that scene in the movie when they're sitting in the screening room and looking at the profiles for potential husbands!
A similar scene is shown in this book, with the girls being told to memorise the family histories and information folders on the men who wish to 'court' them.
The tale has a good use of humour, which broke up the storyline and made a refreshing change from the tough-love of Ciardis' mentor Serena - 'Defence was probably better described as 'how to hide pointy things in your dress and curtsey without stabbing yourself,' but it was actually quite fun.'
The only critique I have was that this story tended to lack cohesiveness.
The only way I can explain it is that too many extra elements were added that seemed to clutter the storyline - and points that should have been given the time to mature, and grow, were often rushed.
Ciardis' decision to leave to become a companion is quicker than blinking, the prince asks for her help and barely knows her, and then there's this maze competition which you would assume is part of the main plot (a.k.a her becoming a companion) but then the prince drags her away from it to aid him in another plot.
The problem wasn't the lack of entertainment, or interest. Rather that I think too many plotlines were being juggled at the one time.
Her becoming a companion, her being a descendant of that esteemed magic-carrying family, the land dying, the prince being lied to, court conspiracies...it was too much to take in and felt forced at times. Perhaps some of these elements could have been addressed in a future novel in the series - or the length of the book could have been altered to allow them to have time to take root properly.
But all in all this was a pleasant novel to read.
If you love a novel with weaponry, court intrigue, wit and a spark of romance, Sworn to Raise has these in abundance and is the perfect pick for you!