Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the kingdom. But beneath her kingdom’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.
The idea behind Sworn to Raise was appealing – after all, who doesn’t like a modified Cinderella story? Unfortunately, it was slow to start and I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. The story certainly started to pick up once Ciardis began learning about magic, however it was around that same point that the story became a bit of a mess. Sworn to Raise is the first in a series, so it’s difficult to understand why all of the action had to be rushed into in the last 50 pages; it ended so quickly that, despite the fact that I read it only a few days ago, I can honestly say that I don’t remember much of what happened.
As I was reading, I couldn’t help but feel as though the supporting characters were merely there to further the plot, since they had no real substance and their back stories were not elaborated upon. For example, it is mentioned on several occasions that Ciardis’ sponsor has an ongoing rivalry with another sponsor, although we are never told how that came to be. It seemed as though Edun was only telling readers what they needed to know in relation to Ciardis; if it doesn’t help her become a proper Companion, it isn’t important.
I found the Companion’s Guild to be interesting: Companions are trained so that they can attract a Patron, who assesses whether or not their magical qualities can be useful to them before making their selection. The training process was not described in depth, which is a shame – it would have been interesting to learn more about the culture, and would have provided much-needed character development.
Overall, Sworn to Raise was not a book I enjoyed reading, and it certainly didn’t live up to the comparison to Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series. Maybe the sequel will be better.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Graceling trilogy blew my socks off last month and I’ve yet to get them back; any suggestions for a true companion novel? I’ve tried Leigh Bardugo (okay) and Rae Carson (good!).
I haven’t gotten around to reading Shadow and Bone yet, but I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
Poison Study by Maria Snyder, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers, and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta have been compared to Graceling a fair bit. The only one of those that I’ve actually read is Grave Mercy (which I really liked), but I’ve heard good things about the rest.