You can click on the cover to go to its Goodreads page.
I received this book for review via Netgalley, which in no way affects my opinion.
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.
Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all – not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.
Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.
I requested this book on Netgalley immediately after reading the synopsis. When I got approved, I was so excited! The premise sounds amazing to me and I had quite high expectations by then. I must say that I was not disappointed.
In the beginning of the novel, I was quite confused. There were a number of names of people, places and tribes and I didn’t really know anything about the world beforehand. So all the names that were thrown at me dazed me a bit. The first like 20-25% of the book is what I would call build-up. You need the back-stories and the information about the tribes to understand the rest of the book, so it is definitely necessary, but it can feel a bit confusing or dry at times.
After those chapters with build-up though, the story really picked up for me. Soon, Raim was marked as an oath-breaker and had to choose: run or be killed. This is where things got very interesting and where characters started showing their “true selves”. The plot really progressed from there on and soon Raim was seeing places he’d never seen before -and maybe wished he’d never see again. I really loved his on-the-run story, it was very thrilling and suspenseful!
We got to meet new characters as well form that point on. My favorite so far is Wadi. That girl is fierce! She’s from a different tribe than Raim is, and her tribe will guide the oath-breakers to Lazar. Since they live in the desert, she is a survivor, a fighter. But she is intelligent as well! I truly thought she was an amazing character. We got to meet other characters as well, and some, let’s say changes, in other characters but I don’t want to spoil anything for you so I’ll just talk about Raim.
Raim really develops as a character in this story. He gets branded as an oath-breaker, the very people he despises and instead of having a future as a Yun warrior -something he has always dreamed of- he now has to live as an outcast. So he has to adapt: not only his survival skills, but also his very beliefs. It was really interesting and enjoyable to see him grow. The most pronounced quality Raim has is loyalty: loyalty to his best friend, and everyone he considers as family. His love for his little sister, Dharma, was incredibly adorable to read about.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this novel and I would definitely pick up and read the sequel!