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Oathtaker - Patricia Reding Oathtaker Review

This book tells the story of Mara, an Oathtaker, who takes on the care and protection for two special infants, and goes on to discover her own powers. A struggle ensues between the current tyrannical ruler, Lilith, and her followers.

This book was difficult for me to read and finish. This review will fly in the face of the preceding ones, which makes this even harder. However, in agreeing to provide a review, I promised an honest one. And that is what I will do. However, I must say that there were two things about the story that I thought were good:

1. The book was a fairly clean read. The violence content was minimal and there was hardly a swear word to be found (if any).
2. The few relevant action sequences were conducted swiftly as they needed to be.

What follows are my overall concerns with the story.

Pacing: first, the book spent the majority of the time explaining, in minute detail, things that were unimportant to the story. Every scene described, every person completely introduced and every background story told. This caused the story’s pace to grind to a halt, leaving few places where the suspense justified a reader’s undivided attention. So much time was spent wading through the unimportant aspects, that it often left me wondering what direction, if anywhere, the story was actually going. It quickly became bogged down in trivia and numerous unrelated aspects. Part of the problem with a 600+ page book is that it is likely packed with filler, and this one certainly is.

Characters: second, the characters seemed to all talk the same (often over dramatized), act the same (I am the poor, stupid victim; or, I won’t tell my story until you do) and think the same (‘woe is me’, or ‘can this really be?’). It reminds me of soap operas but where little actually happens to advance the story. To me as a reader, the characters appear silly and unrealistic, and overly dramatic. When faced with extinction by a powerful enemy, the theme of “Let’s have a long chat and sit a while,” seemed to resound in almost every chapter. Everyone had to sit down and rehash what had happened, what was happening right then, or what might happen in the future. One character complained so many times about being “banded”, that I lost total respect and empathy for him from that point on.

Narrative: another frustration for me was how the author would repeat things that had just happened, as if I did not understand them the first time. For example, a scene would unfold, and then a character would explain to another what just happened. As a reader, I only need to read it once, and only once.

Speech: I expected the spoken language to reflect a fantasy era of the past, but instead it was a steady mix of “olden days speech” and modern phrases I would expect to hear from today’s teens. It was jarring, making the story not believable.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest, nonreciprocal review.