Monday, 7 July 2014
Book Review: The Shadow's Curse by Amy McCulloch
Last year I was fortunate to win The Oathbreaker's Shadow in a Goodreads giveaway. It's always lovely to win something, especially if that something is a book and even more so if it turns out to be a hugely enjoyable fantasy adventure with strong characters, a compelling mystery and a tempting cliffhanger to end with. The only drawback has been waiting for the sequel!
Thankfully the wait is over and I could find out what happened to Raim and Wadi in the second book of the duology, The Shadow's Curse. I don't want to give too much away in case readers of this review haven't read the first book yet but things were looking pretty bleak at the end of the first book for oathbreaker Raim and Wadi, a brave and fierce member of the desert living Alashan tribe. This time the narrative is shared between the two characters and so we learn of both their stories firsthand. Raim is desperate to rescue Wadi, the girl he loves but realises that won't be possible while he bears the scars of the ultimate taboo. He needs to discover who the mysterious woman shadow is who has saved his life more than once. Does she have the answer as to why he unknowingly broke an oath when he made a promise to protect Khareh, his childhood friend and now despotic Khan? Reluctantly he and his haunt Draikh head to the dangerous south to find out the truth about his oath. Wadi is in Khareh's clutches. Can she discover his weaknesses without putting herself in even more danger? Meanwhile Khareh is raising a Shadow Army and plots against King Song, ruthless leader of the south.
Being the second part of the series questions are answered but there are plenty of twists before any big reveals. As before Raim and Wadi are equally likable, both strong and brave protagonists and the alternate chapters work well. The other characters too, both male and female are well written and complex personalities. The Knots books are the best sort of fantasy, exciting and based on an intriguing premise, in this case that promises made are binding and breaking them, even inadvertently can mean becoming an outcast. More than that though the story considers such themes as fate, duty, ambition and honour. The long wait to read The Shadow's Curse was well worth it, a gripping and fitting sequel to The Oathbreaker's Shadow. I thoroughly recommend both books.
Many thanks to the publishers and author for my free copy received through NetGalley in return for my honest review.
The Shadow's Curse is published in the UK by Random House Children's Books.