Monday, March 9, 2015
Oath of the Brotherhood- C. E. Laureano
Description: In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man's worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king.When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king's sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine's ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic. Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth.Only by committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he's meant to play in Seare's future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything--even the woman he loves--to follow the path his God has laid before him?
My Thoughts: What first stood out to me about Oath of the Brotherhood was that it was based off of Scottish culture, rather than a medieval England as so many other fantasies are today. It was interesting to see how Laureano brought in the clan system to her world, though there are not as many clan rivalries as I would have hoped. Another element of history brought into the story was the persecution of the Balians, reminiscent of the Christian persecutions in Rome. The history nerd in me loved pulling out the comparisons.
Conor is a great hero in that he strives to do the will of Balus in all that he does. And if he gets too cocky, Comdiu makes sure to remind him who is in charge of his future. Aine often had to remember that too, and it was a good reminder for myself as well. The way the characters interacted with Comdiu was a relationship which every Christian should strive to have with God.
What kept me from absolutely adoring this book was Conor's abilities. He seemed to be perfect at everything, whether it was music or fighting or speaking different languages. It seemed odd that Conner could go from insisting he was not capable of learning to fight (though he had never touched a sword), to being one of the best fighters there was. While he could not fire a bow, it seemed almost like a token see-he-can't-do-everything.
I have the second book, Beneath the Forsaken City, and plan to start reading it soon. Hopefully it will be just as good as this.