Book Review: Oathbreakers by Mercedes Lackey

Posted December 15, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Oathbreakers by Mercedes Lackey

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Oathbreakers by Mercedes Lackey
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Published by DAW on January 3, 1989
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Closer to Home, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest, Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar, A Scandal in Battersea, The Hills Have Spies, The Bartered Brides, Dragon's Teeth, Eye Spy, Breaking Silence, Pathways, The Case of the Spellbound Child, Jolene, Passages, Magic's Pawn, Magic's Promise, The Serpent's Shadow, The Oathbound, The White Gryphon, The Silver Gryphon, Beyond, Spy, Spy Again, The Lark and the Wren, The Gates of Sleep, Phoenix and Ashes, The Wizard of London, The Robin and the Kestrel, Oathblood, Exile's Honor, The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley, Owlflight, Exile’s Valor, Sword of Ice and Other Tales of Valdemar

Second in the Vows & Honor fantasy subseries of the Valdemar universe in 1270 AF and revolving around the kingdom of Valdemar and its bordering countries. The focus is on Rethwellan and Tarma and Kethry. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Valdemar books on my website.

My Take

It was a treat to read how Idra runs her troops so well. It’s a philosophy in line with Kethry’s noting that low-magic is just as good, if not better, than high-magic.

It’s a mystery when Idra disappears, and Tarma and Kethry go undercover, rescue a hostage, battle through a chase, and lead a revolution while uncovering a secret. Yep, it’s busy and action-packed.

The pair’s actions in pretending to be horsetraders was fun. Especially since Lackey is using third person global subjective point-of-view from the perspective of a number of characters, so we’re getting a rounded view of emotions, thoughts, and events from various people.

It helps to have smart friends, lol, as they sting that greedy bard. Those friends are also honorable, even more so when we reach the end of the story.

I do love Tarma and Kethry. Both are honorable women who seek to right wrongs, even as they enhance their reputations and build up that fund.

And Need is growing up.

The Story

Tarma and Kethry are still trying to save up for the school they want to start and they’re in the final stage of building their reputations and their funds.

Unfortunately, Idra has gone missing, and Tarma and Kethry go undercover with a herd of horses.

The Characters

Tarma shena Tale’sedrin, a.k.a. Darksib, is a Shin’a’in nomad who became Kal’enedral, a.k.a. Sword-sworn. She’s currently the Scoutmaster for Idra’s Sunhawks. She’s now riding Ironheart, a Shin’a’in battlesteed. Warrl is the kyree who adopted Tarma. Kethry is a White Winds sorceress and Tarma’s partner and oathbound sister. Need is Kethry’s geas-blade that forces them into taking worthless Just Causes. Hellsbane is now Kethry’s battlesteed. Dust is a dapple, part of the cover herd.

Idra’s Sunhawks are . . .
. . . a mercenary company led by Captain Idra, a member of the Royal House of Rethwellan. Gray is Idra’s palfrey; Black is her warhorse. (Randel’s Raiders is one of the merc companies Idra had been with.) The company’s winter home base is Hawksnest. Tresti, handfasted to Sewen who is Idra’s second-in-command, is a HealerPriest(ess). Orden and Jiles are two of their hedge-mages. Rethaire is a herbalist; Dee is one of his apprentices. Mala, Garth, Beaker, Gerrold (he’s riding Vetch), and Jodi (she’s riding Lightfoot) are some of Tarma’s scouts. Kyra (she replaced Pawell) is shield-mated to Rild, a mountain of a man. Others of Idra’s men include Geoffrey, Ta mas, Lethra, and Bevis who are all serjeants. Ersala. Varny and Sania are shieldmates who chose to start a family.

Jkatha is . . .
. . . the Sunhawks’ current client. Queen Sursha was named to be the king’s successor. Havak, Lord Leamount, is her General-in-Chief. Jons is one of his sentries. Staferd’s Cold-drakes, Lord Shoveral, and Duke Greyhame‘s levy are some of Sursha’s troops.

Declin, Lord Kelcrag, the king’s brother, revolted and took the Throne City. Bluecoat is one of Devaril’s Demons, a mercenary company.

Idra’s father, King Destillion, has died, and her two brothers are at odds with each other. Raschar “Char”, the younger brother, is now king; Prince Stefansen is their brother with a debauched reputation. The Sword That Sings was lost decades ago and was said to choose the rightful king. I think Zaras was one of Raschar’s mages.

Jadrek is the too-honest Court Archivist, and not on good terms with the royals. He’ll become the Master Astrologist. Tindel is the Master of Horse. Countess Lyris.

The Pig and Potion is a tavern and inn on Carter’s Lane. Janna and Arton are lodgers. The Fountain of Beer is another tavern. The stableman at the Wheat Sheaf inn is in on it; Ma Kemak can cook and Pa Kemak don’t water the beer. Count Wulfres.

Moonsong k’Vala is a Tale’edras Adept from the Pelagiris Forest.

Roald is a Herald with a hunting lodge; he’s also heir to the throne. Lady Mertis has a month-old son, Megrarthon, and living in Roald’s lodge. A Companion is a white horse that Chooses the Herald.

Justin Twoblade and Ikan Dryvale are old mercenary friends of Tarma and Kethry’s from The Oathbound, 1. Others from their past include Hadell of the Broken Sword and Oskar of the Bottomless Barrel. Spirit-Kal’enedral are Kal’enedral who have passed on, but continue to appear to teach.

Leslac is a bard who is stalking Kethry and Tarma, composing ballads, inaccurate ones, of their deeds. The Warrior (Star-Eyed and Bright Star are nicknames) is the Shin’a’in goddess. A krashak is a mage-made construct. Old Grumio provides support.

The Cover and Title

There’s an art deco feel to the cover — I suspect it’s the golden wings in the upper left corner against that bit of black background that shows in the upper right. Most of the cover is the blonde-haired Kethry in bracers, and leather jerkin atop the pale gray Hellsbane, her arms outstretched, casting a spell. Below her is Tarma on a darker gray Ironheart. Tarma’s head is topped with a turban-like helm and a golden wrapped edge with a teal steel coif. Tarma is in black and relieved by gold clasps down her front. She’s also turned backward, pulling her bow. At the very top is a quick summary in white. Starting at Tarma’s waist is a golden yellow box framed in a thin line of orange with more orange lines framing the top and bottom of the title in black. Below it is the series info and then the author’s name, also in black.

The title is about Raschar, for he is one of the Oathbreakers.

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