Series: Courtlight #1
Published by Amazon on April 10, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the kingdom. But beneath her kingdom’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond initiations.
Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.
But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.
Sworn to Raise was an interesting book that played off the idea of geisha from ancient Japan, and gave them the additional burden of the majority of these women having magical powers of some kind. The magical powers are intriguing and in many cases very original, such as the one talent of being able to gift someone with an ability such as reading. But the main character, Ciardis, doesn’t seem to have any talent at first. She’s just a simple laundress who was asked to come along for training as a Court Companion. Of course, as is the case in any book like this, she turns out to have cosmic powers that have been foretold and only she can either help or destroy the kingdom.
The friendships and relationships in this book seemed false, with there being no real indications as to why these people are friends, which Ciardis was really picked in the first place, and why the boy in her dreams even likes her (or not).
Geisha weren’t the only unoriginal thing in this book, though. The term Companion? Yeah, right away that brought to mind Firefly, where the Companions were respected for the most part and yes, very similar to geisha. I realise that this is the oldest profession, but can we see a bit of originality? There are portals that strongly reminded me of Stargate, with a console to operate a ring that rotates in order to lock onto an address, a shimmering field that punches out at the people waiting to travel, and a raised dais to walk up to get to the wormhole in the first place. The plot line didn’t show any sign of originality and it felt overly rushed, especially as we neared the end.
This wasn’t a terrible book, by any means, but I can safely say that I have no interest in reading the next book in this series.