Vows and Honor: Oathblood by Mercedes Lackey – 4/5 Stars

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey - back cover

The third part in the Vows and Honor omnibus is not a novel, but rather a collection of short stories. Though there are a lot of repeated stories from earlier in the omnibus, there are a lot of new stories too, one reaching back in time to when Tarma met Kethry in Swordsworn after the slaughter of her tribe. There are stories about Leslac the bard, a cup being poisoned, a large bear on the loose, a giant monster that has a town cowed, and a chambermaid being forced into abuse and then on the run for a new life.

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey - back cover

If you’re familiar with Tarma and Kethry’s stories you’ll love the short stories, which combine brutality, morality, adventure, and humour. If you aren’t familiar with the main novels and you’re not sure whether to try them, these short stories give a good indication of what you can expect and I don’t think you’ll leave disappointed.

 

 

Mercedes Lackey’s Website

Mercedes Lackey’s Amazon Author Page

 

Vows and Honor: Oathbreakers by Mercedes Lackey – 4/5 Stars

In this sequel to The Oathbound, of the Vows and Honor omnibus, Mercedes Lackey focuses on the politics of the lands they are in as much as the characters and this includes raising armies, building loyalties, and seeing the bigger picture of their battle against evil. The enemies weren’t mages or criminals; they were kings. The corrupt deeds of those in power was highlighted.

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey - back cover

The stakes are as high as ever, when leader of the Sunhawks mercenary tribe Idra goes missing. Idra went to see which of her brothers was fit for the throne and so she left the tribe’s camp, but her long absence and lack of communication are unusual, worrying even. The Sunhawks tribe, and especially Idra’s close friends Tarma and Kethry, go to investigate the kingdom and see what they can find out. Under cover of delivering free quality horses to the stable master, they gain access to the kingdom and seek to find a way into the King’s court. They’re looking for the court archivist, whose job it is to record the truth; the library was be-spelled that way. The court archivist is friends with the stable master and is an old man, being both honest and knowledgeable; but first they must earn his trust.

In comparison with The Oathbound, there are more mage battles than sword battles in Oathbreakers. I missed the sword battles Tarma had in The Oathbound. However, we are introduced to the basics of the White Winds magical powers and follow Kethry as she develops these powers to battle against enemies or pit herself against enemy mages and assassins. Wolfish Kyree, Warrl, is as wondrous as ever: subtly shifting form, viciously snapping necks, offering sage advice, and sleeping on the hearth to keep warm. It takes a bit to get into the story. There are descriptions of settings, characters, and situations we aren’t familiar with at first and some of the sub-characters introduced at this time were unremarkable and it confused me a bit.

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey - back cover

At the back of the book there is a selection of poems and language translations. I really liked how the poems summarised the lore and most important issues in the stories. There is a particular poem that resonated with me about Jadrek, the court archivist, and his being stuck in a library studying lore without having the opportunity to live life, while age took its toll; waiting for someone to save him and put him into a situation where he can be useful. Overall, Oathbreakers is a good novel with fascinating characters in a world where you can’t be too prepared.

Mercedes Lackey’s Website

Mercedes Lackey’s Amazon Author Page