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When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return from a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and spell, their fates bound together by Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil. And evil had indeed cast its When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return from a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and spell, their fates bound together by Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil. And evil had indeed cast its shadow over the kingdom of Rethwellan. Idra, so they were told, had left long ago on a search for a legendary magical sword which could reveal which of her two brothers was meant to become the new king. With the princess gone, her younger brother had been branded an outlaw and her older brother had claimed the throne. Both instinct and mage-lore told Kethry and Tarma that all was not as it seemed, that both Idra and her people were in terrible jeopardy. Yet would their Goddess-given powers, aided by those of a Herald of Valdemar, prove strong enough to break the dark enchantment possessing this land?


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When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return from a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and spell, their fates bound together by Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil. And evil had indeed cast its When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return from a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and spell, their fates bound together by Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil. And evil had indeed cast its shadow over the kingdom of Rethwellan. Idra, so they were told, had left long ago on a search for a legendary magical sword which could reveal which of her two brothers was meant to become the new king. With the princess gone, her younger brother had been branded an outlaw and her older brother had claimed the throne. Both instinct and mage-lore told Kethry and Tarma that all was not as it seemed, that both Idra and her people were in terrible jeopardy. Yet would their Goddess-given powers, aided by those of a Herald of Valdemar, prove strong enough to break the dark enchantment possessing this land?

30 review for Oathbreakers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~

    DNF @ 23% I hated The Oathbound with a fiery passion. I was going to skip this one but several reviewers said it's better than the first one, so I decided to give this book two or three chapters to see what happens. What happened was I just can't stand Tarma or Kethry. Every second they're on page is like nails on chalkboard, and since they're the POV characters, that became a problem real quick. What kills me is it would be simple to write these characters as both entrepreneurial, and compassiona DNF @ 23% I hated The Oathbound with a fiery passion. I was going to skip this one but several reviewers said it's better than the first one, so I decided to give this book two or three chapters to see what happens. What happened was I just can't stand Tarma or Kethry. Every second they're on page is like nails on chalkboard, and since they're the POV characters, that became a problem real quick. What kills me is it would be simple to write these characters as both entrepreneurial, and compassionate and sincere, but the compassion and sincerity are seriously lacking and they come across as self-centered assbutts. Then there's the plot. The first "book" was a series of short stories thrown together in a really lazy attempt to make a full-length book. The shorts tended to provide the beginning and a quick wrap-up ending, and leave out the middle where the action was supposed to be. Here, we're thrown into the middle, in this case a war between two forces I don't know or care about, in a conflict I don't care about, and that's over by 20%. So characters I don't like + plot I don't care about = DNF.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Immediate reaction: oh thank god, I remembered correctly. Oathbreakers was always my favorite of the duology, and now I remember why. It's far less episodic than Oathbound, with a coherent plot for all but the first few chapters of the book, and of course there is much, much less rape, all of which is offscreen and specifically noted as a power crime over everything else. It's actually really interesting how it's treated in Oathbreakers as opposed to Oathbound: Oathbound it's treated as kind of i Immediate reaction: oh thank god, I remembered correctly. Oathbreakers was always my favorite of the duology, and now I remember why. It's far less episodic than Oathbound, with a coherent plot for all but the first few chapters of the book, and of course there is much, much less rape, all of which is offscreen and specifically noted as a power crime over everything else. It's actually really interesting how it's treated in Oathbreakers as opposed to Oathbound: Oathbound it's treated as kind of inevitable, which is really upsetting, but this book notes that it's so often used against women in an attempt to break them or punish them, which I quite liked, actually. Sort of Mercedes Lackey calling herself out, though I'm not sure if it stuck quite yet. Her later books don't have anywhere near as much sexual violence as the first few did, though, so she did learn. That aside. Oathbreakers continues the story of Tarma and Kethry several years after Oathbound left off. They've become professional mercenaries and joined a company, the Sunhawks. The book picks up in the middle of a war, and we deal with that for two chapters before the real plot of the book kicks off in chapter three. Their captain, Idra, is actually a princess who renounced her right to the throne, and now her brothers are squabbling over it and she has to return home to settle the squabble. Then she vanishes. Tarma and Kethry head north to Rethwallen, Idra's home country, to find out what's become of their captain. Spoiler: it's nothing good. Along the way they hook up with Jadrek (not literally-- at least, not in Tarma's case), the Archivist of Rethwallen. He's got knowledge that is incredibly useful for them, and what I think is rheumatoid arthritis, not that it's super important to his plot arc apart from background and self-esteem issues. Also, relevant point: it's disabling, and while he gets some better palliative measures throughout the book, he's never cured. When he turns up in later stories he's still disabled, and I think that might be pretty important in terms of representation. I am not physically disabled so I don't want to speak for that community, but I appreciated it. Anyway. He ends up being a close ally and falling in love with Kethry, and there's some mutual pining for a while. This may have been the book to establish my love of mutual pining, come to think of it-- either this or Arrow's Fall, but I can't remember which I read first. Damn you, Mercedes Lackey, you established so many of my ironclad story kinks. Sigh. I think Oathbreakers is much better than Oathbound, and I also think it's possible to read Oathbreakers without having read Oathbound, and enjoy it too. So if you're planning on reading one of these books, just stick with Oathbreakers, it's much better. And there's less sexual violence. Always a good thing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I wouldn’t recommend this book. Update: The author recently made some horrifically ignorant and anti-trans comments on her blog. See my review about the first book in the series The Oathbound. While you don't need to read the first book in order to enjoy this one, if you love this one I highly recommend going back and reading the first one. This story revolves around the disappearance of Idra, commander of the Sunhawks mercenaries. Tarma and Kethry are the members of the mercenary company who lead I wouldn’t recommend this book. Update: The author recently made some horrifically ignorant and anti-trans comments on her blog. See my review about the first book in the series The Oathbound. While you don't need to read the first book in order to enjoy this one, if you love this one I highly recommend going back and reading the first one. This story revolves around the disappearance of Idra, commander of the Sunhawks mercenaries. Tarma and Kethry are the members of the mercenary company who lead an investigation into what happened to their beloved leader. The mystery isn't the that complex or really the appeal of the story, but rather the elaborate plan that results of a very satisfying climax. As well as the heart-clenching bond all of the Sunhawks feel for Idra. Again this is a fantastic fantasy novel. Filled with humor, though this story has a great deal of darkness and a fair amount of sadness. There is a surprise romance, though it is not the focus of the story. Instead the focus is friendship and loyalty, with a platonic relationship (between two women) center stage. The book may have been published over twenty years ago, but it still does a far better job of female representation and diversity than most modern fantasy novels.

  4. 5 out of 5

    MrsJoseph *grouchy*

    While I can't help that I love these characters and world... ...again with the raping! In Oathbreakers, the two main characters are not raped (this time). I appreciate that. All in all, there's very little violence against women in this one. The rape and violence against women with this one is the plotline. (view spoiler)[The MCs are trying to discover the whereabouts of their Mercenary Captain, the Princess Idra - or what happened to her. The details of what happened to her are...the typical thi While I can't help that I love these characters and world... ...again with the raping! In Oathbreakers, the two main characters are not raped (this time). I appreciate that. All in all, there's very little violence against women in this one. The rape and violence against women with this one is the plotline. (view spoiler)[The MCs are trying to discover the whereabouts of their Mercenary Captain, the Princess Idra - or what happened to her. The details of what happened to her are...the typical things that men do to women they want to hurt and break. Gang rape and torture - but what makes this a bit worse is that her brother participated and instigated the entire situation. (hide spoiler)]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Wow. I actually gave a Mercedes Lackey book two stars? How odd. The thing is, I actually finished this over a week ago, and yet I felt no need to review it, think about it and almost no desire to start another book. I have been busy in RL, but I felt like this story had left me drained; it was just so, so boring. I think I realized as well that BOTH the main characters are what we would term 'Mary Sues' in modern writing, even if they weren't considered as such when this book was written. They c Wow. I actually gave a Mercedes Lackey book two stars? How odd. The thing is, I actually finished this over a week ago, and yet I felt no need to review it, think about it and almost no desire to start another book. I have been busy in RL, but I felt like this story had left me drained; it was just so, so boring. I think I realized as well that BOTH the main characters are what we would term 'Mary Sues' in modern writing, even if they weren't considered as such when this book was written. They can do almost no wrong, and are just super great at everything. I also hate how everything they do or say is rationalized for the reader, as if we can't work it out ourselves. No, I didn't actually go on and read book three which is yet again odd for me. I suppose it is possible to love an author but just not love EVERYTHING they write. I did finally pick up a different book last night, so there is that I suppose. Two Stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    CatBookMom

    2018 - This is probably the least episodic of the three books. It's pretty much two stories, one mercenary small-war story which then leads into the larger story of how Tarma and Kethry bring stability to the Rethwellan ruling dynasty, by way of a palace coup. And affect Valdemar's history many years later (yeah, read more of these books). Plus - it has fewer totally annoying typographical-or-grammatical or spelling/word-choice errors. See comments on Book #1 of this series. ETA: I've just been 2018 - This is probably the least episodic of the three books. It's pretty much two stories, one mercenary small-war story which then leads into the larger story of how Tarma and Kethry bring stability to the Rethwellan ruling dynasty, by way of a palace coup. And affect Valdemar's history many years later (yeah, read more of these books). Plus - it has fewer totally annoying typographical-or-grammatical or spelling/word-choice errors. See comments on Book #1 of this series. ETA: I've just been reading some Regency Romances from Mary Balogh, and it is SO refreshing that those books have so very few typo/spelling/etc errors. Doesn't keep throwing you out of the story. Wonder how Ms Balogh's publisher manages that??? ------------------------------------- 3/31/17 - this is probably the most stand-alone of the three Tarma and Kethry books. But all three are very good. I ditched all of my MZB books a while back, including all of the Sword and Sorcery anthologies. So the three books that Ms Lackey has published are most welcome, as a place to keep re-reading these good stories. 2015 - This is a fascinating long-form tale of Tarma and Kethry. Wish Lackey had written another one or two, though perhaps she saw that she had said all she had to say about the pair once they'd gotten the land for their school.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pam Baddeley

    After the first disappointing volume of this series I was expecting more of the same so it was a pleasant surprise to find that this volume mostly reached the workmanlike level of a good read achieved by the sequel 'By the Sword' which I happened to read first. Unlike the first volume which is basically a series of short stories put together - as I've now realised is actually the case since some of them are reprinted in original form in another volume - this is a proper novel. It deals with the After the first disappointing volume of this series I was expecting more of the same so it was a pleasant surprise to find that this volume mostly reached the workmanlike level of a good read achieved by the sequel 'By the Sword' which I happened to read first. Unlike the first volume which is basically a series of short stories put together - as I've now realised is actually the case since some of them are reprinted in original form in another volume - this is a proper novel. It deals with the time the two characters spent in a mercenary company, the Sunhawks, which is referred to in the sequel in the first part of that where the two characters appear, much older. The beginning sets the scene with one of the 'jobs' for which the Sunhawks are engaged, but soon their company leader, Idra, has to leave - she is from the Rethwellan royal family but renounced her claim to the throne in order to live independently as a soldier. Now she is required back to help settle the rival claims of her two brothers following their father's death - a magic sword used to settle such issues but it was stolen some time ago. But Idra does not return when expected and Tarma and Kethry journey incognito, with their sentient wolf partner, to the capital to try to find out what happened to her, only to become embroiled in politics and power struggles. In the course of this, Kethry comes into her own as she grows in her magical abilities and also finds the man who will become her partner and help rebuild Tarma's clan. Some interesting developments in this story but some puzzles also - in 'By the Sword' the two characters tell Kerowyn that magic does not work in Valdemar - yet in this story they journey there and it very much does work, even if they are staying fairly near the border. In the sequel mages literally can't cross into Valdemar or they suffer terrible psychological problems. So that seems a changed premise. I was also hoping that, as in 'By the Sword', this book had escaped the "rape fixation" that a lot of this author's work seems to suffer from, but late into the book this does intrude again, though offstage and at least acknowledged as a form of torture used to try to break a woman. I did find it rather incredible though that the perpetrators included the brother of the woman subjected to it as this person was not portrayed as sufficiently sociopathic for this to be the case. As with the other books, sometimes there is a lot of exposition with characters telling each other what they have done rather than showing a bit of it which would be more involving. But on the whole this is an acceptable read with some good character and action sequences. So a 3-star read overall.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Saphirablue

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I like it. I like Tamra and Keth investigating what happened to Idra and finding new friends along the way. I love that one of this friends is a Herald but am glad that the Herald didn't take over the story. I really like Jadrek and I like that he makes both of them happy. I love how the Goddess makes it clear that Tamra is supposed to feel and not cut herself off of feeling and loving her friends and sister. <3 Keths power display? Awesome! What happened to Idra? *sobs* I like it. I like Tamra and Keth investigating what happened to Idra and finding new friends along the way. I love that one of this friends is a Herald but am glad that the Herald didn't take over the story. I really like Jadrek and I like that he makes both of them happy. I love how the Goddess makes it clear that Tamra is supposed to feel and not cut herself off of feeling and loving her friends and sister. <3 Keths power display? Awesome! What happened to Idra? *sobs*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Serena

    It may interest those who have read this book to know that Mercedes Lackey also put out a cassette/CD of the same name. You can sample some of the songs on YouTube, although the only place to buy it is from the Firebird Arts and Music website. 1) The Leslac Version 2) Contemplations 3) There’s Always a Reason (A Curse Upon All Bards) 4) Surprised by Joy 5) (Love) Found 6) Need 7) Oathbreakers 8) The Sunhawks 9) Suffer the Children 10) Swordlady, or “That Song” 11) Mirror Spell (Shield Spell) (It may also incl It may interest those who have read this book to know that Mercedes Lackey also put out a cassette/CD of the same name. You can sample some of the songs on YouTube, although the only place to buy it is from the Firebird Arts and Music website. 1) The Leslac Version 2) Contemplations 3) There’s Always a Reason (A Curse Upon All Bards) 4) Surprised by Joy 5) (Love) Found 6) Need 7) Oathbreakers 8) The Sunhawks 9) Suffer the Children 10) Swordlady, or “That Song” 11) Mirror Spell (Shield Spell) (It may also include Leslac's Last Lament & The Archivist, although the Firebird Arts and Music website does not include it on the page for the cassette/CD)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Preacher

    Oathbreakers is the only proper novel in the Tarma-and-Kethry sequence, and it's good. It's a little more of a proper Valdemar novel, despite only barely touching on Valdemar itself, and much less a sword-and-sorcery pastiche. It's still very much pulp - the language, while competent and noticeably smoother than its immediate predecessor, is still rather faux-medieval and occasionally overwrought, the plot is a little too pat to be totally believable, and it's yet another rape-revenge story at th Oathbreakers is the only proper novel in the Tarma-and-Kethry sequence, and it's good. It's a little more of a proper Valdemar novel, despite only barely touching on Valdemar itself, and much less a sword-and-sorcery pastiche. It's still very much pulp - the language, while competent and noticeably smoother than its immediate predecessor, is still rather faux-medieval and occasionally overwrought, the plot is a little too pat to be totally believable, and it's yet another rape-revenge story at the heart. The characters are, as usual, totally delightful, but the worldbuilding isn't as complete as in most of the later stories, and it shows. Despite all that, it's up there with my favorite Valdemar novels - it's relatively short and a quick, entertaining read. Not fine literature, but excellent pulp.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    Reading 100 books in 2010; reviews will be short for a while 'til I catch up blogging with what I've already read this year. This book made a Mercedes Lackey fan out of me; I was lukewarm about the first one in the series and it had many of the flaws a first novel might. It's amazing how much Lackey grows as an artist between the first novel in the series and the second; better writing, even at the sentence level, better plotting, and more polish in general to go with her two wonderful characters Reading 100 books in 2010; reviews will be short for a while 'til I catch up blogging with what I've already read this year. This book made a Mercedes Lackey fan out of me; I was lukewarm about the first one in the series and it had many of the flaws a first novel might. It's amazing how much Lackey grows as an artist between the first novel in the series and the second; better writing, even at the sentence level, better plotting, and more polish in general to go with her two wonderful characters of Keth and Tarma, who wind up trying to find out what happened to, and eventually avenging the death of Idrys, the commander of their military unit. Tight storytelling, satisfying ending, great sense of the world set right at the end.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku

    When I started Oathbreakers, I expected a format similar to Oathbound and what we will see in Oathblood, the final book in this trilogy -- a collection of loosely tied short stories. I was quite excited when I discovered that Oathbreakers is actually a complete novel! The best part of Oathbreakers are the character relationships. I fell in love with the deeper partnership between Keth and Tarma. In Oathbound, it was obviously this duo was still learning to work together. Now they have an amazing, When I started Oathbreakers, I expected a format similar to Oathbound and what we will see in Oathblood, the final book in this trilogy -- a collection of loosely tied short stories. I was quite excited when I discovered that Oathbreakers is actually a complete novel! The best part of Oathbreakers are the character relationships. I fell in love with the deeper partnership between Keth and Tarma. In Oathbound, it was obviously this duo was still learning to work together. Now they have an amazing, trusting, powerful relationship that proves they are both deadly and loving. Keth and Tarma both have unique voices and unique positions. Throw in Warrl and this is my favorite trio in the entire Valdemar universe. The relationships Keth and Tarma have and continue to develop with others characters are well done, too. The most extreme example is that of Jadrek. When they first meet him, he is distrusting and cold. But, by the end he is more-or-less a family member. Jadrek's evolution felt natural. I was rooting for him to become part of the family by the end of the novel, for sure. But he isn't alone. Justin, Ikan, and even Roald have their own relationship development with our protagonists. As a lover of character-driven novels, I was thrilled. The plot is fun. Filled with intrigue and scheming, I enjoyed following Keth, Tarma, and Warrl as they adventured to find Idra. Unfortunately, rape is yet again a plot point. But… there was something different about it this time. Lackey more-or-less called out rape as a common way to break a woman. This makes me wonder -- has she started to notice her own trend? Will she break from this in the future?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    I waited in the second part for things to fit in a row until the end of the story but this is not exactly what happens. As in the first part, so here, there is essentially a series of connected episodes, rather than a novel but this connection is not enough to be coherent. Of course, although they do not add anything special, these episodes are quite interesting and further advance our understanding of the character of our two heroines and their relationship and offer moving female moments (and I waited in the second part for things to fit in a row until the end of the story but this is not exactly what happens. As in the first part, so here, there is essentially a series of connected episodes, rather than a novel but this connection is not enough to be coherent. Of course, although they do not add anything special, these episodes are quite interesting and further advance our understanding of the character of our two heroines and their relationship and offer moving female moments (and some very cute girlish) but also a lot of action that of course focuses on the defence of women. That is why, in the end, although this book is inferior, I believe that the whole that is formed offers several things. Περίμενα στο δεύτερο μέρος τα πράγματα να μπούνε σε μία σειρά μέχρι το τέλος της ιστορίας άλλα δεν γίνεται αυτό ακριβώς. Όπως και στο πρώτο μέρος, έτσι και εδώ, υπάρχει ουσιαστικά μία σειρά από συνδεδεμένα επεισόδια, παρά ένα μυθιστόρημα αλλά αυτή η σύνδεση δεν είναι αρκετή ώστε να υπάρχει συνοχή. Βέβαια, Αν και δεν προσθέτουν κάτι ιδιαίτερο, αυτά τα επεισόδια είναι αρκετά ενδιαφέροντα και προχωράνε περισσότερο την αντίληψή μας για τον χαρακτήρα των δύο ηρωίδων μας και της σχέσης τους και προσφέρει συγκινητικές γυναικείες στιγμές (και μερικές πολύ χαριτωμένες κοριτσίστικες) αλλά και πολύ δράση που φυσικά έχει ως επίκεντρο την υπεράσπιση των γυναικών. Για αυτό, στο τέλος, αν και αυτό το βιβλίο είναι υποδεέστερο, πιστεύω ότι το σύνολο που σχηματίζεται προσφέρει αρκετά πράγματα.

  14. 5 out of 5

    D Dyer

    I enjoyed this entry significantly more than the previous book in the trilogy. The plot, though it does take a couple of chapters to get started, is much more cohesive with the two central heroines having somewhat out of necessity become mercenaries and venturing off to discover the fate of their company‘s commander only to become embroiled in a succession fight and meet an archivist Who proves to be much more important than he may seem at first. I got a lot of the fierce female warriors that I I enjoyed this entry significantly more than the previous book in the trilogy. The plot, though it does take a couple of chapters to get started, is much more cohesive with the two central heroines having somewhat out of necessity become mercenaries and venturing off to discover the fate of their company‘s commander only to become embroiled in a succession fight and meet an archivist Who proves to be much more important than he may seem at first. I got a lot of the fierce female warriors that I wanted in the first book, as well as a lovely, those secondary, romantic subplot. It is a light read and was definitely interesting to encounter some more familiar Valdemaran characters and figures scene from a completely different perspective. I think it would be completely possible to read this book without having read the first in the trilogy and while I appreciated some of the detail that the first book offered, I would recommend doing so. This is a much more enjoyable read and features a somewhat more nuanced take on the sexual assault of women, and far fewer scenes of such, than the first book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    (3.5-ish? Clearly the 5 star system is not precise enough for me!) A solid fantasy adventure with excellent main characters. I have a few quibbles with the style and the pacing (too much internal dialogue, a few aspects of plot that could have been expanded upon), but on the whole it's enjoyable. And it's a relief to me, to find a childhood favorite that stands the test of time! (3.5-ish? Clearly the 5 star system is not precise enough for me!) A solid fantasy adventure with excellent main characters. I have a few quibbles with the style and the pacing (too much internal dialogue, a few aspects of plot that could have been expanded upon), but on the whole it's enjoyable. And it's a relief to me, to find a childhood favorite that stands the test of time!

  16. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    I've read this series so many time since the titles first became available. The titles are all mass market paperbacks that were purchased way before GR and ebooks. It's only now that they make it onto my list but the titles are amongst my forever favorites. I've read this series so many time since the titles first became available. The titles are all mass market paperbacks that were purchased way before GR and ebooks. It's only now that they make it onto my list but the titles are amongst my forever favorites.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David H.

    This is so much better than The Oathbound (it helps that it's a "real" novel versus a fixup of episodic short stories). We get to see Tarma and Kethry at their best: more mature, more skilled, and on a mission. It acts as a great sequel and finale to their aims since the beginning of The Oathbound, and as part of the larger Valdemar universe, it does some great clues to other elements of the setting (I'm always amazed at Lackey's seeding of various ideas throughout the series). I was also suitab This is so much better than The Oathbound (it helps that it's a "real" novel versus a fixup of episodic short stories). We get to see Tarma and Kethry at their best: more mature, more skilled, and on a mission. It acts as a great sequel and finale to their aims since the beginning of The Oathbound, and as part of the larger Valdemar universe, it does some great clues to other elements of the setting (I'm always amazed at Lackey's seeding of various ideas throughout the series). I was also suitably impressed by the slowburn romance in this one (after all the lifebonding in the Heralds of Valdemar and Last Herald-Mage trilogies). It's not a perfect book, but it's a great Mercedes Lackey novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Man, I don't know what it is about me and revenge stories! Well, to be fair, in this case it's less "revenge" and more "vengence"... which, in my mind, is not quite the same. Another one of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, this one deals with two women (Tarma and Kethry) who are sworn in an oathbound sisterhood. I won't get in to the vengeance here, that's up to you to discover! An interesting note here (to me anyway..) is that Tarma is the only literary character that I find "attractive". While Man, I don't know what it is about me and revenge stories! Well, to be fair, in this case it's less "revenge" and more "vengence"... which, in my mind, is not quite the same. Another one of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, this one deals with two women (Tarma and Kethry) who are sworn in an oathbound sisterhood. I won't get in to the vengeance here, that's up to you to discover! An interesting note here (to me anyway..) is that Tarma is the only literary character that I find "attractive". While I can (and often do) drool over TV or movie characters, I never have the same reaction to books. Tarma is the exception that proves the rule. The funnier part of that is that she happens to be essentially sexless, and celibate, due to another vow...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    I liked the events of this one much better than the events of The Oathbound. Spying and intrigue are much more to my taste than demon rapists. There was rape in this one, too, which was disappointing, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as the first book. Jadrek is a great character, Kethry's magical development is awesome, Tarma continues to be the best. I like travel stories, especially ones that involve surviving the elements. Also, there were Heralds! Well, one Herald. I liked the events of this one much better than the events of The Oathbound. Spying and intrigue are much more to my taste than demon rapists. There was rape in this one, too, which was disappointing, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as the first book. Jadrek is a great character, Kethry's magical development is awesome, Tarma continues to be the best. I like travel stories, especially ones that involve surviving the elements. Also, there were Heralds! Well, one Herald.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Kethry and Tarma join a mercenary company, go to Valdemar, summon Goddesses, and work a whole lot of magic. They also manage to discuss magic with a Herald well after Vanyel's time and well before Selenay's reign, but I think I can justify the inconsistency in the series by imagining there were no air sprites that close to the Rethwellian border on that particular day. Just go with it. While having read the first Vows and Honor book is a definite prerequisite, this trilogy is shaping up to be fi Kethry and Tarma join a mercenary company, go to Valdemar, summon Goddesses, and work a whole lot of magic. They also manage to discuss magic with a Herald well after Vanyel's time and well before Selenay's reign, but I think I can justify the inconsistency in the series by imagining there were no air sprites that close to the Rethwellian border on that particular day. Just go with it. While having read the first Vows and Honor book is a definite prerequisite, this trilogy is shaping up to be fine fantasy fun. Familiarity with the other Valdemar novels is not required.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Dhu

    Another comfort reread, another Velgarth novel. Lackey's adventurer turned mercenary duo, Kethry the mage and Tarma the Warrior, take on a corrupt and murderous king who has violated his oaths to his country, his people, his gods and his kin. Lots of action, and one of the sweetest romances Lackey's written. Another comfort reread, another Velgarth novel. Lackey's adventurer turned mercenary duo, Kethry the mage and Tarma the Warrior, take on a corrupt and murderous king who has violated his oaths to his country, his people, his gods and his kin. Lots of action, and one of the sweetest romances Lackey's written.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeffe Kennedy

    The second in the Vows & Honor trilogy, to continue fleshing out my #readinghistory. This one really deepened the story of Tarma and Kethry - and led us more into Tarma's fraught history. I love the friendship between these two heroines, which set many of my ideas about the kinds of female relationships I wanted to write someday. The second in the Vows & Honor trilogy, to continue fleshing out my #readinghistory. This one really deepened the story of Tarma and Kethry - and led us more into Tarma's fraught history. I love the friendship between these two heroines, which set many of my ideas about the kinds of female relationships I wanted to write someday.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vendela

    Well, I appear to be rereading all the Valdemar books I own. Okay then.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex James

    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 stakes are as high as ever, when leader of the Sunhawks mercenary tribe Idra goes missing. Idra went to see which of 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 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. 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ria Bridges

    Remembering my thoughts on Oathbound, the previous novel in the Vows and Honor trilogy, I admit I had some trepidation about this one. Fortunately, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Where the first book of the trilogy was obviously originally a collection of short stories strung together by only a light touch of editing, this book was one long story, complete and full, and therefore much more entertaining and devoid of the problems that I found in Oathbound. Tarma and Kethry became much more inter Remembering my thoughts on Oathbound, the previous novel in the Vows and Honor trilogy, I admit I had some trepidation about this one. Fortunately, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Where the first book of the trilogy was obviously originally a collection of short stories strung together by only a light touch of editing, this book was one long story, complete and full, and therefore much more entertaining and devoid of the problems that I found in Oathbound. Tarma and Kethry became much more interesting to me in this novel than they were in the previous, and I suspect no small part of that was due to the first book’s sloppy editing. More of their story was revealed and explained in a way that made me want to keep reading instead of frustrating me with tantalyzing hints about a previously-published short story that I didn’t get a chance to see. I was particularly amused by Tarma’s frustration at Leslac, especially the section that detailed him stating that he would be the man to cure her of her celibacy. Speaking as someone who identifies as asexual (though, I’ll grant you, my asexuality isn’t because of any religious devotion or calling, as Tarma’s is), the “you just need to find the right person” attitude is a very common and annoying reaction that a lot of people have, and I was thrilled to see Tarma be so incensed at Leslac’s presumption. On the down side, some of the plot elements were not particularly surprising when they were presented. Idra’s fate, I think, is one that I saw coming a mile off. It also seems that this book was written when Lackey didn’t know where to place it on the Valdemar timeline, because there were another boatload of inconsistencies with the rest of the series. Kethry’s use of magic within Valdemar’s borders, and the matter of who’s ruling Rethwellan clash with facts stated in later Valdemar novels. It’s disappointing when my favourite author can’t keep her own timeline straight, and when inconsistencies have become par for the course, even so early on in the series. I’m not holding those against this particular novel, though; merely against the series as a whole. On its own, or even within its own trilogy, I don’t think I encountered any contradictions. In a wider context, however… But that won’t stop me from doing what I’ve been doing for years: reading the Valdemar novels and loving them anyway!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chromium Kitty

    I think I feel like this should be 2.5 stars instead of 3, but you know how it goes. This was a step up from the previous "book" in this series in that it's a whole book rather than a collection of short stories stitched together in an attempt to make a novel. And while that was an improvement, the book still seems to have some issues with it than could stem from this (probably) being one of ML's very first published books. I'm not super sure of that, but given that it was first published in 1989 I think I feel like this should be 2.5 stars instead of 3, but you know how it goes. This was a step up from the previous "book" in this series in that it's a whole book rather than a collection of short stories stitched together in an attempt to make a novel. And while that was an improvement, the book still seems to have some issues with it than could stem from this (probably) being one of ML's very first published books. I'm not super sure of that, but given that it was first published in 1989, I would assume that's the case. Other than a little introduction and some cause-building in the first few chapters, nothing really happens of any considerable merit in the first 80-ish pages of the book. I was horribly bored and was considering giving it up as a loss, but decided to power through it, and after the 80th page or so, it did finally start getting down to interesting business. The characters are... okay. There was more character development with this book than the one before it, definitely. But our ladies do come off as "Mary Sue", as another reviewer had said. These women seem to be able to do anything, no matter what, and don't ever really lose anything important while doing it. So I feel like that must be where the claims for "Mary Sue" are coming from. But, heck, this series is what? 30 years old? You have 3 books with these women in it, so you can't rightly expect anything seriously threatening to happen to them, because they're in all 3 books together. That's enough of a plot spoiler by itself, and goes to show you never have to worry about them. Of course I can't leave off without saying how much better it is to be reading some of ML's older work as opposed to that newer young adult crap she's been releasing here lately. These older books of hers are adult in nature. I miss that about her work. Therefore, going back to the old stuff is comforting, in a lot of ways. I'm sick to death of young adult in this genre. I like fantasy with a bit of a bite to it, you know? For series like this, though, where the material is old and the writing can be a little wonky, I do find I need a break in between each book. So I'll be reading something not by ML before moving on to the last book in this series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nika

    Wow this is so much better than Oathbound it's almost not funny. The thing that definitely gives this one a leg up is that it's not a collection of disconnected stories, so you don't have to read increasingly clumsy/punny introductions of the characters every 50 pages. Ultimately this book feels less developed than most of the Valdemar books that followed it. The worldbuilding is more sparce, the narrative isn't as...believable (things work out embarrassingly easily when it's time for them to), Wow this is so much better than Oathbound it's almost not funny. The thing that definitely gives this one a leg up is that it's not a collection of disconnected stories, so you don't have to read increasingly clumsy/punny introductions of the characters every 50 pages. Ultimately this book feels less developed than most of the Valdemar books that followed it. The worldbuilding is more sparce, the narrative isn't as...believable (things work out embarrassingly easily when it's time for them to), there is no feeling of interiority to any but the most central characters (this is to me a HUGE reason I don't find this trilogy compelling so far: no one but Tarma, Kethry, and their closest confidants are actually people with lives/motivations/histories). Sexual violence still a partial plot driver, but way less so here (what a gauge), instead we get a romance plot I couldn't stop rolling my eyes through. I just was not impressed by this hamfisted ode to older men and their internal lives in a book that's supposedly about women, but what that means is two women with a lot of internalized disdain for other women, who surround themselves with a lot of men they're very impressed by. I'm tired. I came here for cool Shin'a'in backstory/worldbuilding and this isn't that. Finally one note on worldbuilding: This seems to have been written before Lackey had settled on mages not being able to (view spoiler)[ work magic within the boundaries of Valdemar? Fascinating to read Kethry casting spells in Valdemar with no repercussions. (hide spoiler)] I mean this honestly, it is really interesting to see the sausage being made here, that ideas that become so central to the overarching plot of the entire series haven't really developed yet.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lia Cooper

    the best thing i can say about this book is that there's less rape than in the first one (*internal screaming*) but overall it's just too short and skips over too much for the relationship developments to really connect for me. I almost dnf'd at 50 pgs but i kept going and there was a middle section i found more interesting, but the latter half is riddled with one easy coincidence after another. characters magically just know stuff and intuit everything. i really wanted to read this because it's the best thing i can say about this book is that there's less rape than in the first one (*internal screaming*) but overall it's just too short and skips over too much for the relationship developments to really connect for me. I almost dnf'd at 50 pgs but i kept going and there was a middle section i found more interesting, but the latter half is riddled with one easy coincidence after another. characters magically just know stuff and intuit everything. i really wanted to read this because it's my second attempt reading Mercedes Lackey and while i enjoyed the writing style and the structure of the first book far more (told in vignettes) overall i don't enjoy her writing. it's a shame considering what a cornerstone of midlist 80/90s fantasy she is but it is what it is. oh also theres about 30 pgs of GOD AWFUL poetry at the end of this one. i slogged through the first 10 or so pages before i had to tap out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Many times a sequel isn't as strong as the original. Oathbreakers, if anything, is stronger. Less episodic, there's a missing person who ties the whole novel together. Kethry and Tarma are tasked to find her, or to discover her fate. For fans of Valdemar, a herald and his companion do make an entrance. The background to one of Valdemar's alliances is also revealed. People may not realize that there are two CDs that accompany Oathbound and Oathbreakers. They bear the same title, but are/were put Many times a sequel isn't as strong as the original. Oathbreakers, if anything, is stronger. Less episodic, there's a missing person who ties the whole novel together. Kethry and Tarma are tasked to find her, or to discover her fate. For fans of Valdemar, a herald and his companion do make an entrance. The background to one of Valdemar's alliances is also revealed. People may not realize that there are two CDs that accompany Oathbound and Oathbreakers. They bear the same title, but are/were put out by Firebird Arts and Music. They include the filk songs (science fiction/fantasy folk songs) that Lackey published about these books. Both are excellent listening. For fans of sword-and-sorcery novels, few are as good as this one. Highly recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Teferet

    This book was much much better than the first one (the first book was just terrible!). The character development in this book was great, and the plot was great too. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could, just because I felt like the climax was cut off a bit (view spoiler)[ Like what happened to the battle scene? Could we please, please have an epic battle scene? Tell me why not! Mercedes has great battle scenes in other books, I’m not sure why this one got cut. Also, I thought we can’t do magic i This book was much much better than the first one (the first book was just terrible!). The character development in this book was great, and the plot was great too. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could, just because I felt like the climax was cut off a bit (view spoiler)[ Like what happened to the battle scene? Could we please, please have an epic battle scene? Tell me why not! Mercedes has great battle scenes in other books, I’m not sure why this one got cut. Also, I thought we can’t do magic in Valdemar?!! But there is certainly quite a lot of magic that they are able to perform, so WTF! (hide spoiler)] Anyway, I’m a huge fan of these characters, and that’s what keeps me coming back to these books year after year.

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