Foreword Reviews

Oathbound

The Royal Rose Chronicles

Victoria McCombs’s young adult novel Oathbound is filled with danger, romance, and a good dose of piracy.

Emme is running out of time. Sick with the same disease that killed her father, her only hope lies in retrieving the Elmber Nut from a cursed island, Iilak. To do so, she joins a band of pirates, facing memories of her pirate mother, who abandoned Emme when she was a child.

Arn also needs to reach Iilak, though for different reasons. He bound himself to notorious Admiral Bones, and if he fails to pay his debts, he’ll die. With their lives—and love—at stake, Emme and Arn set sail together, confronting their pasts and deciding what future they’ll build.

The narrative alternates between Emme and Arn’s perspectives. Though headed to Iilak for different reasons, their fears of inadequacy are similar. Emme is desperate not to become like her mother; she fears falling in love with the pirate life. Arn wants to prove that he is worthy of being a captain; he hopes his men won’t learn of his debt.

The book’s imagery is bold, but the violence of bloody battle scenes stops short of being gratuitous. Arn’s ship, The Royal Rose, is a good backdrop for laughter and heartache alike; humor is generated as Emme dons a pirate’s apparel. And future adventures are promised as Emme enters into her own oath, and as Arn deals with the fallout from his deceptions.

A girl learns to love seafaring while also learning from past mistakes in the fantasy novel Oathbound—a story that’s sure to awaken readers’ thirsts for adventure.

Reviewed by Vivian Turnbull

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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