Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sway of the Moon (The Sacred Oath Chronicles #1) by Nan Cederman

 Sway of the Moon (The Sacred Oath Chronicles #1) by Nan Cederman

Synopsis: "Tonight, a war between
the light and the darkness
has returned. Two warriors
clashed in the battle, which
has continued throughout the
ages. The dark one lies at
our feet, righteousness has
declared a victory" ~ Sahgi

In the year 9898HE (103BCE), tragic events compel a mystic civilization to isolate itself from outsiders. Isolation provides the serenity and freedom for the kin-people to expand innate abilities to an unearthly level. Isolation provides their dark, twisted heritage to fracture the three kindred bloodlines of the blended nation. Once again, the ancestral battle for supremacy reignites.
In the year 12020HE (2020CE), anthropologist Caeth Salkar begins to research her legacy.
Amazed by the detailed ancestral
chronicles, she decides to document their epic struggle to overcome the thirst of the dark ones.
Her research reveals 5 chosen Mystics. Each one swears a Sacred Oath to battle the dark, heinous power, which becomes stronger with each confrontation.

Review: My first big problem was with the characters. Apart from a few 'evil' characters who have fairly minor roles in the story, the entire cast of characters was way too nice. They are always saying nice things too each other, doing kind acts, having nice thoughts. It just made them all seem unrealistic and bland. Very occasionally one of the characters would get angry about something and say something unkind, but upon seeing the person upset they would immediately feel bad and apologize, and the upset person would normally also say sorry for overreacting, this is followed by more overly kind words to each other.

One of the worst example of this was when one of the characters sends his wife away after an attack. She didn't want to go, but he became angry and ordered her to leave. She is so traumatized by thinking about his words while she is traveling back, she goes into premature labor. She prays to the goddess of childbirth, who first saves the wife and child by stopping the labor, then attacks the husband (sort of). He realizes why he is being attacked and rushes to his wife, who by this time is at their home. They are both very sorry and ask forgiveness, then... they have sex! Seriously his wife just almost went into labor because she was upset with him so they solve it by having sex! What was he going to do poke the baby back in?

The evil characters were just as over the top as the good ones. The first one we meet was insane, pure evil, full of anger and acted irrationally. He had no redeeming qualities or reasons to justify what he was doing. All he needed was a mustache to twiddle and he would be a stereotypical old movie bad guy.

The second group of villains actually started with more promise, they had more diverse personalities and were interesting to read about. But after a while they begin to change, and were similar to the overly kind characters. They would be sweet, say nice things to each other, and their only real evilness was their intent to battle against the main group of characters. The change they went through was too quick and unbelievable, for example the leader of the group went from ripping out throats of those who challenged him in the slightest way, and abusing women, to wanting to do the right thing, showing kindness to his rivals and wishing to meet the approval of his 'beloved' in just a couple of chapters.

From the premise, I was excited to read about Caeth Salkar, a person from the future researching about the other characters and their history. This was an excellent idea and showed much promise. Unfortunately it was badly executed, they never had any real voice, we never learnt anything about them or their views on what they were researching. Most of the time they were just there to provide a narrative voice, explaining concepts or what happened over a period of time between chapters. In the end they became pointless and their role could have been written just as regular description.

The speech was too elegant for too much of the book, characters would often say things like "my soul dwells in darkness when you are not around." If someone said phrases like this occasionally it would be okay, but when it is used in most conversations it just becomes unbelievable, dull and loses it's value, because everyone says things like this all the time.

As well as the speech, the general writing was too long winded, had many repeating points and recaps on events that had just happened. The pacing, especially at the start was painfully slow.

Other than a couple of things, their wasn't any long term plot. A problem would arise, it would be dealt with by the characters, then once it had been fully resolved a new problem would occur. It was unbelievable and gave me less motive to want to keep reading since there was never really an issue up there for long enough for me to I want to keep reading to see how it would be resolved. Characters also tend to be able to solve problems too easily.

The point-of-view would also shift from one paragraph to the next with no clear indication of it doing so, which was sometimes confusing or at least disorientating.

The text in this book was left aligned, instead of the standard justify alignment. I found it to be a little distracting at times.

The story itself was fairly good, especially towards the end of the book. And the concept of having a character researching the history was a great one. The writing was too elegant and rich for long periods, it would have been better to have used a more natural way of speaking and describing for most of the book and only use the elegant style at certain, important points to make a more dramatic statement. It is certainly easier for an author to tone down their work at times, than to elevate it when they do not have this sophisticated writing style.
The characters need work, just because a person is on the good side, it doesn't mean they have to be completely nice all of the time.

In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Rating **


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