Oathbreakers (Vows & Honor #2)
This is the second in Lackey’s Vows & Honor series (I consider Oathblood to be the third, even though it doesn’t say so on the cover and is more a collection of short stories than a full-length novel.) and it follows Tarma and Kethry as they continue their quest to build up money and a good enough reputation to allow them to start their own school.
I like this story perhaps more than its predecessor, mostly because the characters are established in their relationship with each other by now. I like seeing how they work as a pair, rather than how they work as two individuals after the same common end. Granted, they worked remarkably well together even in their first short story, much less The Oathbound, but I think they do even better here.
I also like all the castle intrigue and the addition of the other characters in the story. I like meeting Herald Roald, and getting a glimpse of what Valdemar is like. I enjoy getting to know the Hawks. And best of all, I like Jadrek. I suppose I’ve always felt a kinship with his kind of character – the bookish sort who longs for adventure, but doesn’t really have the physical ability to go after it. (I’m ignoring the fact that in my case the lack of physical ability to go adventuring might be remedied with some actual exercise.)
These books, to me, are good fun. They’re not ponderously heavy, weighted with some obvious moral code. They’re not trying to be something other than entertainment. They are there for our enjoyment, and for me? It works. These are comfort reads, something I can turn to when I want to be told a good story.
In my review of The Oathbound, I mentioned that the books set in this world focus on the Heralds of Valdemar. And when you look at the publication order, the first novel published was about one of the Heralds. However, the short story introducing Tarma and Kethry pre-dates Arrows of the Queen (aka first Valdemar novel) by two years. So, I think it’s appropriate to start a re-read of some (or most) of my favorite Valdemar novels by starting with the couple of bond-sisters who started it all.