Copy received from and reviewed for Bookgeeks.
The Winter Kingdoms are a troubled place. A plague and famine scourge the lands, old problems and rivalries are either still around or resurfacing and an invasion is threatening from across the Northern Sea.
Several people in different parts of the kingdoms can feel the danger and are trying to investigate what exactly they are up against, and what they discover is deeply disturbing. Not only does the invasion appear to be headed by a traitor as well as a dark spirit mage wielding blood magic, forces are also trying to bring forth the Dread and the dark force they hold, deep underneath the earth.
The Dread are a force to be reckoned with, and also an unpredictable factor. The Dread are allied to no one but might choose to join either the invaders or those defending the Winter Kingdoms. As the Sworn, a tribe dedicated to keeping the Dread confined in their borrows, knows it might be best for all if the Dread would stay out of the conflict all together.
This is a fantasy novel and as such there are a lot of characters to get acquainted with, a lot of friendships, fueds and enemies to keep separate and all sorts of creatures and powers not known in real life. We find magic, ghosts, vampires (called vayash moru) and werewolves (vyrkin) in these pages.
It has been years since I last read a fantasy novel, and I wasn't sure how much I would end up enjoying this book. But I was pleasantly surprised.
I found myself caught up in the story and the characters almost from the first page and kept on turning the pages until I had read the last word. And although the next book in this series won't be published until next year, I think I will probably read it when it comes out. I find myself liking the characters and wanting to know who their story will unfold.
I would give one (small) warning to those deciding to read this book. Although this title is the first in a new series, it does follow on from an earlier series of four books, The Chronicles of the Necromancer. The author herself says that this book was written in such a way that it could be read, without problems, by those who had not read the previous series. And that is true. However, I do think that I might have gotten even more out of this book if I had been familiar with the back-story.
As it is, I had a very enjoyable time reading The Sworn and am grateful for the opportunity to re-aquaint myself with the fantasy genre.