Young adult book series seem to always have the same story with only different characters and worlds to set them apart from one another. The intended audience for these stories loves them, which is great; however, older readers may not find the same enjoyment. Older readers may be intrigued by a premise of one of these books, but upon picking it up and actually reading the story, they will find the plot as well as the development of the characters to be incredibly predictable. This can take away the enjoyable reading experience for readers looking for something fun and unique. However, there are young adult writers who can break away from the norm and create a new and intriguing series for both younger and older readers to enjoy. One self-published Amazon writer, Terah Edun, created a wonderfully unique story arc for her Courtlight series, beginning with her first book Sworn To Raise.
An orphan living in poverty, seventeen-year-old Ciardis Vane lives in a small vale outside of the empire. Spending every day as a washer woman, she hears gossip about the goings on in her vale as well as in the empire itself. Her life changes in an instant when she meets a Companion: a person chosen to aid his or her Patron using his or her unique magical abilities. This Companion sees potential in Ciardis and takes her to the Companions Guild to train and become a Companion herself. With no knowledge of having any magical abilities, Ciardis must look deep within herself to unlock the power within, for she is the only one who can raise a Prince to his rightful place in the Imperial Court.
The first in Edun’s series borderlines a rags-to-riches premise and does begin in a predictable way; however, to begin any story from any genre, writers usually need to be predictable. And even with this familiar premise, Edun made it her own and created an intriguing and unique start to her series. What makes it so intriguing and unique is not just the story, but also the characters she developed, the world she created, the magic elements she included, and the message her story gives to the audience.
Sworn To Raise does not introduce many characters which is nice for readers. When first introducing a series, writers do not want to overwhelm their audience with an overabundance of characters. The main characters that are introduced are very likeable. Ciardis, for example, is a wonderful female lead: a strong, independent young woman who is able to take care of herself and others and a character many young teenage readers can look up to. Edun also does a wonderful job of not introducing the entire world she created, but rather only introducing a few key places such as the vale Ciardis was raised in and the Companion’s Guild.
The magic within Edun’s world plays along with the message she portrays in her series as a whole. Each person who has magic flowing within them has a unique ability, ranging from predictable magic (such as elemental magic) to more unique kinds of magic (such as knowing the contents of a book just by touching its spine). These unique abilities represent the unique personalities found in human beings: of all of the things humans are capable of, there is always a certain trait that each person is uniquely talented at. This is a wonderful message for the younger readers during a time when they are discovering who they are, telling them that they have a unique talent that they will discover they have.
With the intriguing and unique story, characters, world, and message, Sworn To Raise is a great beginning to Edun’s self-published series. With the beginning of the story containing an incredible amount of detail to set up the plot, it does, unfortunately, seem a bit rushed towards the end, almost as if Edun was speeding through the rest of the story just to finish it. However, even with the rushed ending, there are seven other books following Sworn To Raise, the next in the series being Sworn To Transfer. Though many young adult book series are incredibly similar as well as predictable, there are a few writers who can break the mold. Writers like Edun have created a young adult series that can capture the attention of both younger and older readers and has done so on her own through self-publishing her Courtlight series on Amazon.