Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Review: Oath of Deception (Reign of Secrets #4)

Release Date: June 5, 2018
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Publisher: Reign Publishing
Length: 300 pages
Source: Electronic Review Copy from Author

For Savenek, there is no greater honor than protecting Emperion. While other young men his age study a trade, he attends a secret, elite military academy where he has been honed into a lethal asset for his kingdom. He can gather information without detection and kill from the shadows. Savenek’s own father is the schoolmaster, and he forces Savenek to train harder than any other student. As graduation draws near, Savenek eagerly awaits the vows inducting him into the Brotherhood of the Crown.

When a messenger arrives with news of war brewing on the horizon, the Brotherhood is called into action. Eager to prove himself, Savenek goes on his first mission alone. He doesn’t expect to uncover a treacherous plot to destroy Emperion. He doesn’t expect to join forces with someone outside the Brotherhood, let alone a woman. He certainly doesn’t expect to fail.

But then again, his father taught him nothing ever goes as planned.

Political intrigue clashes with romance in this thrilling story that continues the Reign of Secrets saga.



Protagonist: Savenek, has trained since he was seven years old to join The Brotherhood of the Crown, a secret spy network that dedicates themselves to protecting Emperion, no matter what. Ven is set to take his vows and become a full-fledged brother, but first, he is sent on a dangerous mission alone to a neighboring kingdom, or at least alone in the sense that another member of the Brotherhood will not be with him, instead he finds himself in the company of Ari, a whip-smart girl who may just be too much for Ven to handle, and who may be harboring secrets of her own. Together they venture into the neighboring kingdom of Apethaga in order to secure a weapons deal and snoop around for any pertinent information. I love Ven so much, he's a bit of an incorrigible flirt, using his charm to get him out of a few sticky situations, he's confident and while he can slip up from time to time, he's a capable spy and assassin, his development is mostly internal as he needs to learn to work with somebody rather than alone, and he has a hard time getting close to people, which with his line of work makes a lot of sense.

Romance: The romance in this story starts off a bit combative, though nothing close to a hate to love relationship. While Ven has had some experience with women, in fact, he has a kind of, sort of, girlfriend back home, but from the moment he meets Ari, not only does she challenge him, but she's plenty capable at taking care of herself. I really loved the balance between these two characters, how even though they didn't get off on the best foot, they still find a way to work together without either being held back due to the other. I don't know if I can put it in any better terms than that they just fit together. I do wish that Savenek wasn't held back by his feelings for another girl towards the beginning, but I do understand and appreciate why it's there.

World Building: So, I didn't expect to go as far back in time as we do in this installment. I knew that we would skip back quite a bit to learn more about Savenek's life prior to Cage of Darkness, and to see another aspect of the war with Russek, an aspect that I have to say was absolutely fantastic, but I didn't quite account for how early in the timeline it would take place. In this story, we see more kingdoms on the mainland and learn about how some of these kingdoms approached the upcoming war between Russek and Emperion. This story is about our heroes going into a foreign kingdom, where they are almost completely at the mercy of their hosts, and finding the information they need before escaping, which is pretty much easier said than done. The author does a phenomenal job of expanding the story of this series to see the broader scope of this war and see how those on the sidelines reacted to what was brewing. It's almost impossible not to get sucked into this world as nearly every facet of this world is brilliantly detailed,

Predictability: Given that I've read the rest of the Reign of Secrets books, there wasn't all that much about this story that I found unpredictable, at least when it came to larger issues in the story. There were a few moments here and there where I would be surprised by what was going on, and even though I knew more or less how things would turn out, that didn't stop the tension from rising in certain scenes, especially certain scenes toward the end. In the end, I do have to say I was a bit bummed by the fact that there weren't any huge twists, though I'm hoping that with the biggest stuff out of the way things will get a lot more mysterious for the next installment.

Ending: As this story came crashing to a close there were so many intense scenes with barely a breather in between, once the ending starts it really doesn't stop. I freaking loved every minute of this story as it winds to a close and some pretty kick-ass scenes. After all of the excitement is over there is a pretty sizable cooldown period where lingering questions from this story were more or less tied up for now, all leading to yet another cliffhanger from this author, a cliffhanger by the way, that I know more or less how it pans out, yet I'm still chomping at the bit to see what happens next.


It's not really much of a surprise that I gave this book 5 stars, I mean it did take a second to adjust to the shift in narrators and the fact that this doesn't start where Book 3 ends, but after that I just got sucked in and could hardly put the book down!