Edit: Disclosure – this review is based off of a copy I received from the author.
Sworn to Transfer picks up with Ciardis almost immediately after the end of Sworn to Raise. Ciardis and the Prince are, essentially, packed off to solve a growing tension between the Kith and the Imperial Court. Given what occurred at the end of the last book (sorry, spoiler free review), there is an issue with the supports for the Kith’s forest and Ciardis and the Prince are sent out to examine the problem and find a solution.
While this is going on, Ciardis is also exploring her past and finding out more about what happened to her mother. There’s some honest interest there and some interesting hints that this is not a typical orphan story. There’s also some development between Ciardis and Sebastian that is a lot of fun to read – you can tell the pair of them are awkward in trying to figure out exactly where they are in the ‘Friends-ish’ phase of the relationship. Ciardis’ insights regarding him are a true delight to read, and it is clear that Edun had fun writing Ciardis.
The world building continues in this novel at a good pace. The Imperial territories have been established, so now Edun gets to play with other societies and peoples around the area. There are some good political elements here, though some of them are a bit awkward. Still, they make for an interesting atmosphere for the fast-paced story.
The magic system is similarly explored and expanded on. Ciardis is still just as valuable and unique in this novel as she was in the last one, but more limitations on sorcery are established from the outset and we see her starting to push at her own personal limits several times. She also learns more about what her gift can do as she delves in to the mystery of what is happening with the Kith as well as her mother.
Ciardis becomes a full character in this novel. She is much more fleshed out and even given some significant flaws that impact both the plot and her relationships with other characters. It is fascinating to see Edun’s work with the character bear such a ripe fruit. The secondary characters, with the exception of Sebastian, still tend to be a bit of a weak point to the tale; while they are not quite as conveniently placed as they were in the previous story, they still feel fairly obvious and flat. It is better than it was in Sworn to Raise, and if Edun’s record of improvement holds, I’m certain it has been addressed in the next novel.
The pacing of the book is fast and events move a long at a good clip. Like Sworn to Raise, Sworn to Transfer is excellently timed with politics, conflicts, swords, and sorcery intermixed in a truly excellent romp through an exciting fantasy world. I highly recommend the book.
Total rating: 4.5 / 5