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Sworn by Ski Hemulen

Being a man. Being a woman. 

Two young persons of rival houses in The Mountains – a patriarchal land in which blood feuds and honor decide the fates of warring families – are striving to find their place in this brutal society.

Can they succeed while pushing the limits of the accepted gender roles of the land? Can they find love? And can they survive the punishments waiting for those who break society’s rules?

Note: Sworn is unfinished, and will likely remain so.  It contains some graphic sexual content, graphic violence, and harsh language.

An abandoned novel

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Listed: Oct 19, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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Editor’s First Impression

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Mar 23, 2014: I was taken with the premise of this story, that it had sprung from the idea of the sworn virgins of Albania, who have assumed identities as men so that they would no longer be subject to old tribal clan laws, which say that women are the property of their husbands. The story itself is set in another world, however, one that seems to have some little magic to it, and which the author does a good job of introducing readers to, sinking them into the deep end from the start.

One protagonist is Otmakla, a member of the Stoyanjid family who rebels against the marriage that’s been arranged for her to a much older man of the Romjid family. According to the codes of the mountains, this is a great insult and so the members of the Romjid family go to kill all of the young women of the Stoyanjid. Otmakla meets Romial that night, the other main character and a sworn of the Romjid family, who for some reason helps Otmakla to hide rather than kills her.

The main characters are well-drawn in this drama, and I felt the reader got a very good sense of who these two people were, bound by honor and trapped within their family systems of two houses in conflict. Things became more interesting, and more dangerous, as they became friends throughout the course of the story, and the sense of tragedy looming in the future became more and more pronounced, and more immediate.

The writing itself is simple in style but compelling. The author mentioned that English was not their first language, which I could see in the occasional sentence structure or tense confusion, but there did not seem to be so many errors that it impaired my enjoyment of the story. I should add that this story is in its early days (10 chapters posted currently), so keep that in mind if you’re expecting a big backlog. Any prospective readers should also expect a lot of bigotry against the characters and bloody violence described as part of the story.

All in all, I’d recommend this to fans of high drama stories with a lot at stake for the characters. The author has created some fascinating characters in a set of impossible situations, and I am interested to see how it all plays out.

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