ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Oaths of Legacy’ Proves Perspective Is Everything

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Oaths of Legacy - But Why Tho

Oaths of Legacy is the forthcoming second installment of The Bloodright Trilogy by Emily Skrutskie. Published by Del Rey, the book follows shortly after the events of Bonds of Brass. It is told from the perspective of Gal, the heir to the throne of a galactic empire bent on conquering the empire of his former best friend and lover, Ettian turned captor and, oh, also the prodigal emperor of that very empire, Archon.

Strutskie is a master of perspective. What absolutely enamored me about Bonds of Brass was its genius use of first-person to cloak its biggest twist, Ettian’s being the heir to the Archon throne. Writing him as a reliable narrator only to turn him entirely unreliable at the last moment was absolutely shocking. And she carries that same energy straight into and through Oaths of Legacy. Switching the perspective from Ettian to Gal provides three excellent opportunities: the chance to get into the other main character’s head, a chance to be in the dark about Ettian’s experience, and a chance to see an entirely new form of mastery over perspective.

Gal is the total opposite of Ettian in so many ways. He’s very impulsive, very hot-headed, and very sure of himself. And having been scorned by the previous book’s unreliable narration, it’s easy to immediately recognize that so much of Gal’s descriptions of his experience are bluster, which is intentional because as a very middle of a trilogy-type book, it is all about the yearning and pining. So much of Gal’s feelings about his captivity and his loyalty to Umber are really wrapped up around his feelings for Ettian, no matter how much he tries to say otherwise. And so rather than wasting time pretending Gal is all serious about his hatred for Ettian, the veneer of his obvious affection is completely perforated from the onset. This leaves the reader left only to sit and wallow in glorious frustration over why they won’t just kiss and make up already.

And as you huff and puff about their lack of smooching, a great war plot unfolds. Archon is on the brink of recapturing its lost territory, and Ettian, as well as Wen by his side, are bent on winning this rebellion. Meanwhile, Gal dedicates his every moment to attempting sabotage. He thinks that he can manipulate Ettian and the people around him into catastrophic failure. I love this plot within the perspective Strutskie forces us into specifically because we never know what Ettian’s perspective is on anything. We know what he tells Gal out loud. But does he see through Gal’s games? Or is he ignorant to them? Losing his perspective makes everything more intense, both in the war effort and their relationship.

While much of Oaths of Legacy is an emotional set-up for the trilogy’s conclusion, it’s also a unique and impactful exploration of the glories and follies of a first-person narrative perspective. Switching to Ettian’s perspective from Gal’s for this second installment created opportunities for all new kinds of emotional twists and surprises. All while offering a grueling will-they-won’t-they and complete excitement for the series’ conclusion.

Oaths of Legacy is available wherever books are sold on September 14th.

Oaths of Legacy
4.5

TL;DR

While much of Oaths of Legacy is an emotional set-up for the trilogy’s conclusion, it’s also a unique and impactful exploration of the glories and follies of a first-person narrative perspective. Switching to Ettian’s perspective from Gal’s for this second installment created opportunities for all new kinds of emotional twists and surprises. All while offering a grueling will-they-won’t-they and complete excitement for the series’ conclusion.