A Matter of Oaths – Helen S. Wright

a matter of oaths

two star

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Bloomsbury Caravel

Commander Rallya of patrolship Bhattya thought she had a talent for making enemies–until she met Rafe. For no crime on his record, the young officer had been identity wiped, and his innumerable, now-forgotten enemies were still tracking him across the galaxy.

A Matter of Oaths captured my attention for two reasons. One, it was described as a diverse space opera. The story features a gay person of colour and an older woman as Commander. And two, Becky Chambers wrote the introduction.

A Matter of Oaths has a lot going for it, but the writing style and poor world building kept me from fully engaging in the story.
The best way to describe the writing style is vague. It feels as if there’s a glass barrier between the story and the reader. This barrier lets the reader know they’re reading a story, so it impedes readers from fully immersing themselves in the world Wright has created.
The world building is poor. The guild, the emperors, and the concept of the web are not clearly explained. The poor world building compounded with the vague writing style makes for a story that isn’t easy to engage with fully.

The main character, Rafe, as I mentioned previously is gay and has a romantic relationship throughout the novel. It was refreshing to read a story with a non-heterosexual relationship as the main romantic relationship. Unfortunately, there was no spark or chemistry between the characters making it felt clinical and abrupt.

Overall, I was expecting something along the lines of Becky Chambers’ work, but was disappointed to say the least. If you enjoyed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I would hesitantly recommend A Matter of Oaths only because it has a similar tone, but I would be cautious.

***I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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