a matter of oaths // review

Title: A Matter of Oaths
Author: Helen S. Wright
No. of pages: Kindle; 322 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Space, Space Opera, Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: November 27, 2017; first published in 1988
Date Read: March 21, 2018


When Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya hires Rafe as their new Web officer, she knows she is taking a risk. As an oath breaker, Rafe has suffered the ultimate punishment – identity wipe – but luckily for him, there’s no one else around qualified for the job. Shunned by his previous shipmates, Rafe is ready to keep his head down and do his job, but his competence quickly earns him respect, admiration, and, in one particular case, love.

It’s difficult to maintain the glow of acceptance however, when his past is chasing him across the galaxy in the shape of an assassin, intent on dealing once and for all with Rafe, whatever the cost.

Originally published in 1988, A Matter of Oaths is a space opera with heart, intergalactic intrigue and epic space battle. (Goodreads)


I was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love sci-fi books and was excited to read this. The summary given on NetGalley was intriguing and was the reason that I asked for this book. A Matter of Oaths is a sci-fi that was at times fast-paced and at others was crawling. Overall, I liked it and thought that it was a good story.

A Matter of Oaths follows the crew of the Bhattya who has just hired their First, a man named Rafe, who had been identity wiped for being an Oath-Breaker. Rafe, wanting to keep his head down has a hard time doing that because Bhattya Commander Rallya sees something in him that doesn’t make sense with the little past that he can remember. As his past comes back in flashes, Rafe becomes a pawn between the Empires and the Bhattya becomes a force to be reckoned with, with its Thirds having to make difficult choices about the Guild, the Empires, Rafe, and others who become forced in the middle.

One thing I liked about this book was the action. When the action was happening, it was fast-paced and held my attention. At some points, I didn’t want to put my kindle down because I needed to know what was going to happen to Rafe, Joshim, and Rallya. From jumping across space, searching a drifting ship, or holding the Central station under guard, when there was action, it was good. The problem for me was those in-between moments when the action wasn’t there or it wasn’t something that was setting the action. At those points, it was a little slow for me.

Another thing that I liked was the invention of the webbers, the people who connected to the ship via a neural connection that helped them to control and check the ship’s controls and damage while also being able to connect to one another without words. It reminded me a lot of “The Drift” in the movie Pacific Rim, where the Jaeger pilots were given a mental connection where they were in one mind to control the Jaegers. I love that movie, so having something in the story that reminded me of it was a great plus.

Since this book was originally published in 1988, its republication for a new generation could be a great thing. It was definitely a book that I’m glad I had a chance to pick up. It seems like there’s a bit more interest in science fiction these days and I hope that this book is one that comes to the forefront.

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