May 17, 2018

Tyrolin Puxty: "Down to Oath"

Title: Down to Oath [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
[*Friendly advice: beware of the Down to Oath page on Amazon, and the duplicate page on Goodreads (not the one I linked to). Their blurb hints at the twist in its very first line]
Series: None
Author: Tyrolin Puxty [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: SPOILER - revealing the genre(s) would partially ruin your reading experience...If you want to go into the book without knowing anything vital about it, I recommend you not read the Labels at the end of my review either. No need to worry though - the review itself will be spoiler-free...
Year: 2018
Age: 10+ (I was told this one falls into the MG category, but I think children under 10 years of age will struggle a little with its concept. Then again, this book is likely to appeal to anyone regardless of age - adults will definitely take something away from it)
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Light and deep at the same time. Weaves reflection with adventure and surprises. Tackles a theme we rarely get to see in MG/YA.
Cons: For the story to work, the parallel town system needs to be inherently flawed in a couple of instances.
Will appeal to: Kids and adults looking for a quick, simple-yet-profound, offbeat story.

Blurb: Codi lives in the exceptionally drab town of Oath; a settlement without colour, children or personality. When a child manifests in the library and introduces Codi to parallel towns that contain aggressive, manic versions of herself, she must decide between saving Oath...and saving herself. After all, how much can you truly trust yourself? (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased. And all the books I received from them were generously sent with no strings attached.

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

You all know I've never reviewed a MG book on the blog - when I requested this one, I thought it was YA (I had read the first chapter on Amazon to get a taste of it). The fact is, when we first meet the protagonist (whose age we aren't privy to), she comes across as a young woman, and the writing style is accessible but not simplistic - so I just assumed those things settled the matter once and for all. Then the publisher told me it was, in fact, MG. After reading it, I can see that the label is appropriate, but even if you're an adult who doesn't usually read in that age range, don't let that discourage you from trying this one. Down to Oath is a deceptively simple book, with as many layers as you can peel away. You can even be at odds with a certain theory the book puts forth, but that very likely won't detract from your reading experience - as it didn't from mine πŸ™‚. [...]

THE WAYS OF THE WORLDS

One word I can tell you without spoiling this book too much: multiverse. Which is one of my favourite things in the world to read about (or watch), so it accounts for most of my enthusiasm. We get to see different versions of the same characters at different ages (there's no actual explanation for the age gap, though it makes a lot of sense for the children's world), and of course, different versions of the same place, with a few creative twists. And there's a specific reason for the multiverse, although - in addition to the age thing I mentioned - I see a flaw in how this system works...the world of Oath doesn't represent an inherent trait of the human nature, as the other ones do, but a stage of the human experience. And while this ultimately serves the purpose of making the plot advance (especially as it comes to the final resolution), it sorts of makes the book slightly uneven for me, though not enough to ruin my reading experience.

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

Down to Oath kept me enthralled the whole time, though I already knew what the mystery behind it was about (thank you, Goodreads all-too-eloquent reviewers πŸ˜’). The ending though, while being consistent with the story and presenting a late twist on the main theme, isn't the book's strongest suit to me - romance takes the front seat in a way that I didn't buy that much (but that will probably delight all the hard-core romantic souls out there πŸ˜‰). Then again, once we get past that spot, the ultimate resolution is satisfying (if not of the rainbows-and-unicorns variety). Down to Oath is an inventive, fast-moving, well-written, semi-dark (but also funny) fable, with a magical feel and a philosophical background, that will appeal to young and mature readers alike.

For more books that defy categories click here.

12 comments:

  1. Hmm, I'm curious why the genre would ruin the reading experience, and I'm tempted to look, but I will refrain.

    Nooo! I don't read reviews on Goodreads anymore, because most of the time people don't mark the spoilers (SO FRUSTRATING). I try to see if one of the blogs I follow has reviewed the book instead. If not, I go in blind. :)

    I'm glad you were able to enjoy this despite knowing crucial information beforehand! It means the story is solid on its own.

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I live and breath reviews because, before I commit to a book, I want to be reasonably sure it's my cup of tea...but I've been burned a few times by blatant spoilers. I understand that writing reviews for certain books is not easy, plus GR needs to implement a REAL spoiler button, because only the most disciplined reviewers will bother with copying and pasting a darn CODE, but still.

      This is really enjoyable! even if you're privy to the mystery, you still appreciate the journey (plus there are still a few surprises/twists).

      Delete
  2. Goodreads reviewers who go all out to talk about the plot should definitely mark spoilers! I'm glad you loved this despite it being MG- I like picking up an MG book or two when I'm not in the right headspace for heavier reading and it never ceases to amaze me how brilliant some of these books can be! This one sounds real good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose MG books have come of age, so to speak - while still aimed at that age range, they're getting more and more refined for an older palate too. Of course, to the best of my knowledge, there are different types of MG - some are aimed at the youngest end of the spectrum, and it's only fair.

      Delete
  3. This one has got me very intrigued...I definitely want to check it out. Thank you, I have been looking for some different MG fiction to recommend (I work in a Children and Teen library).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I read about that on your blog. I hope this one will work for you/your kids!

      Delete
  4. Honestly, I think it being MG might work better for me. These time-slip/parallel world type of books confuse me lol and I might be able to grasp it better if it's aimed at MG readers.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, don't bring yourself down. But I see your point. Let me know if you ever decide to read it...one day! πŸ˜‰

      Delete
  5. Why would they put spoilers in the blurb?? It doesn't make sense XD Thanks a lot for the follow btw, I followed you back!! :)

    Ronnie @ Paradise Found

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just the first line, really...but it tips you off somehow.

      And thank you for reciprocating!

      Delete
  6. I might have to check this out, because it sounds really unique and cool. My god, the reviewers who spoil books make me so darn angry. ESPECIALLY ON GOODREADS!! I mean, you have the option of marking the whole review or just parts of it spoiler, and it is so easy to do so smh. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe not so easy, because if you want to mark only specific parts of your reviews as spoiler, you have to manually copy the code (now the GR folks should definitely do something about it and other things...WHY CAN'T THEY IMPLEMENT CODES THAT YOU ADD BY CLICKING ON A SIMPLE BUTTON?!?!). Then again, I swear there are people who revel in spoiling books for everyone, especially when they hated them. I read a review of a book on my TBR list where someone said something like "and in the end everything that went on turned out to be only in the main character's head" (not with these words, but close) and ASDFGHJK. I wanted to...well, let's say, shake her just a little LOL. Of course, that person hated the book, so I suppose she took an evil pleasure in ruining it for any potential reader and drive them away from it.

      As usual, thank you hon!

      Delete

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