Not all promises can be kept. Four-year-old Eiryn doesn’t understand why her mother left her, but she knows things will never be the same again. When Eiryn tries to call for water during her mother’s funeral, everything starts to go wrong. Her uncle is always sad; her best friend is always getting himself into fights; some of the other children hate her… Sometimes Eiryn even struggles to get through the day. She’s determined to make everyone happy, though. Eiryn promised and even if her mother won’t keep her word Eiryn will keep hers. She’ll make everything right again.
I decided to read A Promise Broken because Lynn O’Connacht is an amazing author. I’ve enjoyed her other books a lot. Check out my review here: Sea Foam and Silence, A Harmony of Water and Weald and The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake.
It’s #ownvoices for asexual representation.
The characters are amazing. The story is told in two perspective. That of Eiryn, a little four-year-old girl, and that of Arén, her uncle. Eiryn’s voice was very appropriate for her age. Child narrators are so difficult to write well, but it was very well-done here.
Asexual and aromantic representation are always something that I enjoy reading about in books. Arén is an ace aro trans man, who has taken on his niece after his sister passes away. His identity is never the focus of the story.
I loved reading the interactions that Eiryn had with her uncle, and how Arén slowly started to learn how to look after a four-year-old child. In a lot of books, the person who looks after the child is often shown to do so alone or with their partner. This book shows a lot of times there is a community of people who are there to support the carer.
Sadly, something that kept stopping my enjoyment was that I never quite understood how the magic system worked in this world. I felt that the worldbuilding was lacking and I was very confused about what was happening, especially during the first half or so of the book. This was an issue because the possibility of imbalance was a major storyline in this book, and I just didn’t understand what and how the imbalance could be caused. It took me quite some time to figure out what a sifanou was, but even then it wasn’t fully explained. I can understand that the worldbuilding is not something that should have been described in Eiryn’s perspective, as she herself is just learning about her own world, but I wish that this had been explained in Arén’s perspective.
The dreamy, mesmerising writing that I associate with Lynn O’Connacht’s work can be found here yet again! I enjoyed the main storyline of Eiryn and her uncle growing closer, and them sorting out the problems that ensue because of Eiryn’s singing. However, I was very confused about the magic system and the worldbuilding – which was something that I think is essential to understand the imbalance storyline.
Have you read A Promise Broken? What did you think of it?