As one who generally reads fantasy, it can be extraordinarily different, at times, to read literary and contemporary fiction. The conventions and style as a reader I have become accustomed to are not present, plus the placement of the story in a modern and/or realistic world is, outside of some sub-genres, strange. But kindly enough, Bryn Greenwood offers readers like me a bone in The Reckless Oath We Made.
And by bone, I speak of the character, Gentry Frank. He isn’t the protagonist – that status is reserved for Zee (Zhorzha, technically, but few call her that), a struggling woman living with her sister and nephew, stringing together waitress jobs and running weed. It is through her eyes we first meet Gentry, and as bizarre as it was, initially, to hear him described as a stalker, it is the chapters that show his perspective that felt the most familiar and the most odd for me as a fantasy reader.
I brought Lady Zhorzha and her little page safe through the throng of knaves, but ’twas no great task for the many months I was set to watch over her. To guard the threshold like a dog would give me joy, but my lady needed me carry the boy.The Reckless Oath We Made, Pg. 11
The application of a modified and modernized ‘Old English’ speech made Gentry’s voice visceral, providing an almost instant understanding of who he is: a young, strong man who aspires to knighthood and who takes his oaths, especially to “Lady Zhorzha” seriously. To some, this style of writing, especially for a major character, would appear exhausting and perhaps even tedious. I, personally, found the style exhilarating, as though a cool breeze on a warm day.
Zee, unlike Gentry, took some time to grow on me. Whereas Gentry’s voice was one that immediately drew me in, Zee was one whose actions endeared me to her. Following the questionable kidnapping of her sister by dangerous white supremacists escaped from prison, her urge and desire to seek out her sister and bring her home wanted me to see her succeed. I won’t talk about how events play out, but I will say that Gentry gets his opportunity to display his chivalric spirit and skill.
Regardless of ones personal fiction tastes, Bryn Greenwood crafts a story that despite the worry and darkness, has a hint of promise seeped within.