Title: Oath of Servitude (The Punishment Sequence #1)
Author: C.E. Wilson
Released: September 2012
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I first saw this I was somewhat hesitant, for several reasons. Yet I have to admit my curiosity was also peaked when I saw that Wilson's plot centred around a foot tall pixie and a normal-sized guy. Naturally the curiousity won out and, while it's let me down more times than I can count, this time it lead me to an enjoyable read.
Cailin is angry when she finds out that she is being sent to live with two humans for a year - this as punishment for breaking a few rules. She must serve an Oath of Servitude, and her task is to help the human child; while 20 is considered more adult from a human's point of view, compared to a pixie's lifespan it's nothing. She doesn't even know what she's supposed to do. An accident in a game of baseball cost him his sight and now he spends his days in drunken isolation, neither his father nor his friends unable to get through to him. However, after meeting Teague, her feelings begin to change, both about humans in general and Teague specifically. At the same time trouble is brewing back home, threatening the stability of her family.
Cailin is, to coin Teague's phrase, 'spunky'. She's not one for backing down; she'll say what's on her mind and she's not afraid to have a go at Teague. Everone's tiptoeing around him may be what he wants but she's not about to give in. Hers is quite a singular image to have in mind: pink hair dyed red (I guess pink hair just isn't cool enough for this pixie), pink eyes and one foot tall. It was definitely interesting to see humans and our world from her perspective. With her initial anger came fear, something that took time to get over, and her struggle to overcome it came across clearly.
Something I would have liked to see is more world-building in terms of where the pixies actually lived; the book mentioned they were in the forest, but then they each had their own room, they were in an actual constructed setting. I wanted a clearer image of these two separate worlds: pixie and human. I also wanted to know more about the Darkness, a form of punishment that effectively costs pixies their minds. The opening of the book, and also the end, became very repetitive because the horror of the Darkness was always referred to yet never actually explained.
The main question for me right from the start was: how could a relationship between a six-foot tall guy (or thereabouts) and a one-foot tall pixie possibly work? Surprisingly, it did. Their relationship, as far as Cailin and Teague's fathers were concerned, was only supposed to go as far as Cailin helping Teague get his life back on track. And she definitely helped him do that.. Being blind meant he was not prejudiced by sight and even when he found out the truth he didn't completely lose it. It was sweet to see him listen to Cailin and grow to respect her, and see her just be there for him and make him understand what he was doing to himself. Her role transformed from unwilling helper, to a friend who genuinely cared, to someone who wanted to be with him but saw no way of it being possible under the circumstances. Teague and his father Owen also have more to their stories than is let on, although Owen is the one holding the secrets.
Despite this appearing somewhat unpromising, I did really enjoy Oath of Servitude. I haven't read a pixie book in ages and this one definitely kept me entertained. It was admittedly a little frustrating - so much was alluded to but never explained. I'm hoping that there'll be some well-explained answers in the sequel. Still, I'm glad I gave this one a chance.