This book had a lot of potential, but it needed a lot more spit and polish to make it shine. The plot and general idea of the book appealed to me a lot; I love fantasy stories like this. New worlds, high magic, poor farmboys girls finding out they have awesome powers, princesses, political machinations, intrigue, AWESOME! It's the kind of story that has very familiar bones, but you don't care because the rest of the dressing can be made interesting in a million different ways. The dressing in Sworn to Raise, however, was a bit sloppy.The setting felt cobbled together, with a lot of things sticking out of place. There were modern amenities (like keypad locks and video phones) that were handwaved away as being powered by magic, which is fine, but they still looked and functioned as normal keypads and phones. In a pseudo-Medieval world, so many of these things just felt lazy and awkward. They didn't fit in the world, and there was very little attempt made to disguise them. Other things were too-clearly "inspired" by other iconic fantasy books, or borrowed from real-world cultures that were different enough to seem awkward when thrown together.A lot of things weren't explained well enough to avoid confusion and plot holes. The basic gist is good -- Ciardis gets picked to go to magic companion school and learn how to be, basically, a courtier -- but when that process was described, I became very confused about the order of events that was supposed to go on. She has to...train, and then get a patron, and then train more? Maybe? The exposition was stretched out over many short conversations and contradicted itself a few times, which made things really hard to follow.The characters were alright, but glanced over and summarized with far too much telling. An entire rivalry between two characters was shortened so much that, when they were in the same room together, we didn't get a single line of dialogue between them. Just "they bickered until forced to stop." Bickered how? What did they say?The book had a king in charge of an empire. Just straight-up fail there. A few more weird mistakes like that should have been caught early on by an editor and weren't.On the whole, it had potential, but it just didn't hold my interest enough to make me forget about the problems it had.