A viking-inspired world? Epic, well-written battle scenes? Characters that break from any mold? Yes, please!
I loved this book! It follows Eelyn, a hardcore warrior. Her clan, the Aska, have a long-standing feud with the Riki clan. The first chapter of the book opens on a heated battle, which I loved. The author assumed the reader is smart enough to pick up on details and information as the story progresses, instead of throwing a long-winded explanation in at the very beginning.
During the battle, Eelyn learns that not only is her brother- whom everyone thought died five years ago- alive, but he’s fighting for the enemy. Reeling from the betrayal, Eelyn ends up being captured by the Riki in the next battle. As she is among them, she begins to question her assumptions. Eventually, she has to decide whether to work with the Riki to help defeat a more powerful enemy, or face the destruction of both clans.
While the battle scenes are incredible, the characters are what really stood out to me. They all develop naturally, and are written with such emotion that the book kept me riveted. I also liked that in Eelyn’s culture, women are seen as equals. She didn’t have to sneak out in disguise, or argue for an opportunity to fight with the warriors; it was just assumed that she would.
Another plus was the lack of overtly saccharine romance. While there is a relationship, it develops over time, and is much more natural feeling. I ended up really enjoying this book. It’s one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in quite a while.