My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Tales about Vikings seems to be the new trend in storytelling, which could have worked against this novel but Adrienne Young did such a wonderful job that I’m in love. I wasn’t aware how much I needed a strong, fierce Viking heroine until I met Eelyn. She walked the line between being a trained warrior who would do whatever it took to survive and being a teenaged girl who wasn’t entirely sure about her place in the world. I felt that her development over the course of the novel added to her humanity and made her a relatable character when she might not have been otherwise.
The book immediately jumps into the action, throwing us into a battle between the Aska, Eelyn’s clan, and the Riki, their rivals. It is a battle that rages every five years, with nothing but bloodshed and death at the end of it all. The entire book is not that violent and frenetic, but there are repeated aspects of it which move the plot along. I felt that the pacing was good and only slowed down a little too much a few times, overall it was engaging and enjoyable.
Even though I enjoyed Eelyn as a character, I actually loved the secondary characters more. It was so nice to see the family dynamic in this book. They were loving and supportive, yet protective and each family member had a developed personality. I formed a connection with every character and I wanted them to be my Viking clansmen (and family). Although I enjoyed the ship in this book, there was actually another completely unrepresented ship in this book that I need to happen instead (even though this is a standalone). I didn’t find the romance to be distracting in this book, although it was a little trope-y.
The world building was fantastic. I felt like I knew these clansmen, their gods and their land so well and I wish there was an entire series set in this world so that I could learn more about it. It was original, the characters were all well-developed, the world was vibrant and I loved every minute of this book.