A warrior must ally with her enemies in this vivid debut.
In the five years since her brother Iri was lost in battle against the Riki, 17-year-old Eelyn and her best friend, Mýra, have become fierce Aska warriors, eager for revenge. Unlike the terrifying, unpredictable Herja raids, the fighting season repeatedly pitches the mountain-dwelling, Thora-worshipping Riki against the fjord-settling, Sigr-worshipping Aska. Distracted in battle, Eelyn is captured by the Riki and is taken as a dýr (slave). Violent and angry, Eelyn is slow to trust and slower to show affection, yet she is a sympathetic and heart-rending protagonist. Unlike the slew of lethal (but tormented) young ladies populating young adult literature, Eelyn is an unapologetic warrior, mercifully neither anachronistic nor modern-minded. Although the era and location are not specified, the language, rugged geography, weapons, and religion suggest a pre-Christian Nordic world and white characters. Action and aftermath are graphic and brutal, anchored in rich details. Young’s staccato prose matches her fierce fighters, but the raw emotions and rapid pacing belie a well-honed voice and taut narrative.
A rousing saga and moving coming-of-age tale, perfect for those who appreciate the wild and the wildlings, strong female protagonists, and cinematic battles. (Historical fantasy. 14-adult)