In this saga inspired by the ancient tale of “Beowulf” our hero is a 17-year-old death-trader named Frey.
Silver-haired Frey is the leader of a band of Boneless Mercies, women who roam the land bringing relief to the sick and the old. Frey’s sister Mercies are greenish-blond–haired Sea Witch Juniper, markswoman Runa, and reserved, stoic Ovie. The only male, Trigve, is a healer. The life of a Mercy is uneventful; she performs her death work, gets paid, and moves on. Once a deceased Mercy passes out of living memory, she disappears into obscurity. But Frey wants more than that. She wants bards to immortalize her in song. She wants glory, and if she dies seeking it, so be it. Her chance comes when she decides to pursue the legendary Blue Vee beast, a creature that decimates entire villages. Blue Vee’s jarl (king) has lost half his warriors to the beast, but Frey is confident that she and the Mercies can bring the creature down. The monetary reward for doing so will allow them to leave Mercy-killing behind. Narrator and protagonist Frey is quite unusual among female heroes: hungry for glory—bloodthirsty, even—but still likable. These fierce, honorable adolescent female warriors hold their own and break all the rules. Marked by flawless worldbuilding—even though it’s still a man’s world—the book is set in an alternate Scandinavia and assumes a white default.
Wow. (Fantasy. 12-adult)