After her sister is murdered, a grieving girl is pulled into a life-or-death game between Norse gods.
Lena Freding thought her biggest problems were keeping her village from revolting against her family while her father, Chief Fredrik, neglected his duties and helping her younger sister, Fressa, gain approval for her engagement to Amal. Upon his return from a long journey, Fredrik presents Fressa with an unassuming blade that, in her hands, becomes something otherworldly, setting off a chain of events that just might break Lena. After it is revealed that their parents actually intend Lena and Amal to marry, Fressa runs off into the woods only for Lena to find her dead soon after. Grieving Lena’s search for answers leads her to the goddess of death, Hela, and a bargain: a soul for a soul. But Lena questions how far she will go to bring back her sister. While preventing Ragnarok—the beginning of the end of the world—she must also delay her marriage to Amal. Lena's melancholy brooding over her inaction weighs the story down, and the flat characterization of most secondary characters and inconsistent pacing also detract from the reader’s experience. The Viking-era setting clashes with the characters’ modern speech patterns. All characters seem to be white, and there are veiled hints about Lena’s bisexuality.
A middling fantasy. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 14-18)