“OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.”
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!
First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.
Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars
Favorite Character: Fiske
Spoiler Free: I was so happy when I saw I was approved for this book on NetGalley! I’d been hearing quite a lot about it, and seeing it all over instagram, so I was thoroughly hyped!
Overall, it ended up being a phenomenal story, and I absolutely love the world and characters the author created! I was hooked for most of the story, and the end thoroughly wrapped everything up. But this was not just a simple story about vikings and war, but ended up holding quite an emotional story. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but this story is just as much about understanding and learning to accept one another as it is about fighting.
My main qualms with the story have to do with the beginning and the synopsis. First off, I felt the beginning was rather chaotic, as we are both thrown into a brand new world with tons of characters, and thrown into battle within the first chapter. It ended up being hard to follow both, and I ended up having to focus more of my attention on learning how characters aligned to each other and why they were fighting rather than the fight itself. Additionally, the synopsis for this story wasn’t done in the best way. It reveals event that don’t happen until 50%-60% of the story, and seems to spoil the entire story arc almost. This ended up leading to a story where I kinda already knew most of what was going to happen.
Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed the story, especially the last 40%. In that last 40%, I ended up really connecting with the MC and her love interest, and my worry over them added to the suspense of the final parts of the book. Additionally, I love how well-rounded the ending was, while still giving the reader space to think and wonder what will happen in the future. It didn’t just abruptly end after the final battle was fought, but rather worked to describe the aftermath, which was just as big a part of the plot as the enemy they had to fight.
Lastly, while I did admittedly feel detached from characters at first, which was most likely due to our MC needing time to connect with the side characters as well, I did end up loving almost all of them, especially Eelyn and Fiske. The characters were all solid, and the morals they held close to them weren’t lost just because they fell in love/made a new friend/etc. It felt realistic, and the emotional problems they went through all molded well with the physical plot.
In the end, I do highly recommend for all you guys to check out this book when it comes out in April! (I’ll still be picking it up myself, I need that gorgeous cover on my shelf!)