Published by Wednesday Books on April 24, 2018
Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The King's English
Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.
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.
This is the book I didn’t know I wanted. This book was on my radar this year but I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it until my Mom sent me her copy at the end of the year. I was hooked from the very first sentence.
One of the things I really loved about this story was that it isn’t another, “daughter of the king/leader” story. It’s just about a normal girl among her people. She’s kidnapped and her overall beliefs about her enemies are challenged. When Eelyn first meets Fiske, she makes him sound like a huge mindless brute to be honest. It’s really interesting to me that as the story progresses he in particular becomes a more well-defined character in accordance to Eelyn’s own changing views.
The thing that probably surprised me the most about this book was the fact that it made me cry. Multiple times. I didn’t expect to be so connected to Eelyn’s struggle, but her heartache really bled through the pages and through the short responses she often gave to other characters. You could feel her loss and see the loss of those around her.
The greatest thing about this book though was how effortlessly, Young seems to have painted this world. I was instantly enveloped in it and it felt rich, as if these characters and their people had existed for a long time. It was easy to just fall into this world and I’m really glad that there is going to be another book set in the same world.
All in all, if you haven’t yet read this book, do it. It’s a fast but wonderful read.