Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley through NetGalley.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got an eARC of this book through NetGalley(dot)com. This a wonderful historical fantasy about a young girl trying to find where she fits against insurrmoutable odds. It reminds me a bit of Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown, Tamora Pierce’s books or Shannon Hale’s books. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t realize that this was the sequel to The Coming of the Dragon; the book stands well on its own but I really want to go back now and read The Coming of the Dragon (which is about the King of the neighboring kingdom Hild travels to).
Sixteen year old Hild is trying to step up and take on her responsibilities as a high ranking woman in a Norse Viking-like society. She is hoping she can offset the violent advice of the kings adviser and advise more political and less bloody solutions. When a strange intuition drives Hild to kill a visiting noble in an effort to save the life of the king’s son, Hild expects the King to be grateful. She is stunned when she is accused of witchcraft and exiled to an enemy kingdom. She is sent their as a Peaceweaver, but knows that the King is planning war despite his offering of Hild to the enemy as a peace offering. Hild must do the best she can against not only the enemy and her home King, but also the dark monsters that haunt the woods.
I loved the historical fantasy setting of this book. It has a very Viking like/Norse feel to it. There is definitely some magic woven into the story; Hild is far-sighted and can predict certain events ahead of time…there are also mysterious dark creatures that haunt the forest Hild travels through. I enjoyed the setting a lot.
Hild is a wonderful character; she is fairly feminine and has many doubts and even moments of selfishness. Still she when push comes to shove she has a core of iron and is much tougher than she first seems. I enjoyed how realistic she was and enjoyed how she fought her self-doubt and really did what needed to be done.
The surrouding characters are equally realistic but not quite as well developed as Hild. The King of the neighboring kingdom has potential, but we never got to really know him well (probably because the first book in this series was all about him and I didn’t read that one). There was also potential here for a wonderfully romantic romance between Hild and the enemy King, but that never really happens. In fact the book ends rather abruptly.
That is my only complaint about this book; just as the story is getting really good it quickly wraps up and ends. It made me sigh in frustration, we were just getting to the point where things we getting really awesome and the story ends! It doesn’t end like there will be a sequel, it ends like the author needed to get it done and wrap things up as quick as possible.
Despite the hurried ending, the story is beautifully written and absolutely enchanting. I loved reading it and loved reading about Hild. I loved the characters and the Norse-like setting.
Overall this is a magical read and a very well done historical fantasy. I loved the beautiful writing and settings, and Hild was a wonderful heroine who was very realistic and easy to relate to. The only thing that I didn’t like was the ending which was incredibly hurried and quickly wrapped up, it really didn’t do the story justice. Still, it is a very good historical fantasy. I highly recommend to fans of historical fantasy; espeically those who love McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown, Shannon Hale or Tamora Pierce.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 150+ Books Reading Challenge