Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
An insidious curse is weakening the Norse kingdom of Saylok, where no daughters have been born in years. Washing up on these plagued shores is Ghisla, an orphaned stowaway nursed back to health by a blind cave dweller. Named for a mysterious god, the boy, Hod, is surrounded by prophecy. To Ghisla, he’s a cherished new friend. To Hod, the girl is even more so. For when Ghisla sings, Hod can see.
Unable to offer safe shelter, Hod urges Ghisla onward to become a daughter of the temple, where all the kingdom’s girl children have been gathered. But because of a magical rune, the two cannot be separated, no matter the time or the distance.
Now, subject to a ruthless king, Ghisla enters a desperate world of warring clan chieftains and catastrophic power struggles. Who among them can be trusted is unknowable. So are the sacrifices Ghisla and Hod must make to defeat the cursed forces that could destroy a kingdom and the fated bond between two souls.
A lost girl and a blind boy discover their greatest strength is their bond with each other in a beguiling fantasy by the New York Times bestselling author of The First Girl Child.
I’m sure I mention this every time, but it needs to be said. Amy Harmon is eternally one of my all time favorite authors and I auto-buy everything she writes. I was giddy to get more stories from Saylok and I devoured this book. It’s fantastic on audio if you’re interested in that format!!
I LOVED the story between Hod and Ghisla. Young teens who met and then their story took off in all sorts of new directions. The pacing of the aging is great. I didn’t feel too much time was spent in any one age group as they got older and the tension between them only became thicker. It was all so incredibly romantic and tender. I’m still swooning over Hod. It’s one of those epic love stories.
One minor aspect I didn’t love was how much of the first book, The First Girl Child, was written alongside. There’s a LOT of Bayr and Alba’s love story too. It wasn’t bad, I was just hoping for more of an entire focus on Hod and Ghisla. I didn’t love moving back and forth between the stories (Even though the narrators are always Hod or Ghisla).
The mythology and Viking aspects make the setting come alive. Along with Harmon’s writing that is always gorgeous and enchanting you forget the characters aren’t real. Being transported back to Saylok is the exact kind of escape I look for in a fantasy.
Absolutely another win for Harmon and I will be waiting for her next book!!
Overall audience notes:
- Fantasy romance
- Language: very little
- Romance: kisses to brief open door, and some closed door scenes
- Violence: war scenes, physical altercations, murder
- Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual assault, loss of parents, ableism, bullying