Thursday, October 19, 2006
Blood, and Guts and Gore! Surprisingly not a bad thing. Well, as long as it stays in the book...
Wow, is there ever a lot of Testosterone in this book!
I can honestly say that I've never read a historical novel set in medieval Denmark. Or any of those Nordic/Scandinavian/Viking lands. At least not from the point of view of the Vikings or without fantasy elements. Bloody folk, they were. The closest I think I've gotten is The Archer's Tale by Cornwell. (That book sent me on a Cornwell binge until I read the sequel which tempered my passion).
I wasn't at all convinced that this was going to be worth my time for a good 100 pages. Some of the language seemed forced and it was getting on my nerves. After that relaxed and straightened out, I just wanted to blow off work and read until I finished. Instead, thinking that would be frowned upon, I merely stayed up to 3 am. I finished the book, but only got about 3 hours of sleep. Sigh. It was totally worth it.
Halfdan is a slave. More specifically, he is the illegitimate son of a powerful chieftain, whom, while not married to his mother (also a slave) is in love with her. With this little ounce of power and the luck of fate, his mother makes a bargain that grants Halfdan his freedom, makes him nobility, and gives him tons of guilt, ethical conflicts, and a very nasty enemy.
I'm so reading the sequel.
Without letting anything go (because it really is worth the read), I applaud Judson Roberts in how he set up the next book. Most people I think would have skipped right from the funeral pyre to what Roberts has made into the second book. This was better. I was glued to it.
And yes, I will reluctantly admit that it was totally the cover that got me to pick this one up. I was halfway through the book before I even realized that it, in fact, said Viking Warrior on the cover, not Young Warrior, as my brain would have had me believe.
If you are one of those curious people who get distracted by articles in the encyclopedia, or just want to know more about those bloody Vikings, The Stongbow Saga is an informational site on the subject. Cool.
Definitely give this to fans of The Ranger's Apprentice (then maybe throw The Archer's Tale at them). 14+ what with the violence, though a desensitized 12 yr. old would love it.