Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
This is the fourth book I've read by Miss Jensen and once again she doesn't disappoint, if anything this is now my favourite of her novels and it blew me away with it's plot, mystery and romance. Set in a time when Vikings were exploring new places and with Norse legend throughout this is one book you don't want to miss. I will also mention that this is a loose sequel to Daughter of Fire and Ice as the main character is the daughter of the main characters of Daughter of Fire and Ice. You can read this as a stand alone, but be wary of this if you plan to read Daughter of Fire and Ice.
Breaking in a young colt so that it can be ridden and helping out her mother in her healing duties, Sigrun is eagerly awaiting the return of her father from sea, along with her childhood friend Ingvar and his family. The joy of both families return, however, is short lived as because of a long kept secret by her father, Sigrun is forced to leave her home in Iceland along with her brother and father, leaving behind her mother and the blossoming relationship between her and Ingvar. As a parting gift, Sigrun is given an amulet which appears give her powerful gifts, but is it enough to help her and her father in their exile?
As far as story lines go this is one twisting and adventurous one as Sigrun and her group sail from Iceland to Jorvik with only a few supplies and some money. I loved how realistically this is written and it was very easy to picture the dangerous seas, cruel slave trade and the oh so stubborn pride of men.
Jorvik itself was busy and very different from the Iceland that Sigrun left and it was amusing to read about her outrage at certain practices (such as the use of toilet facilities lol) and I can relate in some way to that bewildering sense of being in a new place. To put it bluntly, it's scary, no matter how far you travel.
Having said that, this book is not just about different places but also about finding change within yourself, and that Sigrun clearly does. It was wonderful watching her grow in so many different ways and coming into herself in a way that would not have been possible had she stayed in Iceland.
As well as all that, there's also a lot of mystery and suspense, which I won't spoil in my review but it involves romance, a woman and a lot of intrigue. There's also a lot of plotting and scheming and I absolutely love that in a book, I like to guess who the bad person is, even if I do nearly always guess wrong.
Perhaps one of the issues I had the strongest opinion on was the whole argument about honour, shame and revenge and clearly Sigrun agrees with me, though I won't say anymore as it would spoil it, but you'll understand once you read it.
As for the slave trade? Well don't get me started on that, I could go on for hours!
In a nutshell. this is a brilliant and romantic book and if you don't love the ending then I'll be very surprised. I can't wait to read Marie's next book; The Girl in the Mask which is due for release in March 2012.
If you haven't read any of Marie's books yet and you love Historical fiction with some romance then give them a go.
On a personal note, I will confess to singing Leaves' Eyes songs in my head while reading this pretty much every time a Norse god was mentioned or the word Viking or, well, pretty much the whole book. What can I say? It's not a far stretch! If you listen to Leaves' Eyes, you'll get what I mean :-)