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Repetitious, Emotionally Overwrought Tale

When I read the first book of the series, Leif, I actually asked the author if she was going to do a book about Freya because I so enjoyed her character in her brother’s book. I was thrilled to see this novel listed at one of my favorite book reviewer sites. Unfortunately, I am disappointed in this book, though I do I seem to be in the minority. We do know from the last book that Freya is a brave and strong shieldmaiden, but in this book—while we do see some of that—that is overshadowed by her mercurial emotional states.

I found this book to be very repetitious. Freya and Erik seemed to repeat their mental and emotional meanderings both verbally and in thought, and the substance of these rarely changed as the book progressed. They both seem to have crazy jealousy that doesn’t make sense in the first part because they don’t yet mean anything to each other. I rolled my eyes at how many times each described or was caught up in the gorgeousness of the other or reflected on how much every member of the opposite sex desired the other. In other descriptions, too, everything about them is superlative to the other: fiercest, biggest, etc. Really… please.

Erik seems to be smitten right from the start, and he just seems over-the-top, deeply in love in a way that just seems unbelievable from what happened in the last book and what is happening this book. Can he truly love a woman whom he doesn’t really know (in part because she rebuffs him all the time)? Especially to the extent that he either thinks or states. He is willing to take whatever Freya is willing to offer, and he is supports her positions and decisions that have to do with the greater story and series arc.

Freya pulls away for several reasons, including the fear that her warriors will respect her less and the fear that Erik will move on once he has satisfied himself physically with her. (Both of these fears come up repeatedly, even when they initially appear to be resolved.) Given that Freya has been led her father’s warriors and battled at their side for some time, it just seems strange to me that respect would be a concern that would keep her from Erik. Over the years, shouldn’t she have garnered their respect, no matter what man interests her? I also found Freya’s character to be a little too spiky emotionally; it seemed like any little thing could set her off, and she always interpreted what Erik said wrong.

There is quite a bit of head hopping in this book. Sometimes, it happens within a paragraph or alternating paragraphs. Sometimes, too, the narrator shifts briefly to the omniscient perspective. There are some issues with punctuation (commas), grammar, and word choice/spelling (e.g., whether for weather); hopefully, this was cleared up before publication, as I did receive an ARC copy. I didn’t feel like the plot was well-balanced. For at least half the book, even though they were on a scouting raid, the focus was on the emotional turmoil of the romance. I would have liked to have seen that balanced out better with the plot about Hakin and Inga.