Extreme Violence and Hatred
I have read this entire book series. While I quite enjoyed the first book about Leif and Sigrid, I have had varying opinions of the ones that followed. I had trouble with this book on several levels. I just didn’t understand the extreme hatred that all of Ivar’s tribe, except for a few, seemed to have for the heroine. Gressa grew up among them and was even treated like a daughter by the jarl. Yet on her return after being enslaved by captors for ten years, they treat her terribly—as an outsider and a traitor. In fact, if you have any triggers about attempted rape, do not read this book. It just seems hard to fathom the way nearly everyone treats her. It feels like the author tried too hard to make everyone against her. I also didn’t understand the way that Gressa acted when she first arrived back, preferring to be treated like a thrall or servant instead of as her husband’s wife. It just seemed nonsensical to me.
I found this particular installment to be incredibly violent, and not just in acts of war—which may be justified—but in personal violence: man against man, woman against woman, and man against woman. It also seemed strange that Strian could murder several of his tribe without any sort of punishment, even though he was in the right to protect his wife. Another thing I found nonsensical was the stupidity of Strian and Gressa in getting caught in the middle of the book. They both knew the dangers. Why would it just happen like that? The answer is actually a simple one. It is what the author needed to happen, and therefore it was done. But that’s not the way things are supposed to be in fiction. Rather, the plot should have turned on points that were driven by the essence of the characters she created instead of plot necessity.
I also thought that the story felt fractured, like there was one story about the couple and another about the political intrigue—but that they didn’t mesh well. Obviously, I’m disappointed on several counts of this book: the violence, out-of-character, pivotal action, things that weren’t explained, and events that happened only because the plot needed them to happen (not because they grew out of character).
NOTE: After this review, the author banned me from reviewing her books on Booksprout. My review was honest and very specific even if it wasn’t unfavorable. Readers, don’t support authors who aren’t willing to accept honest reviews. Authors, don’t pump out poorly done books if you want good reviews!