This book continuously surprised me with its twists and turns, and is a fantastic world full of Norse myths, magic, and strong women.
Astrid the White isn’t an average princess. She has always stayed by the side of her father, King Kol, and learned warfare and weaponry from the best Vikings in the land. When she awakens in the city of Birka and hears the sounds of war, she rushes proudly into the fray. She is more than capable of taking down any enemy wishing to disturb the peace.
This enemy, however, isn’t what she expected. Before Astrid even gets outside the walls, a golden light knocks her out.
She comes to in the snow, in full battle armor. Astrid first suspects that this is a challenge from her father—or even the gods themselves. By acting correctly, she can gain the favor of Odin, the Allfather.
Astrid wants to complete the test, but it becomes more and more difficult as she explores this new part of the world and encounters both monsters and monstrous men. As creatures from the darkest legends reveal themselves, Astrid will discover that her journey isn’t about acting correctly or passing Odin’s test. It’s about pure survival. Before she can even think about finding Birka, she will have to defend herself against the demons of this new world.
Series: The Blood, Sun, and Moon, #1
Age: 18 years and up
Review: 3.5 butterflies
This author always has books that make me step out of my comfort zone. Normally, this isn’t the kind of book I go for. However, this author makes it so that the book is so interesting that it doesn’t even matter. The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women is no different. There were many different twists and turns within this book that I never knew what to expect.
It starts out with Astrid being awoken by her sister, Yrsa, because there is a battle where they were sleeping. Astrid gets up, goes out to fight, and then passes out. When she wakes up, she’s in a completely different place, dressed completely differently, and nothing is what it’s supposed to be. Astrid thinks that the gods are testing her but she doesn’t know who to trust.
I spent most of the first half of the book completely confused along with Astrid, wondering what was happening, why she was where she was, and if she should trust Warren, the handsome man. I figure that was the author’s point—to make us just as confused as Astrid—but it was still slightly off-putting not knowing what was true and what was false.
One thing that was definitely difficult for me was the slow pace throughout the beginning. Because there was so much background building, it made for a slow plot. However, once that was done and the story was set, the action could take off—and take off it did!
Warren, Astrid’s love interest, is kind and sweet. Sometimes I doubted that he was truthful because of how kind he was. I got myself into Astrid’s mindset—does he truly mean it, or does he have some sinister plot? However, I did feel like sometimes Astrid and Warren got a bit too close too quickly. There wasn’t much buildup with them, it was just BAM! Instantaneous attraction.
Many of the secondary characters in this book weren’t as fleshed out as I’d like them to be, especially because they seemed interesting. Take Yrsa, for example. She seems interesting, but we don’t really see her much until the second half of the book. Even then, she isn’t really fleshed out. And Yrsa is supposed to be a strong Viking woman, and spends most of the time seeming… meek. However, I didn’t really mind, especially since this is meant to be a series. I feel like the fleshing out of other characters will be done throughout the next books in the series.
Emmerich, however, didn’t need more fleshing out. He was the vilest person in this book, and I thoroughly hated him. Just when I thought that maybe he was okay—nope never mind, he’s still an asshole. I really loved how the author was able to make this character so hate-able. That’s definitely a skill that most authors haven’t honed, but Breaux most definitely has.
I applaud Kevin Breaux for being able to write characters that I fully empathize with. He has definitely created a unique world with an interesting spin on Norse Mythology. I really enjoyed the world-building throughout this book, and am looking forward to the next books in the series. I recommend this book to people who don’t mind gore and love unique takes on mythology, surprising events, and strong women.
Also! There’s a giveaway for this book on Goodreads!