OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
Maybe 4.5 crowns but totally five, but I don’t even care any more because this was GOOD. I repeat, REALLY GOOD (wait, I didn’t have the really in the first one so it’s not really repeating but oh well – THIS WAS JUST GOOD).
This was meant to just be the light reading I was doing on the side on my lunch hour when I was trying not to get yogurt all over my physical books, but it became all consuming for the past few days. This story wraps you up in its fantastic writing, fantastic characterization, intriguing plots, and just a feeling of such relatable-ness (lol, neither of those are even words) that I felt such a connection to it even these are, like, Viking peeps from forever ago?? IT WAS JUST SO GOOD.
Where to even start with this one? I absolutely adored our main character. She was strong, ferocious, and totally fierce; however she had so much heart and passion and love. She was so dynamic, and the evolution that she goes on was beautiful and fantastic to watch. She is sooooooooo easy to relate to and feel a connection with. I FELT her pain dealing with her brother. I agreed with all of her feelings and just adored reading her thoughts and her feels. She is definitely my favorite heroine that I’ve read all year so far, and 2018 is going to have a hard time giving me a better heroine.
I loved so many of the side characters as well. Iri was complicated and had such depth to his character, I lovedddddddddddddddd Harvard and a certain brooding man (SO. MANY. HEART. EYES.) Inge, Runa, Myra, and the Tala were fantastic, strong women role models that had dimension and were so easily likeable (lol, maybe not the Tala). Eelyn’s father was great as well.
I absolutely loveddddddddddddddd the ship, too. For some odd reason, I haven’t been feeling my feels lately. Like, I haven’t been invested in any ship or love or feels or fluff or swoons. Maybe because I’ve been reading so much Percy Jackson that it kind of feels weird to ship 13 year olds and it hasn’t translated to my other books? However, this book officially got back into my swoony feels. I lived for their scenes – when I wasn’t so invested into the other aspects of the book, I mean. This book didn’t need a romance, but I desperately wanted it and it was just so well done that it was like getting your ice cream all decked out and then getting that perfect amazing cherry on top (lol, apparently I’m making ice cream metaphors now – good to know??). UGH. THE FEELS. I HAD SO MANY FEELS. They just mutually respected each other and loved each other for who they were and didn’t try to tame one each other’s desires/cares/etc. The love interest never tried to dim Eelyn’s spirit – which I was super scared about because I was like, eh, Viking men might be a little alpha dog there – and he was just so so so great with her. I’M JUST CRYING OVER HERE – OKAY, IT MIGHT BE MY MASCARA CAUGHT IN MY EYE BUT MAYBE IT’S THE SHIP TOO. (Okay, p.s. it might have been a little abrupt of a switch at one point, but it was very slow burn and not instalove at all. It just might have switched a little too quickly at one point, but it did come very organically and it was well done.)
The writing was just fantastic as well. Again, I don’t know how this is a debut. There is no way it is. It was so easy to read, beautifully written, and all of the aspects were done quite well. I was kept enraptured once I got into the world a bit more. I’ll be adding all of Young’s future books onto my TBR instantly.
As I said, I did have a few minor gripes with it. So much of the book was so well paced, but there were a few things that might have gone a little too fast for me at some points. But they were minor and don’t really matter to much with how much love and enjoyment I had for this book.
The plot was intriguing as well. A lot of the book is a lot of internal struggle until we get to the big external struggle and then things get tense and twisty and turny and just all fun and excitement and crazy goodness. I was hooked and counting down the minutes until I could get back to the book.
Overall, this was such a fantastic read. You definitely need to get this on your 2018 TBR and move it way up to the top. This is YA fiction done so so right – fantastic, easy writing; in depth characterization with such a great MC and cast of characters; a fantastic ship that might not have been needed since the plot was so enrapturing BUT I STILL LOVED IT DEARLY; and so much more. I might have had a few tiny gripes with the pacing of a few things, but they really don’t matter too much in the long run. A book hasn’t gotten me this excited in a long time, and I can’t quite decide if it’s a favorite or not (because we all know my favorites is a mess since I’m a book hipster and have to have like less than 4o on there or we go to book hell in a hand basket) but this is such a contender. More thoughts in the days to come with that. 5 crowns and a Tiana rating for the moment!
What do you think? What was the last great read that you read? Do you know right away it’s a favorite or not? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
UN Human Right #15
15. Right to a Nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.
I don’t think there is a better example for this one! These two clans were fighting against each other because it’s just what their nationalities said they were supposed to do. Both clans were both so passionate about their heritage, and it led to a lot of issues for our main heroine. However, I think they all learned that you can have your nationality (and go hard for your peeps), but you should respect others’ nationalities as well since they are people. And people are important. I feel like Tiana is patting me on the back for that try at deepness.
Join Book Princess Reviews in the April #30daysofHumanRightsBPR Blog Challenge! Participate with blog posts inspired by the UN Human Rights or Insta/Twitter pics and quotes w/ human rights themes. Find out more here!