I’m convinced Amy Harmon is one of the only people on the planet who can encourage me to read Fantasy and make me enjoy it. This is my least favorite genre to read because I often have a hard time wrapping my mind around the funny names and things that aren’t, at least, somewhat realistic. Thankfully Amy Harmon’s characters made this story something I could sink into and enjoy.
Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.
Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.
Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.
What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.
I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite character from this story, each one is distinctive and represents a different quality I love. They seem as if they could be real people I could visit in Saylok myself, which is exactly what hoped for when starting this story. I loved how each character drew strength from the others – the men and women were equals, balancing one where the other might be weak. It was a truly beautiful representation of “two are better than one.”
I especially enjoyed the world-building, in that it wasn’t overly complicated or hard to follow for a novice Fantasy reader. Often this genre can be a lot to absorb, but this plot never felt like a burden or a struggle to get lost in. There were a few sluggish points for me, but the slow building of romance kept me engrossed and eager to see what might blossom. And that first kiss – just, swoon. I don’t think I’ve ever read a better romantic scene in any book! It was the perfect moment between the characters after years of anticipation within the story.
I also appreciated being able to grow with Alba and Bayr. This story spans several years without making me feel as if I had missed anything important during that time. Each age felt as if it was accurately represented, there was nothing awkward or out of place between Bayr and Alba. On the whole, this story shows Amy Harmon’s prowess as an author. The woman can write anything and I know I’ll enjoy it. Now I want to explore Norse Mythology and broaden my horizons a bit!
Pick up your copy next Tuesday!
Many thanks to Netgalley and 47North for a copy of this novel!
Rating: 4 stars