When the skies above the island of Skane glow red, the Goddess is sending a warning of plague. The plague last ravaged the population seventeen years ago when Ósa was in her mother’s womb. Her mother died that year and her father has never forgiven her. Now the island faces the plague as well as another threat and Ósa needs answers to help save her people.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed about the lack of plague. Instead it’s more of a quest, as Ósa must survive harsh weather, avoid being eaten by giants and communicate with people she once saw as lesser as she journeys into the mountains. There is some beautiful evocative writing in this Nordic inspired folk-lore style story. I could imagine this taking place on Svalbard.
It’s quite light on romance, Ósa is by herself for much of the story, with her childhood friend Ivar back at home fighting off the enemy from their people’s past. Because I listened on audiobook, I’m not sure what they were called but their name was a bit like orc and therefore I imagined them as such and it’s not a bad comparison. They are brutal and the people of Skane stand little chance of surviving.
It is a bit slow to get going and I’d picked this up for the plague aspect so it wasn’t really what I was expecting. I found the relationship with her father and sister irritating. It was repeatedly stressed how much her father blamed her for her mother’s death and it’s kind of a horrible thing that happens in fiction a lot, but in reality most fathers would try to love the child, at the very least out of respect for the woman they lost.
I disliked the breathy, girlish voice Charlie Sanderson uses for Ósa, which was the bulk of the narration. Occasionally it is in third person to follow Ivar and that was much better but still felt a little childish. I would hesitate to listen to other books narrated by her, I’d at least have to listen to sample first. It’s quite softly spoken apart from now and then a character will shout and this isn’t pleasant if you’ve turned up the volume and are listening with headphones.
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 24. A book with a weather element in the title
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