Memories streamed through him: blood and fire and the helpless shrieks of mortal suffering. “There is no love, Vidar,” his father had said. “There is only fate.” Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful book! So far, I’ve only read two books that are based on or have Norse mythology incorporated into them and I’ve adored them both. The thing that has always intrigued me about any type of mythology is that not everyone gets a happy ending. I’d like to take a moment to say that I’m not against happy endings because, let’s face it, sometimes we need them. Sometimes I like reading stories where everyone lives happily ever after except for the villain who has gotten his comeuppance in a very satisfying way. But most of the time I’m a sucker for a tragic character. And boy, there are some tragic characters in this book. Nutshell blurb: Vidar, the son of Odin, has been waiting a thousand years for the soul of his beloved to be reincarnated. Unfortunately, he has some daddy issues. Odin was the one who murdered her and would do so again if he found out that she had been reborn and that Vidar was anywhere near her. This is a love story or perhaps a story about how powerful love is. ‘Wait, Buffy,’ you might be saying. ‘I thought you didn’t like romantic stories.’ In which case I would have to clarify my definitions of love vs romance stories. In my mind (and it could be different for you) a romance story focuses on the two star-crossed characters. There’s a lot of will they, won’t they even though you totally know that they will. There’s also a lot of sexy-time and something like 50 different words for a man’s winkle. For me, a love story is part of a larger story and doesn’t hinge on whether the two people get together. There might be some out and out sexy-time or it might be implied but it’s part of a larger story. Perhaps that’s a bit simplistic, but that’s how it works in my brain. So, let’s start with Vidar. Could you imagine a man patient enough to wait 1000 years for you to be reincarnated? He’s angry and disillusioned by his family, particularly his father and just wants to spend a lifetime with the love of his life, which isn’t really a long time considering that he’s from Asgard and she’s a mortal from Midgard. So, what’s the problem, Odin? The problem is that his entire family think that he’s weak because he was an exceptional warrior who fell in love and decided not to kill people any more. They’re the worst type of meddling family members. Vidar decides to go off into the forest and live in a cabin away from all of them just to get some peace and quiet from them. The thing that’s so tragic about him is that he knows deep in his heart that even though she’s been reincarnated they can never be together yet they both try to escape their fate. Fan-girl interlude: I’d like to take this moment to say that if you love the Chris Hemsworth version of Thor from the movies (as I do because he’s super dreamy) you’ll have to try to not imagine him as the Thor in this book. Because this Thor is kind of a douchebag. And by ‘kind of’ I mean ‘seriously, really and a lot of’. Now, please keep in mind that I haven’t actually read any Norse mythology as of yet so I don’t know what Thor is actually meant to be like, so don’t you go ruining it for me. I try not to fan-girl too much so indulge me, k? Thanks.
*Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh* Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, tragic characters. Next up we’ve got Victoria the reincarnated lover. She’s a meteorologist doing research on Othinsey aka Odin’s Island. She’s got a lot of first world problems. She views her mom as a bit of an nutcase who consults psychics and she frequently becomes frustrated with her because Victoria’s a scientist who doesn’t believe in superstition and other such things. She can’t hold down a decent relationship and has gone to this Norwegian island in an effort to avoid relationships, yet she finds that she’s the object of attraction/affection to a couple of people on the island. She just wants to be left alone. Then she meets Vidar and had to rethink everything that she believed. I think that my favourite tragic character is Aud. She’s a princess who is a bondmaid to the Aesir because she made a deal with the Norns who weave the fates of everyone. She must serve the Aesir for 1000 years. During her servitude, she falls in love with Vidar who obviously can’t love her because he’s in love with Victoria. I liked her the most because she wasn’t bitchy or spiteful about her situation even though she couldn’t have her way. She struggled through the entire book and it just seemed like she couldn’t catch a break. I really felt for her and felt like I could relate to her. She wasn’t perfect and she made some bad decisions but she accepted that she had to serve her 1000 years and just got on with it. My one criticism of this story is that I felt that the ending was rushed. Or maybe I was rushed when I read it. You see, I usually leave books at home when I have 100 pages or less to read because the last 100 pages or so is when it all hits the fan and I don’t want to be interrupted by things like getting off of trains and having to start work. I was so close to the end and I thought that I could finish it on the train. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much sleep the night before and I kept dozing off during my commute. I got off of the train with something like 15 pages left to read. I should have sat down on a bench at the station and finished it, but I didn’t. (Don’t worry, it wouldn’t have made me late for work. I got there pretty early.) I ended up finishing it during my lunch hour which meant that I picked it up in the middle of an action scene. First world problems, my friends. Anyway, this is a book I’ll reread one day and then I’ll get a better sense of whether or not the ending was rushed or if it was just me. I think that this book would have made me cry if I hadn’t been interrupted. It certainly took my breath away.