MY ⭐️ RATING: 3.75/5
FORMAT: Kindle Whispersync
A lost girl and a blind boy discover their greatest strength is their bond with each other in a beguiling fantasy by the New York Times bestselling author of The First Girl Child.
An insidious curse is weakening
the Norse kingdom of Saylok, where no daughters have been born in years. Washing up on these plagued shores is Ghisla, an orphaned stowaway nursed back to health by a blind cave dweller. Named for a mysterious god, the boy, Hod, is surrounded by prophecy. To Ghisla, he's a cherished new friend. To Hod, the girl is even more so. For when Ghisla sings, Hod can see.
Unable to offer safe shelter, Hod urges Ghisla onward to become a daughter of the temple, where all the kingdom's girl children have been gathered. But because of a magical rune, the two cannot be separated, no matter the time or the distance.
Now, subject to a ruthless king, Ghisla enters a desperate world of warring clan chieftains and catastrophic power struggles. Who among them can be trusted is unknowable. So are the sacrifices Ghisla and Hod must make to defeat the cursed forces that could destroy a kingdom and the fated bond between two souls.
I read the first book of this series 2 years ago, which means that I have read 130+ books since then, and unfortunately there is no “Story so far” or a quick recap. That was before I started actually leaving good reviews, my exact review for book 1 was “Absolutely incredible! I can’t imagine anyone not loving this,” so even that couldn’t help me out. I enjoyed the story of book 1, The First Girl Child (which is free to read & listen for KU subscribers also), with its rune magic and Viking setting.
While I mentioned the “story so far” above, this does somewhat read as a standalone with tie-ins to book 1, but I suggest reading it before reading this. This was a good story, but the title is a bit misleading. As we do get the POV of a blind character, the character POV that we follow the most is Ghisla, who is not blind. I do love that the author brings characters with disabilities to life in these stories. First Bayr in book 1, who has a speech impediment, and now Baldr, who is blind. It’s good to have those types of characters, flawed, yet still strong.
“You are color. You are sound. You are the song on the wind and the hope in my heart.”
I really enjoyed the story and of course the characters, but one thing I’m not a big fan of in fantasy is romance, and I know that seems a bit odd knowing that the author is a romance author as well. It wasn’t my thing, and so I skipped over it when I could. There’s not much, but I’m just not a fan of it.
The other thing that slightly bothered me was that the narrator, Rob Shapiro, just basically refused to sing when there was a snippet of a song on the page. Tough to have a narrator not do that when a character in the book is a “songr.” Despite all that, this does end pretty well and though I’m no fan of romance in fantasy, I am still looking forward to book 3. But please, do a “story so far!”