Ninth century Norway, the dawn of the Viking era, — a land shattered into thirty warring kingdoms. A woman could seize power, if she was bold enough.
Daughter of a Norse king, fifteen-year-old Åsa dreams of becoming a shield-maiden. When she spurns a powerful warlord, he rains hellfire on her family, slaughtering her father and brother and taking her captive. To protect her people, Åsa must wed her father’s killer. To take vengeance, she must become his queen.
My Rating: * * *
This is the lightly based story of Asa, a real queen of 9th century Norway. To me the story was about female strength and empowerment mixed with Norse mythology.
The world building was very good, but I was not captured by the characters right away. The battle scenes were also very well written.
Asa has always wanted to be a Shield Maiden and marriage was never highly regarded by her. Hence when a king from her fathers past asks for her hand her answer is a very strong no. The kings son Olaf who comes to represent his father in the suit is instantly attracted to Asa, and she to him.
The result of Asa’s refusal is the slaughter of her family by the brutal king who then forces her into marriage. Asa’s grief and need for revenge on her cruel husband becomes the main theme of this story.
The attraction between the kings son Olaf and her also complicates things. I do feel that this relationship could have been more passionate despite their young age, but one sex scene and Asa’s resulting pregnancy was it. It did make her survival more tenuous. There is magic mixed in with the story which was an interesting aspect itself.
Over all this was a good story for those who love all things Norse.
Like her Viking forebears, Johanna Wittenberg has sailed to the far reaches of the world. She lives on a fjord in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, whom she met on a ship bound for Antarctica.