I've just read it, and I must say it's quite extraordinary. When I reached for it in the library, I saw the cover and my heart sank, as I though it was 'one of those', but I decided to give it a go, as I had never read anything by this author. I've got to admit that the old adage "never judge a book by it's cover" works here,
She really did the works in this book. She's taken on the Scandinavian mythology and used it in her fantasy, something I haven't seen much before (lots of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, etc). She's created an individual work, where the characterisation is simply exquisite. Maybe because she's a woman, she's managed to zero in on emotions, feelings of the characters - Rache, Garn, Mariston and co - are dealt with beautifully. On the other hand, the action is not lacking either, and the plot is generally good. Perhaps her being a paediatrician by profession has helped her with the medical/anatomical/injury/post traumatic stress/coping with disability aspects of the book. The only negative aspect of this is that some of her language is decidedly anatomical - something the doctor might say, rather than a writer - for example the word abdomen where she means stomach (as a medical student, I know why she said that).
I never managed to guess what was going to happen, and the ending was so heart-wrenching. There were, however, a few questions that rose in my mind after this book.
1. Why the magic sword ? It isn't really necessary is it - apart from explaining Nantel's dealth. 2. Why the rush at the very end, the change of direction ? I hope it's not to signal the coming of the sequel. 3. What happened to the Western Wizard and his apprentice (specifically) ?
I was so impressed by the book, that I am almost reluctant to get the sequel, in case it's a massive disappointment. If it were, I'd be devastated, as there is such potential from the first book...