The Warrior’s Path (When Women Were Warriors #1) by Catherine M. Wilson Publisher/Year: Catherine Wilson, 2010 Format: E-book (Nook) Pages: 195 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
Set in the British Isles during the Bronze Age, a time when matrilineal societies predominated and female warriors were not uncommon, When Women Were Warriors tells the story of Tamras, a young woman of the warrior class who leaved home to be fostered in Merin’s house, a fortress guarding the northern border of a rich agricultural valley. In Book I of the trilogy, Tamras, our hero, arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. To make matters worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the position of companion, little more than a personal servant, to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter, and this stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras. Tamras’s journey begins with the smallest of steps. She sets aside her disappointment and performs as well as she can the humble tasks given her, and eventually she succeeds in winning the trust and then the friendship of the cantankerous warrior to whom she has been assigned. In the first year of her journey, Tamras will make a series of choices that often seem insignificant, but they will flow from her character and from her good intentions, and they will determine her destiny.
What I thought
I’ll be honest, what initially drew me to this freebie that I found in the Nook store was the cover–it was beautiful and drew me right in. And the story held within its pages was just as enjoyable. This one was actually difficult for me to rate. On one hand, I found the writing to be luscious and beautiful. Wilson’s writing is very reminiscent of the traditional oral storytelling, and as I read I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading a classic fairytale. On the other hand, though, I really struggled to connect with Tamras. I’m not sure why this was so, especially since the novel was character driven and not much happened, plotwise. I think this is a shame because it seems like so many other readers didn’t have the same problem that I did. I might continue the series someday, and maybe I’ll re-read this first installment farther down the road to see if maybe I just had a timing issue. I did enjoy my time reading this one, for the most part, though. If you enjoy a character-driven, coming-of-age story with a focus on feminism and all forms of love, this would be a great read for lazing away a summer’s day on a hammock in the shade!
The Ice Princess (Patrik Hedström #1) by Camilla Läckberg Publisher/Year: Pegasus Books, 2010 Format: Hardcover Pages: 393 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it appears that she has taken her own life.
Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their shared past and lost friendship. While her interest grows steadily into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedström is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about this small town with a deeply disturbing past…
Already a sensation across the globe, Camilla Läckberg and her penetrating portrayal of human nature at its darkest are sure to place her alongside Scandinavian greats like Henning Mankel and Stieg Larsson.
What I thought
I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Scandinavian crime fiction! This one seems to be hit or miss with readers, but I, for one, enjoyed it immensely. This was my latest “work” read, and I had the hardest time putting it down when breaks would end. I was just absolutely immersed in this one. The characters came to life, and the mystery kept me guessing the entire time. I know that some found fault with the way that clues were “revealed,” but I just found that to be the author’s style, and it didn’t bother me. If anything, it just kept me flipping pages to find out what had been discovered. I also enjoyed the subplots here, as well, and I liked that the added depth helped to develop the characters more. I especially found myself attached to Erica and Patrik, and I’m glad that the series continues to follow them. I can’t wait to read the next book! It’s actually nice that this book didn’t end on some big cliffhanger–there’s enough left open to make me want to continue the story, but at my own pace and when I’m in the mood for the genre again, instead of almost feeling coerced by an abrupt cliffhanger ending. One final thing I wanted to note was that I was also impressed by the seamless translation. Overall, this was a great, entertaining read and a perfect introduction to a genre that I’m looking forward to reading more often!