|God of Vengeance by Giles Kristian|
I could have sworn, after I began this book, that I wasn't going to like it. It was written very well, which is what I always expect from this author, as he has only gotten better and better with each book he releases. The scene setting was excellent, also what I expect from this author as this Scandinavian culture is close to his heart - being directly descended from it.
However, for some reason I could not connect with what was going on. For more than 100 pages I was bored and often tempted to skip pages. I simply could not connect or feign interest in what was going on, despite its rich action sequences.
Boring is an odd thing to say seeing as the beginning of this book finds you knees deep in a long and elaborate battle scene that must have exhausted the author to even write it. Such was the indepth and intelligent way it was woven. So much going on in a vast master plan.
I was just starting to think that it was purely a matter of compatibility (which was the case with a series the author once did that was set during the English Civil War) when, yes, it sneaked up on me.
Crept up on me from behind it did. Without any real up change in pace, or abrupt turn about face.
When I thought about it at the time, trying to work out why I was suddenly feeling so differently about the book, I actually worked out what my issue had been. The story had developed too quickly too soon for me in those early stages. Many people won't have this same problem, because that is how it goes. We all read differently. Different brains. Different visualisation. Different approaches to fantasy.
My early reading of the book had me involved in established relationships and a highly complicated battle scene before I'd even learned who the characters were (under the surface) or had any investment in their lives whatsoever. That's all it was in the end. I did not care who lived or died in the first 100 pages or so. Had no interest, as I had not really been introduced to them. I had been thrown into their shieldwall before we'd even exchanged pleasantries. I felt no comradeship and no loyalty to either side.
Character relationships, while dealt with a little in the opening pages, were actually shaped post battle, not pre. I was ice cold about what was going on.
This was too poignant a battle to be caught napping. It was absolutely critical to the plot of the entire book. Of the whole series. So, if you find yourself in the same predicament, keep on. You need to.
And now my attitude changes towards the thing. I kept on. Knew I needed to. Then, to my great relief, when I did know them...I was in love. With the story, the characters. Truly. What a book. I could hardly believe I'd gone from ice cold to utter infatuation.
It has been a while since a group of characters has gotten under my skin this much, but it was bound to happen. Vikings combined with journey adventure. Two of my loves. As long as Giles Kristian wrote well and captured the 'road trip' vibe that I like, then I was bound to be on board.
The characters, thankfully, ended up being rich and colourful. Their story involving and fascinating.
Their Saga became all I cared about until the very last page.
Sigurd turned out to be quite the charismatic chap. I am a huge fan. A man who can lead others into war, no doubt. The female character was perfect. Not helpless and emotional. Gack, thank goodness for that. A great Shieldmaiden she was. Thank you Giles Kristian for the girl power.
Really, every character was very well drawn, but my favourite character would have to be Black Floki...of course.
I think this might be a common experience for readers as I see that the author might be working on a graphic novel about Black Floki, with the early illustrations by his accomplice looking very promising. I don't imagine Giles would go to such lengths unless he was getting feedback that his readers were feeling the same way about Black Floki as he does.
God of Vengeance is a great find and it rates highly on cool factor.
I went ahead and bought the next few books in the series and am excited to read them.
5 stars out of 5.