Sunday, 15 October 2017

WINTER'S FIRE by Giles Kristian

Winter's Fire by Giles Kristian
  In my opinion, this is truly a 'bridging book'. A book two that serves as the bridge between the story set up in book one and the dramatic ending of book three (if it is a trilogy, which I think it may be). Some may disagree. This is only my experience with it.
In saying that, I have not read book three yet, so I may be wrong and book three may read like this one. I guess I'll know that when I get there.
  Now, calling it a 'bridging book' is not as negative as it sounds. Sometimes trilogies and series' have these books. They are still a decent read, they can just feel a bit like a no mans land.

   Book one seemed more robust with storylines and personality, and while this one was still a good read and I still recommend it, I am going to go so far as to say that it lacked the same spark. There seemed to be sections that fought with the flow of the book, like the storyline that developed for the sister. Or, maybe I am being too harsh because I have no interest in Runa independently. I am reading these books for Sigurd's tale. To those who like the Runa character, it may be a highlight.
I was not looking to spend any time on the sister, but I am sure that there are female readers who delight in the Runa story being interwoven with the story of Sigurd and his wolf pack. I am not one of those female readers. Perhaps her character's story would have been better served by a spin off book all of its own. For me, in this Sigurd series, Valgerd is more than enough woman for me.

   I feel I am being a little apologetic for my lukewarm feelings on the book. I think that is because I really like Kristian's writing and the way he tells a Viking tale. I have a bit of an interest in Vikings and if we did not have Kristian writing about them, where would we get our Viking fix? He is only one of three authors who write with this quality and intelligence about Vikings and one of those three does not write about them anymore. That writer is Robert Low, of which there will never be another author like him. Bernard Cornwell gives us his Uhtred books, but they are few and far between.
If you like this era as I do, and you like it very well written, then you need these Viking stories by Kristian. He is the Lighthouse in our rough seas.
   I feel bad not giving a glowing review for Winter's Fire. I desperately want to ignore the negative and just focus on the positive, and yet I have always objected to people being 'yes men', so in the name of honesty – which I value above all else as a reviewer – I say this about it: this book, Winter's Fire, is still a good read, just not a great read...but, gee, it sure is well written! Masterfully so in places.
  I hope Kristian is not finished with these Viking tales. He is the cream of the crop.
  I recommend it, absolutely. On its own, you may appreciate it more than I did, as I had my feelings on book one looming over my shoulder the whole way through.

   As far as a star rating, I feel it is better than a three star, not quite a four star. Which makes this one of those rare times I have to use a half star to give it three and a half stars.

3 ½ stars

– MM

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