A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is part Wonder Woman, part Vikings―and all heart.
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield―her brother, fighting with the enemy―the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother's betrayal, Eelyn is captured and must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
Drawing on Viking history and lore, debut author Young crafts an exciting, at times heart-wrenching story centered around 17-year-old Eelyn, her Aska clan, and their centuries-old war with the Riki. Every five years, the clans meet at Aurvanger to fight because of a perceived disagreement between their respective gods, Sigr and Thora. Eelyn watched her brother, Iri, die in battle, and now she wants to avenge him. But when she is attacked by Fiske, a Riki warrior, Iri steps in to save his sister: Iri has not only survived, but he has joined the enemy. Determined to figure out why Iri abandoned her clan, Eelyn seeks Fiske out on the battlefield and is taken prisoner. Once in the Riki village, Eelyn realizes that perhaps the two clans aren't so dissimilar and begins to question the war. Young's often poetic writing ("The cliff jutting up from the water like a wall. Green moss climbing down it in long, bright strands") forms a stark juxtaposition with her vivid descriptions of battle and bloodshed, creating a clear picture of the brutality of war. Ages 12 up.