**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**
Title Winter by Winter
Author Jordan Stratford
Description from Amazon
When the enemies of King Ragnar destroy Ladda’s village, she’ll do anything it takes to lead the survivors to safety—even agreeing to marry the king himself. But Ragnar and Ladda both quickly discover that there’s more to her role than that of queen. As she assumes the burden of shield maiden and admiral of the Swanfleet, guiding her own ships among Ragnar’s, her calling to battle becomes clear. She’s been chosen, blessed by the goddess Skathi, and her enemies will fall before her blade… Winter by Winter brings to life Hladgertha, the historical teenage Viking pirate queen from the Chronicles of Saxo, and presents a heroine whose cunning and heart resonate across the centuries.
Release Date March 24, 2020
I was excited to read this book. I really enjoy Viking stories and was eager to learn more about Hladgertha’s backstory.
Some Things I Liked
- Ladda as the star. I love the show Vikings on A&E and Hlagertha’s character was sort of secondary for a while (in the later seasons she holds her own), but I was glad to see a young Ladda represented as a leader and warrior here.
- Ragnar. I pictured him as a young version of the TV show character and the attitude and actions totally fit. I loved that this representation of Ragnar stayed true to what I envision for this character.
- Feminism. I loved that this book showcased Ladda’s fight for women to be treated equal to men. In a time when women were considered property, I was really glad to see Ladda’s role as well as her fight for her gender.
- Historical fantasy. I also really enjoyed the fantasy elements of the gods, visions, and other mythological creatures that were woven into this historical story. I though the balance was well done and neither history, nor fantasy outshone the other.
One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About
- The romance. For a short book, I was a little surprised to see how all over the place Ladda was. I’m ok with a little bit of a love triangle but this was too much and I felt like it discounted her love for the guy she ended up with.
I could easily see this developing into a series. Ladda’s story is far from over (or, that’s what Vikings taught me). But, even if her story is over historically, I enjoyed her character tremendously and would like to see more about her adventures.
I really hope this turns into a series. I’d love to see more of this world and these characters. Aside from the romance, this was a solid four star historical fantasy read.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Shielded by KayLynn Flanders – if you liked the story of a shieldmaiden in Viking times, try this July 2020 release when it comes out in a few months.
- The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi – again, if you liked the Viking inspiration mixed with fantasy elements of Norse mythology, try this book by Elizabeth Tammi.
- Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – if you liked the Viking vibes and the idea of a sister who would do anything to protect a sibling, definitely check this book out. Also, check out The Girl the Sea Gave Back which is a sequel to Sky in the Deep.