I have to admit, the first thing that was attractive about this book is the cover. I love books about mythology and the fact this is historical fiction, a retelling of the life of Freydis Eiriksdottir, the first and only woman to sail across the North Atlantic on a Viking expedition, sounds epic.
But did it deliver? Not at all. First off, it felt as if the whole book was a big draft. The writing is borderline childish, it’s repetitive for the kind of big themes it was going for and the editing just felt rushed. The emotions that the author tried to convey to its reader, were totally off. We were just thrown at, we don’t know anything about Freydis as a woman, but only as a victim of abuse. As if portraying Freydis any more than a victim was too much for the book.
Sometimes, it gets so factual I could not feel any connection to the main character, I could not care less 10 chapters later if she managed to escape or not, because there was nothing to connect to. When the writing is just so far away, out of reach from its audience, there’s a problem. I should have DNF the book right away to be honest. But I continued because in my mind, I would never be at peace if the ending is great. Unfortunately, the ending is even worse than the whole book.
So for the whole 200 pages, you go through all the adventures that Freydis does to escape her husband, all the people putting their lives at risk for her to get to travel and get away..well guess what. She’s back with her husband. I don’t know, I keep wondering what was the message of this book? Are you telling me that there’s no hope for people in this kind of situation? Her entire voyage encouraged no further character development and in the end of the book the author wrote : “Freydis is the voice of all the spousal abuse victims.”
What is this sense of hopelessness? Then, the author trying to tie the fact that the husband might be homosexual that’s why he lashes out his abuse on Freydis. I did some digging and found some studies mentioning: Homosexuality was not regarded by the Viking peoples as being evil, perverted, innately against the laws of nature or any of the other baggage about the concept that Christian belief has provided Western culture. Now I’m even more confused why the author decided to go with that storyline.
Overall, this story pretty much goes..nowhere and there’s not much character development, and no writing style to even appreciate the prose (oh I did not even mention the random time skip but I think I ranted enough for this review).
Rating : 2/5
Read and reviewed by Trang Tran