I don’t think I have ever read a Viking fantasy novel up until now, so I was intrigued to see how the author, Suzie Wilde would portray this period of history and whether I would actually enjoy it. On a long winter night, Bera is left to defend her stark village alone, and in the ensuing battle, her dear childhood friend, Bjorn, is killed. When soon after her father weds her to the chieftain of a rival clan, Bera realises the unthinkable: his second-in-command is responsible for her friend’s death. Though she must now learn how to be a wife and a stepmother to a hostile boy, Bera vows her revenge and sets off on a path to grow in power and hone her skills in the rough, macho clan into which she has been sold.
As her gifts continue to grow, her visions of looming disaster become more and more ominous until she has to make the ultimate choice: Will she choose revenge? Or will she succeed in leading her people to safety before it’s too late?
For the first fifteen or so pages, I was completely confused. Wilde introduced so many characters in the beginning that I had to keep a note of who was who and which character was related to another. It was exhausting and slightly put me off reading the rest of the book.
However, I knew that I couldn’t just read the first fifteen pages and then give up, so I carried on reading and I found that I related a lot to the character of Bera: she’s strong and tries to be a leader and she also cares deeply for her family and close friends and would do anything to protect them, but she’s also stubborn and moody. She’s an amazing protagonist who goes through so much character development. She goes from a timid young woman who wants to get revenge for her best friend’s death, to someone who is forced into a family she does not want to be part of, to a fearless leader. I loved her.
I fell in love with all of the characters apart from one; I hated them right up until the very end. They were selfish, self-centered and just plain awful. There were times where I just had to stop reading for a bit and literally think about what they had just said or done because it was terrible.
I found Wilde’s writing to be very descriptive but not too descriptive to the point where you’re bored; she described things in a way that painted a beautiful, vivid picture of the setting. I especially loved the bit near the end where Bera is swimming under water and she can see all the ice and fish.
“My love will last until I’m old
And even dead it won’t grow cold.”
― Suzie Wilde,
There were parts of The Book of Bera that made me want to scream, cry and stop reading altogether. I felt emotionally attached to many of the characters – and even the animals – so I was so upset when any of them went through turmoil.
The ending was absolutely brilliant and I do hope that there will be another book as I want to see how Bera continues on her journey and how she keeps growing. This is an amazing book that tackles loss, death, destruction, love, family and hope and I recommend that as soon as this book comes out, you order it, you buy it, whatever. Just make sure that you get your hands on!
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Unbound publishing.
The Book of Bera is released 23rd March 2017.