Sunday 29 October 2017

Review on A Shiver of Snow and Sky

Red, red, the lights glow red
                                                          Beware the dangers up ahead

Seventeen years ago, The Goddess sent a warning. A warning that meant the villagers would soon be in life threatening danger. Only a few days later, the villagers were struck by a plague that killed many, including Ósa's mother. Now the time has come for the red lights to appear in the sky once more, bringing with them a future filled with certain danger. Ósa must find out what the lights mean, and find out how to prepare for the oncoming danger before even more of the villagers die.

 I felt as if the blurb was quite vague for this book, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. From looking at the cover, I figured it was going to be some type of fantasy romance. Something that I rarely enjoy is romance being a key element in a fantasy book. When I pick up a fantasy book, it is always because I want to read a fantasy book, not a romance. My first impression of a book is usually quite accurate, but to my delight, my first impression of this book was completely wrong! The phrase “never judge a book but its cover” has never been more accurate than it is with this book.

The book follows Ósa, a seventeen year old girl who's mother died when she was just a baby. When the plague that took her mothers life threatens to return, Ósa must find a way to stop it before more lives are lost. Something I adore seeing in fantasy novels are epic quests and adventures. One of my favourite books as a child was The Hobbit, and I grew up watching The Lord of the Rings movies. The thought of going on an adventure to a dangerous and distant place was always appealing to me, so I was hoping Ósa 's adventure into the mountains would be full of excitement and danger!

Although I loved most of the characters, one character that I just couldn't stand was Ósa's father. I think them not getting along is a huge understatement, as I was completely shocked that he sent her on her quest alone, when he understood how dangerous her journey would be, and there was a high possibility that she wouldn't come back alive. I also hated that he had such little faith in her, and although Ósa starts to mend their broken relationship towards the end of the book, I wasn't able to forgive him so easily!

Once Ósa leaves the village, the book is split into two parts, with one focusing on Ósa 's journey, and the other focusing on Ivar and what was happening in the village. Although Ósa 's chapters are narrated in first person, Ivar's are narrated in third. This didn't make much sense to me, as I saw no reason why both narratives couldn't be told in either first or third person. It is occasionally necessary for a book to be narrated in this way, but I felt that it was a little pointless to do it in this case, as I prefer when books aren't constantly switching between first and third person.

I did love both Ósa and Ivar, but I ended up being more drawn into Ósa 's story. I think this was probably down to my love of adventures, but I was always eager to get back to Ósa 's chapters. I think the only thing I disliked about Ósa 's story was that she was alone for most of her journey. Even Frodo had Sam to help him get to Mordor, and I felt as if having a companion would have made the story more interesting. I did love when she teamed up with Sejer, but I thought it would have been better if they had met earlier on in the story, and if Sejer had had a bigger role to play.

Even though the villagers are expecting another plague, the main threat becomes the Ør, the same creatures that forced the villagers ancestors to find new homes. Although the Ør were given a description, the name is so close to Orc that I couldn't help but imagine them as Tolkein's Orcs. It made me wonder if Lisa drew some inspiration from Tolkein's work, as I found a few similarities throughout the book.

My favourite part of the book was towards the end, where Ósa has to get through a number of rooms to reach the Goddess, each with something in it to deter her. This part felt like a brilliant mixture of Philosopher's Stone, Doctor Who and The Hobbit. I particularly loved the stone creatures, as I found them quite creepy, and they reminded me of The Weeping Angels.

Something that I always like to see in a fantasy novel is a good battle scene, and this book definitely delivered on that! I adored the battle, and how Ósa harnessed her new powers. The one thing that I found a little confusing was the dragon. You would think that having a dragon on your side would guarantee victory, which made me confused as to how the Ør were winning. The book mentions later on that the dragon was incinerating the Ør, so to me it made no sense why the dragon wasn't just creating a wall of flame to force the Ør to retreat.

I overall really enjoyed this book, and it went above and beyond my expectations. I loved that the main plot focused on the fantasy, and the romance was just a small subplot. The book was more plot driven that character driven, but this didn't bother me too much, as the plot was so good! I recommend this book to fans of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

A Shiver of Snow and Sky is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

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