Tagged: greenland

Frost by Wendy Delsol

Frost by Wendy Delsol(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

After the drama of finding out that she’s a Stork, a member of an ancient and mystical order of women, and that her boyfriend, Jack, is a descendent of the Winter People able to control the weather, Katla Leblanc is delighted when all signs point to a busy and peaceful Christmas. That is, until the snowstorm Jack summons as a gift to Katla turns into the storm of the century, attracting Brigid, a gorgeous scientist who, in turn, attracts Jack. Between the school play, a bedridden, pregnant mother’s to-do lists, and keeping an eye on her aging grandfather, Katla doesn’t have time to question Brigid’s motives or deal with Jack’s increasingly cold behavior. But Katla’s suspicions mount when Jack joins Brigid on a research expedition to Greenland, and when the two of them go missing, it becomes clear that Katla is the only one who can save her beloved Jack from the Snow Queen who holds him prisoner. Adventure, romance, and myth combine in this winter escapade for teens who like a bit of fire with their ice.

It took me a little bit to warm up to Stork because of Katla but by the end I liked the story enough that I was willing to read the second book.  I had bought the entire trilogy on a whim anyway so why not?  It certainly sounded a little more action-packed than the first book.  In a way it was but in a way it was also slightly disappointing.

My whole impression of Katla in Frost was essentially ‘meh’.  She’s changed a little bit from the first book in the sense that she’s no longer as stuck up and is taking on the responsibilities of being a Stork willingly but at the same time she’s also still pretty immature.  When Brigid shows up, Katla immediately goes into jealous girlfriend mode without seeing how Jack will even react to the woman.  Of course her initial suspicions are confirmed when Brigid drags Jack off to Greenland but at the same time I can’t help but feel a little colder toward Katla for her rather obsessive jealousy.  I don’t hate her or really dislike her because I can completely understand jealousy but it didn’t make me feel any warmer toward her.  When she set off to go find Jack her selflessness really came into the spotlight so in the end I did like her a little more than I did in the first book.  Still, I wouldn’t call her a great or even a memorable character; she’s pretty average.

The plot was pretty slow-paced even though this book is only a little under 400 pages long.  It’s very much character-driven (which I usually don’t mind) but at the same time I had a hard time with the first 200 pages or so because not much happens.  Sure it’s nice to see how Katla is settling into her duties as a Stork and how it’s changed her life at school but at the same time I couldn’t help but get bored.  It’s nice to see Jack and Katla’s relationship develop before Brigid bursts onto the scene but I think Wendy Delsol spent a little too much time on her introduction.  I wanted a lot more action and I simply wasn’t getting it.  Because of the slow pace of the first part of the book it also felt like the last part where Katla had to go rescue Jack was way too rushed and more than a little bit confusing.  I would have liked the plot to start out a little bit faster and then gradually build toward the more action-packed sections rather than the abrupt transitions in Frost.

As for the world-building, it was thoroughly enjoyable even if it lacked that ‘wow’ factor.  The plot of Frost is loosely based upon the Snow Queen story which I’m more familiar with than the first book’s story so in that regard it was a little more enjoyable for me.  I liked how we finally got to see how the hierarchy of Storks works and whether or not there are other Storks around the world that carry out the same or similar duties.  It made things a little more realistic and it added more depth to the story.

Wendy Delsol has a good writing style that describes things well and clearly while not beating around the bush, which would have made the book excellent if not for the lack in pacing and the admittedly lackluster characters.  She’s an author with a lot of potential and despite my overall ‘meh’ impression of Frost I’ll be reading the last book, if only to finish the series.  Basically, this book was just not made for me and if the blurb at least sounds intriguing to you I’d recommend giving the series a try.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll like it better than I did.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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Avalon by Anya Seton

Avalon by Anya Seton(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

This saga of yearning and mystery travels across oceans and continents to Iceland, Greenland, and North America during the time in history when Anglo-Saxons battled Vikings and the Norsemen discovered America. The marked contrasts between powerful royalty, landless peasants, Viking warriors and noble knights are expertly brought to life in this gripping tale of the French prince named Rumon. Shipwrecked off the Cornish coast on his quest to find King Arthur’s legendary Avalon, Rumon meets a lonely girl named Merewyn and their lives soon become intertwined. Rumon brings Merewyn to England, but once there he is so dazzled by Queen Alrida’s beauty that it makes him a virtual prisoner to her will. In this riveting romance, Anya Seton once again proves her mastery of historical detail and ability to craft a compelling tale that includes real and colorful personalities such as St. Dunstan and Eric the Red.

As I do often, I picked up Avalon in a store because it had really cool cover art. Also, the setting I thought was pretty interesting.

Now, this book is categorized as historical romance. Normally I don’t read romance stories, but I do read historical ones, and when I got it I didn’t even know it was defined as romance anyways; its cover art looked cool as already stated, and the side panels on the interior of the book showed it had a setting I enjoyed, although if you get the book, I’d recommend you don’t read much of those, as they tell virtually the entire plot bar the end. I saw where these mischievous panels were going and just started reading the book instead.

This book took up a lot of my time initially. I was engaged in the time period, the characters, all of it.The plot does not span a small time-span; it follows two characters, Rumon and Merewyn, over the course of decades — from the late 10th century through the 11th — and weaves through many locations, such as southern Britain, Iceland, Greenland, and even a small portion of the Americas. It takes all these different historical events and characters of those times, and uses Rumon and Merewyn to fling you along and through them.

A lot happens in the plot, and it has a unique structure somewhat because of what it spans. I never felt like it was just slogging me through back- or sidestory too much, but for me it was very suspenseful, occasionally wishing Rumon would move a little faster because a lot depends on it and I am way into this plot.

I don’t want to spoil ending, but the book does a good job at not going where you think it will go. It stubbornly sticks with this until the end, and even though it probably isn’t where you thought it would end up, I can’t fault the book for that. I instead believe that it gives a suitable ending, that fulfills, just not in the way you were hoping.

Also, the ending sets up the events that happen after the considerable span of the book. In this way, I think the book, albeit an old one at this point (published first in ’65), does a masterful job of placing a personal story and plot inside the major history, without conflicting, and in fact using both to support each other. So I’d like to give my compliments to the author, who wrote that book so long ago.

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