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Friday, September 18, 2009

Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier

Series: Saga of the Light Isles Book 1

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Copyright: 2002

Pages: 707

Rating 4 1/2 Crown

All Eyvind has ever wanted is to become one of the greatest Viking warriors - a Wolfskin. His friend Somerled, with whom he has sworn a blood oath of lifelong loyalty, secretly desires a very different path.

A world away, Nessa, niece of King Engus of the Folk, is learning the ways of the mysteries. Her people live in peace and harmony, until a voyage of discovery, led by Somerled's much respected brother, Ulf, brings a group of settlers to Nessa's homeland. Though their arrival is friendly, Nessa feels a shadow has been cast over the Folk ... book cover

Wolfskin is a powerful historical fantasy of epic proportions set against a backdrop of the Viking world and the colonisation of the Scottish islands of Orkney. The combination of history, folklore, & imagination is utterly captivating.

Wolfskin follows the destinies of three central characters - the Viking warrior Eyvind, would-be king Somerled and Priestess Nessa. Eyvind has grown up with the dream of becoming a Wolkskin warrior of Thor, like his brother. He is set the task of befriending the strange boy Somerled and although Eyvind often fears Somerled's cruel and unpredictable nature, circumstances draw the boys together in friendship and they eventually swear their lifelong brotherhood with a blood bond. Their journey to the Light Isles reveals long denied truths and sets the scene for a page-turning read.

Eyvind and Nessa are wonderfully drawn characters, sensitively portrayed & I fell in love with both of them. The love story between the two is a relatively slow dance but beautiful just the same. Somerled is the character you love to hate, although his portrayal is also done in such a way that it is possible to see his vulnerability.

Marillier's connection to the natural world is a beautiful one, nothing is contrived or exaggerated. The imagery is so vivid I felt like I'd been transported to the Light Isles & immersed in the character and very soul of these islands.

Was not this a realm of endless, freezing darkness, visited by hellish winds, pounded by nightmare seas, a stark, empty place where scarcely a tree dared lift its branches from the earth to soften the bleak landscape?
Then spring would come ...

Here the sky held more colours than there were blades of grass on the hillsides; here the sea was endlessly changing, moody, bountiful, capricious, a shawl of mystery wrapping these fair islands with its fluid touch. Each stone bore its own story, each shell its own pattern, each flower its enchantment.
page 178

This is definitely a tale of contrasts, blossoming love & brutal battle scenes alternately bleak then mesmerising. Wolfskin examines the value in loyalty, the pain of betrayal, and the strength required to do what is right at the expense of love. I'm looking forward to continuing the story with Foxmask

Visit Juliet Marillier's website to find out more

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Blodeuedd said...

Even though I do like her style, she can be somewhat depressing at times. But still good

lilly said...

I absolutely enjoy fantasy sagas and this one is new to me so I will have to keep an eye on it and of course it goes right on to my wish list.

ibeeeg said...

These are stories that call out to me to read! On to my to-read list it goes.

Teddyree said...

B ~ yes this one was a combination of darkness and light but I didnt find it depressing :-)

Lilly ~ if fantasy saga is your thing then you'll love this. I think you'd love the descriptive writing too!

ibeeeg ~ let me know if you get your hands on this one, I'd love to know what you think. I have the sequel, Foxmask on my bookshelf ready to go but it's another chunkster lol!

The Book Resort said...

I do like the cover - tranquil! Now, I am going to search this out & read it a bit @ a time. Fab review!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

I love the cover, pretty!!

I love fantasy so I'll have to check it out!

Thanks Teddyree for another great review!

Dottie :)

K said...

I loved Daughter of the Forest, that alone made Marillier a fav author for me, so i'm definitely adding this one to my list.
Great Review.

Teddyree said...

Diane ~ thanks, I think the US copy has a different cover, must be trade size as it only has 500+ pages.

Dottie ~ if you enjoy fantasy, I'm sure you'll love this one. Even though it's quite lengthy it didnt drag.

K ~ I have quite a few of Marillier's other books including Daughter of the Forest on my bookshelf but sadly they are still unread. Need more hours in the day LOL

Sky said...

I LOVE THIS BOOK & JULIET MARILLIER!!!! Marillier is such a wonderful author and she's quite nice. The first series I read from her was her Sevenwater series (still needing to read the 4th though). I love how her writings just drew me in; I couldn't put the books down. I do have say I like Wolfskin the most out of the two books in this series. Someday, I plan to add her books, including this one, to my own personal library. This is a definite read!!!!