Book Finished: July 1st, 2015
If you glance at my growing library, you won’t find too many romance novels nestled there.
Sure, a lot of the fantasy and YA fiction I read features romance; but it’s not often the central axis of the stories I choose. I also don’t prefer romantic “chick-flicks” at the movies – I tend to get bored.
This book had enough of the fantasy and mystery I enjoy that found myself thoroughly wrapped up in Ginn’s drama. And why aren’t we featuring Vikings more often in literature and movies right now? I am convinced this is a severe oversight.
I picked up this book for free at my local library as a gift for signing up for their summer reading program. The synopsis on the back caught my eye, featuring Vikings, virtual reality, and time travel. I was pleased to find when I got home that it’s a signed edition. A nice bonus!
The book only briefly introduces the main character and her world. Jen is a young, lonely developer in futuristic Iceland working for a company centered on realistic virtual environments. People here are so far removed from the past that they’ve essentially adopted full-time cosplay in their daily lives. Which might actually be kind of fun. Jen doesn’t have any true friends or relationships, but does seem to like her work developing the dialogue and voices for Viking characters in her virtual reality.
One day, something goes wrong during a routine testing of the virtual world, and she is instead transported to actual Viking Iceland rather than the virtual version. Thank goodness she was already dressed appropriately, and happens to know the language!
As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Jen (now referred to as Ginn by the family that finds her in a cute mispronunciation) didn’t just land in a serendipitous timeline – she was supposed to come to this exact moment in time.
I enjoyed the story’s deliberations on the existence of fate, and the detailed picture it provides of Viking life. Ginn’s love interest, Heirik, was an interesting (if occasionally dumb) character. While it would be unthinkable for our society to treat someone with a port wine stain birthmark as anything less than a normal human, Heirik is feared/revered and deemed cursed. It makes Ginn and Heirik’s budding romance a bit more dangerous than usual.
Though a bit predictable, the ending has a nice twist. I thought I had the details all figured out two separate times and was then proven wrong. There’s also an awesome “I am woman” moment that I think would translate wonderfully to film if this book is ever picked up for that.
The only con involved in reading this book was the formatting. It drove me absolutely insane. There’s thought pauses, paragraph breaks, and chapter endings where they have no business appearing. For the first part of the book, I had difficulty reading it for long periods of time – that’s how aggravating it was. Thankfully, Brown’s writing is very good, and I was eventually able to look past the formatting.
I recently learned Brown lives in the same city as me, and is working on a sequel. I hope to maybe cross paths with her someday, and pick her brain about Viking culture and history. This is her first novel, and is a great, quick read for the summer.