The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.
The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.
Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.
With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
This was a bit of a slow burn for me – I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first. I was enjoying it, but not loving it and couldn’t have told you why. But as the book progressed, I slowly got more drawn into the story.
I think the start has quite a few info dump moments, which I struggled with. And towards the end the mythology felt more like part of the story, even where it varied slightly from the traditional myths. I liked how well the started to weave into the story, but at the start I was definitely little more “meh Norse myths are overdone”. Lol. So it definitely picked up for me.
Ciara is a great main character too – I like her determination, her fight and fierceness. I also like her doubt in her abilities and getting to grips with what they mean. And the way she takes on responsibility. I didn’t love, at all, the insta love type connection between her and Lief. Ugh. I did like their relationship in that he’s respectful of her, and how she learns to trust him.
I also liked that we got to see many sides of the war, of the overall story. The split even within the Northmen, against the celts and the Jötunn. It shows that situations like this are rarely simple, and rarely limited to just two sides.
Buy Beyond a Darkened Shore from Amazon UK.