Shield-Maiden: Under the Howling Moon by: Melanie Karsak

The Road to Valhalla Book 1

Chosen by Odin. Destined for Valhalla.In my dreams, Odin whispers to me. 

He tells me I’m destined to wield a legendary sword.

He tells me my road will bring me to Valhalla.

But when I wake, I’m only Hervor. Fatherless. Unloved. Unwanted. Jarl Bjartmar, my grandfather, calls me cursed. My mother, her memories stolen by the gods, has forgotten me. Everyone tells me I should have been left to the wolves, but no one will tell me why.

None but Eydis, a thrall with völva magic, believes I’m meant for a greater destiny. Yet who can believe a devotee of Loki?

When the king and his son arrive for the holy blót, the runes begin to fall in my favor. A way forward may lie in the handsome Viking set on winning my heart, but only if I unravel the mystery hanging over me first.

Content Warning: Slavery, blood/gore, violence, murder, abuse, assault, and mention: of torture, suicide attempt/ideation, and rape.

I stumbled on the summary of this book in my attempt to find an indie/self-published book to read for the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok challenge [Go team Mage!]. Being a huge fan of The Last Kingdom I knew I wanted to read this book and see Hervor’s journey.

Hervor has grown up being told she’s cursed because of her father and yet no one seems to know or will tell her, just who her father is. All she knows is her amber eyes, which come from her father, enrage her grandfather. Although the only child of the Jarl’s favorite child, Hervor is constantly berated and abused by her grandfather. Although a skilled fighter, and dreams of being a Shield Maiden, her grandfather has forbidden her to ever be a warrior.

In this book, we get a good sense of who Hervor is and who she wants to be. A great introduction though I have a feeling book two will be even better and more action-packed.

If you’re a fan of strong women, Gods who play with fate, and journeys of self-discovery…I highly recommend giving this book a try!

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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