Ansa has always been a fighter.
As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.
Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.
With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.
I reread The Impostor Queen to prepare me for this, and it wasn’t really necessary given that this is a companion and not a true sequel. It takes place over the same timeline of the first book, while following the new character Ansa – who we was briefly mentioned in the first book.
This was a difficult read for me. I enjoyed Impostor, even though the beginning was a bit slow for me, but I could not get into this and only finished because I want to read the last book in the series and knew I’d need this information. I could not relate to Ansa at all, I found her hypocritical, lovesick (in the worst way), selfish, and incredibly destructive.
The whole structure of this installment just felt messy. It’s choppy and confusing, I’m having trouble following, and none of these are issues I had with the first book, it feels like Fine struggled more with Ansa. On top of the issues with Ansa as a character, I didn’t really buy into attraction between Ansa and Thyra. Ansa is so adamant about ‘strength’ (her version at least) and bloodthirsty. But Thyra is merciful and moral. Those seem like too major of differences to be able to maintain a relationship, especially if you don’t secretly harbor them yourself.
I had such a hard time slogging my way through this, it has serious case of second book syndrome. When we did finally have some progress and she gets over herself it’s so abrupt that I don’t think I really believe it. And with Sig joining the crew and not giving the whole story behind Elli, and knowing how single minded and volatile he can be (like Ansa. . . ) it’s obviously not going to go well when they meet up with Elli and Oskar.