Shadow of the Raven (Sons of Kings #1) by Millie Thom
Genre: Historical Fiction
DNF at 56%
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Synopsis: Thunder claps roar and Odin’s ravens fly. Dragonships set sail – and the kingdoms of Western Europe hold their breath. Warriors of Thor are on the move. By the mid ninth century, Danish raids on Anglo-Saxon kingdoms have escalated. Several bands even dare to overwinter on the coastal islands, particularly those at the mouth of the Thames, where the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia border each other. The kings of these lands must put past enmity aside and take the first steps towards unity; steps they see as vital in the face of this newfound threat to their lands . . . Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia are the sons of kings, whose futures have been determined since birth. But the turbulent events in their childhood years change the natural progression of things – and shape the characters of the men they will become. Their roads to manhood follow vastly different routes, but both learn crucial lessons along the way: lessons that will serve them well in future years. Discovering that they enemy is not always a stranger is a harsh lesson indeed; the realisation that a trusted kinsman can turn traitor is the harshest lesson of all.
I feel really bad DNFing this. That’s why it’s been on my currently-reading shelf on Goodreads for 3 months now. But I need to face the facts. I read up until 56%, some of it a struggle. When I put it down in July, I had every intention of trying to finish it. It’s the end of October now, and I haven’t once felt like continuing it. It’s time to call it a DNF.
I was really excited to read this one! I haven’t read that many Viking stories, or stories about the Danish raids, or the ninth century. It’s a period of history I don’t know all that much about, to be honest. So this looked like the perfect read to me!
It started out fairly well. The story takes off with Eadwulf of Mercia, son to the king. He’s playing in the courtyard, when his father’s party is killed and he is taken hostage. I thought Eadwulf was a great main character. He seemed strong, kind, to care very much for his friends and family -a kid with a strong moral compass, in general. As the story went along however, I grew to understand him less. At first I was proud of him, because he stayed so strong and honest throughout his trials and tribulations. But it comes to a point where he joins a group of people, and I just couldn’t understand. I won’t tell you what it is, but I just couldn’t see how someone with his past could do this.
We also follow many other characters, of different countries. To be honest, I had a bit of trouble with all the names and people. There just wasn’t character I was really attached to?
I think this book is the epitome of the cliche: it’s not you, it’s me. Most people who have read this book, absolutely loved it. And I didn’t dislike the writing style, nor do I think it’s a bad book. I just didn’t have any connection with the characters -which for me, makes it pretty impossible to continue. If you like the synopsis and think it sounds interesting, I’d still urge you to give it a go. Maybe it’ll suit you better than it did me.