This is my stop during the blog tour for Ullr’s Fangs by Katharine E. Wibell. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 25 June till 15 July. See the tour schedule here.
Author: Katharine E. Wibell
Series: The Incarn Saga #2
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Phaesporia Press
Release Date: 29 April 2018
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: Lola's Blog Tours
Blurb (from Goodreads):
According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Lola's Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will she succumb to that darkness?
I was very surprised by this book, and that doesn't happen often. Which was a very good thing, let me tell you.
Ullr's Fangs continues the story of Lluava and her friends as they try to fight the Raiders. This story is divided into two parts. In the first part we see the survivors happy that the war is, supposedly, over and ready to go back to their lives. For Lluava, this means following the heir to the throne, and her military partner, Varren, to court and try to blend in. At first, I struggled with seeing her in that position. Lluava is a woman of action, and somehow etiquette classes and banquets is not the kind of setting I was comfortable seeing her in. Not only has the war changed her in ways that she hasn't anticipated, but she's a different species than almost everyone in the capital. It was interesting to see the medieval human customs, such as people being betrothed to someone since before they were born, through her eyes. I found myself having similar reactions to what she was experiencing trying to understand how humans lived and how their society functioned.
Her life at court is, thankfully for her, rather short, when the news that the war was not over yet, and she and Varren go back on the front lines. There they meet their old friends, and it's interesting how each of them has changed since they last saw each other. As the Raiders get bolder and they face a new enemy, the friends have to make new alliances with people who aren't as trustworthy as they'd like. In this second part of the book things get more and more dramatic as the time goes on.
This was an interesting mix of fast paced action and drama, danger and adrenaline. Although it took me a while to get used to the writing style, once I did I couldn't really put it down. I am very, very curious to see how the story goes on.
“We have found no sign of the band of Raiders since we left Tinder’s Keep. We have lost valued days, and I fear that, if we have not already failed at our reconnaissance mission, we soon will. Therefore, what say you to the idea of—” Varren stopped, summoning his will to finish the proposal, “— rehiring the huntsmen? If there is a chance to finish what we started, would you support that?”
Derrick was the first to speak. “Putting personal issues aside might be in the best interest of the greater good. If working with the huntsmen protects Elysia in any way, I say we should ask them to rejoin our efforts.”
Talos was not pleased. He kept silent for a long while; when he spoke, he chose to be logical. “How would we even find them? We left them at Tinder. Do you think they just stayed there? They are long gone—as should be this idea.”
Looking at his partner, Byron added, “I wish I were better at tracking. I will keep trying, but the trail went cold a long time ago.”
“We should return,” whispered Rosalyn, whose health had begun to deteriorate. “We made this journey based on several large assumptions. What if we were wrong, and we are wasting our strength and time on a fruitless mission?”
Rosalyn had a point. What if all this was for nothing? Had they squandered all their time chasing shadows in the woods while Elysia was doing battle with—and possibly losing to—a cruel and evil enemy? Perhaps they should turn around and go back. At least they would not have to worry about whether or not to work with the huntsmen. Lluava would never have to see Apex again. But what if there was a chance? Could they gain important information? Could they prevent a major attack? How many lives might be saved?
Lluava spoke. “Elysia’s future is at stake. We can’t afford to lose any chance to save our kingdom. Of all of us, I should be the one most opposed to working with the huntsmen, but I support this decision.”
Whether it was the truth of Lluava’s last statement or the points made by others, several heads nodded in agreement. Though Yamir and Rosalyn still opposed the idea, the consensus was to resume their contract with the huntsmen.
“How are we to find them?” questioned Yamir. He had been quiet for most of the conversation. “If we can’t find them, all this talk means nothing.”
Several questioning looks passed among them before Lluava reached inside her shirt and pulled out the cord with the whistle. “I know how to call them.”
After she explained how she had come into possession of the whistle, Varren gave her a nod. “Give it a try.”
Though still skeptical, Lluava took a big breath and blew into the tiny whistle. As soon as she did, she quickly reached up to her ears to block the piercing trill emitted by the tiny object. Even though she had stopped blowing, the ringing echo continued. Looking around her, the noise seemed to bother many of the friends, although Byron and Varren were unperturbed.
“Well?” asked Byron, who was clearly confused at his comrades’ odd reactions.
Next to him, Talos was shaking his head repeatedly, his tawny locks whipping around his features. “Did you not hear that?” he exclaimed, disgruntled.
“What?” Byron looked at Lluava. “You blew it?”
The young woman returned the whistle to her pocket, hoping she would not have to use it again anytime soon. “It wasn’t meant for your ears,” she said.
“How long will it take?” inquired Varren, who was less concerned about the phantom sound.
“I don’t know,” Lluava admitted. “I guess we just have to wait and see.”
At first, everyone stopped as if stuck to their spots, hoping for any sign of approaching figures. As time crept on, one by one they resumed their normal camp duties.
“Maybe you should blow it again,” suggested Byron.
Yamir quickly shook his head. “No, don’t do that. I can still hear it.”
Looking over at her partner, Lluava apologized. “I tried…”
“I know you did,” Varren acknowledged. “However, it seems that we are on our own.” He began to turn away, but then stopped. “Is that—?”
Lluava peered in the direction the prince was pointing. Apex stepped out of the gloom with his companions at his heels. Lluava felt her heart skip a beat. Had she made the wrong decision? There was no way she would let that monster see her fear. Standing up straight, Lluava watched as the huntsmen approached their campfire.
For a moment, no one spoke. Then Apex broke the silence. “Well? What have you to say?”
Varren approached the burly man. Lluava followed at her partner’s side. From this new angle, Lluava could see the yellow-green remains of the bruise Varren had left around Apex’s eye. She was glad to see that Varren had hit him so hard. Some of the bilious color overlapped her own claw marks that slanted across the brute’s cheek. He finally looked like the monster he really was, and she was glad he was marked for all to see. Still, Lluava found herself moving closer to Varren’s side. She would not let Apex see her tremble.
Stopping several feet away, Lluava could not help but sense the deep penetration of the lead huntsman’s stare. Maybe she had made the wrong decision. Maybe they all had. A sudden panic began to rise inside her. She wanted to escape from this man and his unwelcome presence.
Lluava felt Varren’s hand on her shoulder. Had he realized her inner discomfort? The simple gesture was comforting. She forced herself to meet the gaze of the tracker before her, although she wanted to turn away.
The prince began, “What happened in Tinder’s Keep was inexcusable.” Varren glanced at Lluava before continuing. “Yet the cold fact remains, we must track down the band of Raiders before it is too late.”
Apex seemed about to respond with a snide remark but thought better of it. He stood silently, which forced Varren to speak once more.
“My comrades and I have a mission to complete and, just as before, we need your aid in order to succeed. I will not let my emotions hinder this task. Will you rejoin our efforts?”
“Oh?” Apex raised an eyebrow and glanced in Lluava’s direction. She could feel her insides churn. Every bit of her wanted to bolt. Thank the gods Varren was near; she drew strength from him.
Turning his hard gaze on the prince, Apex responded. “In our original agreement, we were to track and you to fight. That deal was made to protect my fellows from risk of injury. That insurance of protection has been violated.”
Now Varren was the one holding back the angry retort. Lluava was unable to look away from Apex’s bruised eye. Would he really turn them down?
The huntsman answered Lluava’s unspoken question. “Before I will agree to rejoin your efforts, I demand compensation for the risk we are all taking in this endeavor.”
“What sort of compensation?” inquired Varren. He clearly disproved of the entire situation.
Apex looked at each of his own companions, then stated, “Double the pay.”
Varren looked at his partner. Lluava nodded so he would know she accepted the proposal. But did she have any right to make the choice? It wasn’t her money.
“That’s ridiculous,” Talos blurted out.
“Out of the question,” agreed the prince.
Tensions were rising as fast as Lluava’s discomfort. She looked at Derrick, imploring him to back her. He stared back but did not respond. He was right, wasn’t he? They did need these men, no matter the cost?
Lluava leaned toward her partner and whispered urgently into his ear, “We need them. They are angry with us, just as we are angry with them. Give them something, but not all.”
She knew her partner was struggling internally, and she gave his arm a quick squeeze. His body relaxed slightly. Varren’s eyes never left Apex’s face.
“I will raise you a third of your original price.”
“We want the money up front.”
Varren bit his tongue but said, “I will pay half now and half upon completion of our mission.”
Behind Apex, smiles crept onto the brothers’ faces. Even Mila seemed pleased. Yet Apex remained stoical. The trackers’ leader took his time to weigh Varren’s terms.
Glancing at the other huntsmen, Lluava realized they were all grinning. Yamir’s next question indicated he realized it, too. “Do you think they planned this? To con more money out of Varren?”
Listening to Yamir’s wild conspiracy theories had always been a fun pastime. Yet somehow, this one rang true. Lluava wondered if he were right. Was this all part of Apex’s plan?
You can find Ullr’s Fangs on Goodreads
You can buy Ullr’s Fangs here on Amazon
“If they fail to trust each other, the consequences will be devastating. Death and destruction are on the horizon and time is running out.”
About the Author:
Katharine Wibell’s lifelong interest in mythology includes epic poetry like the Odyssey, Ramayana, Beowulf, and the Nibelungenlied. In addition, she is interested in all things animal whether training dogs, apprenticing at a children’s zoo, or caring for injured animals as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. After receiving degrees from Mercer University in both art and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior, Wibell moved to New Orleans with her dog, Alli, to kick start her career as an artist and a writer. Her first literary works blend her knowledge of the animal world with the world of high fantasy.
You can find and contact Katharine here:
- Website blog
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