I loved the beginning very much. I was immediately hooked and drawn into the story. Two girls entering womanhood, only one can be chieftain of their woman-dominated clan. They're even pitted against each other. The survivor can be chieftain...
Did I mention they are cousins?
One becomes a chieftan, one becomes Fargoer. I loved the introduction into this woman-dominated society. I wanted more of it, their beliefs, their ways, how they live...but all too soon, the story took me away from them and threw me into the world of the Vikings--cruel bastards that enslave others and pillage and very nearly break the heroine.
The book began to drag at that point, and there were some things I just did not understand or believe..such as a bunch of slaves...with ONE master...in three years, they never once manage to best him? At three against one?
But...it makes for a good yarn. However, my quibble still stands. I would have loved this book a lot more had it stayed with the woman-dominated clan, delved deeper into that world. I also felt like I never got to know the heroine as much I wanted to, especially before all this bad stuff started happening to her.
She's really very kick-ass and realistic--has strengths and weaknesses. The short story formatting of this (a few shorts in a novel), the jumping ahead many, many years and not really focusing on anything beyond the major moments of her life didn't do her justice. She's really very awesome.
I recommend this for anyone who loves strong women and folklore both.