Title: The Stone of Sorrow (Runecaster #1)
Author: Brooke Carter
Pub. Date: April 7, 2020
In a land of myth and ice, seventeen-year-old Runa Unnursdóttir is not the runecaster her clan has been hoping for. She spends her days daydreaming of sailing away and exploring the world instead of studying the runes and learning her spells. The villagers consider her odd, in looks and in manner. She’s nothing like her talented sister, Sýr, keeper of the sacred moonstone that ensures the village’s continued survival. But when a rival clan led by an evil witch raids the village and kidnaps her sister, Runa is forced to act. With a fallen Valkyrie by her side, and the help of a gorgeous half-elf Runa is not quite sure she can trust, the apprentice must travel to the site of an ancient runecasting competition to try to win back the magical gem. But the journey will not be easy; the three unlikely companions encounter malevolent and supernatural creatures at every turn. Somehow, Runa must summon the courage and strength to face her destiny, a destiny she never wanted. Or die trying.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for the review copy.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m interested to see what’s next for Runa. It was a pretty quick read and I kept wanting to turn the page to find out what happened next.
I didn’t go into this book with really any expectations. I saw it on NetGalley, liked the cover, the synopsis sounded interesting, so I requested it. Honestly, the Norse/Viking elements sold me instantly. I liked Runa, I liked Oski and I liked Einar. I liked their connections and relationships. I did find Runa a little annoying at the beginning, but as she gained confidence and a purpose, I ended up really liking her character. Not going to lie, I had a little trouble picturing Oski and a little trouble picturing Einar as well. But the world the author created was easy to picture and I really liked how it encompassed a bunch of different terrains. It definitely lent to the fantasy element of this book and how their world works.
While I did enjoy this book, there’s something about it that I’m finding a little hard to put into words. Something that bothered me just a little bit.
For whatever reason, Norse Mythology in YA always falls a bit short for me? Like, too much is either skimmed over or included. The plots tend to progress way too quickly, and relationships go from 0 to 100 pretty quickly. I guess I was just left wanting more? I know there are more books, I’m assuming this is going to be a trilogy, so I know there is more story to tell. It just felt like this plot progressed so fast. Like, nothing annoys me more, than journey’s in books, happening in practically a blink of an eye, or vast amounts of land being covered in mere days.
Yes, it’s fantasy, suspend your disbelief, I get it. And true, I don’t know how large this island they live on is, but I’m assuming maybe two weeks pass between the inciting incident and the climax, and yet, they’ve traveled all over this damned island…
I don’t buy it.
There’s also moments in this book where things aren’t what they seem, but it’s more convoluted than, for example,
the strawberry isn’t a strawberry, but a banana…but really, it’s not a banana either, but an orange
…and I’m just left with, why couldn’t we have just gone from strawberry to orange and not done this whole weird work around?
There were just moments in this book that I didn’t get why they were the way they were.
I think ultimately, to narrow it all down to one thing, I found the pacing too fast. I want journey books to be longer. I definitely don’t think this is a bad book by any means. I liked the story, just wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style. I loved Runa’s character growth and her relationships with her friends and family. Runa was probably my favorite aspect of this book, which is amazing, since I honestly thought I was going to end up not liking her. It’s because of Runa’s character growth and how the story ended, that makes me a bit excited for the next book.
Ultimately, I enjoyed this book, despite my few ‘issues’. If you’re looking for a quick, Norse Mythology/Viking inspired story, about learning to love and accept yourself then you may want to check this out. It’ll be out April 7, so mark your calendars!