The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

Do not let the blurbs for this book fool you. It will sound like a fantasy retelling of the excellent Children of Men, and it is anything but. As advertised, The First Girl Child is a fantastic read.

While I have never been the biggest fan of novels that begin with children and spend the first quarter of the book ageing them up, Harmon achieves her goal in character development almost flawlessly. To the point that, looking back upon the novel, I would not have wanted her to tackle that challenge in any other way. A duology would have felt superfluous, and would have certainly detracted from the emotional hits which land all-the-better for us not having been able to spend twice the amount of pages getting to know and love Bayr, Alba, Dagmar and Ghost.

The snippets of her character's lives never feel tedious, nor do you feel cheated by the various fast-forwards. Instead, her engrossing mastery of language is altogether absorbing and she spends these vignettes fleshing out a people whose world is as entrancing as they are. Harmon succeeds in the effort of building her own Norse-inspired mythology to run parallel to the tales of Odin and Thor that we know, and once that footing is gained, the world defined, Harmon lets loose with a heart-wrenching story of love, loss and growth spanning the lives of our heroes and villains.

Highly recommend for fans of Queens of the Wyrd, The Saxon Tales, and Beyond A Darkened Shore.

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