Review: The Severed Thread

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The Severed Thread
by Caitlin Vincent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Severed Thread / B003CV7TBC

Varin may be a worthy fighter, but he is still a young man amongst his Viking brothers, and he still has yet to prove himself. As he and his clan sail the icy waters and brave the dangerous shores of untamed lands, he chafes to prove himself to himself, his heart-brother, and his leader.

Marked with beautiful prose, and fluid writing, this excerpt manages to perfectly convey Varin's grace and strength in combat, all against a backdrop of gorgeous scenery and world-building that will make even the most jaded long for winter chills. (And here today I was just thinking that spring was not coming fast enough!) Varin is well characterized as a pleasing combination of youthful exuberance and over-confidence, sprinkled with a desperate need to prove himself to others, and a strong desire for approval and recognition.

If I could make one minor suggestion, it is that Varin is alarmingly competent in the opening battle for a young man with very little combat experience to his credit. In my experience, readers start a book fretting that they may encounter a "Mary Sue", so it might be worth a few extra lines to clearly establish that Varin is not such a character. An easy way to do this would be to either lower Varin's competency a notch (by either letting him get more wounded in the fight, preferably by the group that attacks him, or by having him need a good deal more help from his companions) or by bringing down the competency of the opposing fighters to make Varin's accomplishments less astounding. Incidentally, also, did the Vikings have a phalanx tactic? It might be worth double-checking that fact and adjusting the narrative, if necessary.

Overall, this is a very beautifully written and fresh excerpt (everyone loves Vikings and yet this is the first ABNA excerpt I've read on the subject!) and I would like to read more.

NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.

~ Ana Mardoll

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