Daughter of Fire and Ice by Marie-Louise Jensen

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Daughter of Fire and Ice by Marie-Louise Jensen

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sophie Hickman
Reviewed by Sophie Hickman
Summary: Based in Viking times, and about a fifteen year old girl who travels to Iceland. This writer shows some true potential, but unfortunately this book was poorly plotted and quite boring in parts.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: February 2010
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192728814

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Welcome to Viking times. The land is ruled by a pitiless and greedy Chieftain, Bjorn Svanson, who always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Thora. She is a healer – very useful when you're going to set out on a voyage, and also very pretty. The Chieftain's destination is the land of fire and ice, also known as Iceland. Impatiently, the Chieftain kidnaps Thora, but what he doesn't know is that Thora has powers. Yes, a historical fantasy where the heroine has powers – didn't see that coming did you? She can read auras and at times, see the future. And what she sees is her new master's murder. Before you know it, he has been stabbed and Thora and a mysterious male slave are free. What is their destination still? The land of fire and ice. Impersonating Bjorn Svanson, the male slave commandeers his ships and they sail away to Iceland, where a precarious future awaits. Will Svanson's men follow them across the oceans for revenge? Can they live with what they have done? Will they ever get a chance to be together?

At the beginning the plot is fast-moving and exciting. The writer barely wastes any words and before you know it, you're on a ship, heading for Iceland. Unfortunately, by the time they get to Iceland, the plot begins to slow. There are only two storylines; how they are progressing in Iceland, and Thora's relationship with the man known as Bjorn. Occasionally it does get a bit boring, and sometimes I couldn't bring myself to pick the book up.

On the plus side, the reader really does have a feeling of being there. You're not exactly in Thora's shoes, more a nosy bystander. In some parts of the book, I wasn't sure that this was such a good thing, because some parts are so depressing they really dampen your mood even when you're not reading the book. And while some might think that that is a really great thing, I have to disagree. I like a satisfying book to cheer me up, not bring me down.

As I have mentioned, the writing was very good. The author uses just the right amount of description, just the right amount of detail into what she has researched, and you really feel like you get to know the characters. There are a few surprises as to who's good and who's bad, and occasionally you know something about a character that another character doesn't know and it's almost an 'It's behind you!' moment.

Daughter of Fire and Ice is also sometimes too predictable. There are two main twists, one of which I guessed, and other parts of the plot were so obvious I was almost convinced that Thora was slightly stupid. However, if you're not the sort of person who likes to guess how the plot develops, this may not be an issue.

This book reminded me very much of Celia Rees' Witch Child. It is similarly about a girl with healing and slightly magical powers, who escapes on a ship to a new world (in this case, America) and is also about how she survives there. They really are very alike, apart from them being set in different time periods.

I don't really think this book was for me. I haven't read any of Marie-Louise Jensen's other books, so I can't compare, but if you like writers such as Celia Rees, I would give 'Daughter of Fire and Ice' a go. It is certainly not the best in its genre, for one the fantasy is somewhat dilute, but I think some people might enjoy it. I would recommend this book for teenagers in the mid-years of secondary school.

Overall, the writing was very good, but the story was poor.

Thanks to the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you enjoyed 'Daughter of Fire and Ice' you may also enjoy books by Celia Rees, and for a better example of a historical fantasy, you might want to check out Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge.

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Buy Daughter of Fire and Ice by Marie-Louise Jensen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Daughter of Fire and Ice by Marie-Louise Jensen at Amazon.com.


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