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The Lifeblood of Ill-fated Women (The Blood, Sun, and Moon.) (Volume 1) Paperback – January 1, 2017
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This is an incredible book that poignantly represents the Viking spirit, crafted with wonderful characters like Astrid, Kol, Yrsa and many others. The Lifeblood of Ill-fated Women will transport readers into a world with the kind of violence and warfare only the Vikings know. The plot is fast-paced, constructed with short chapters that are quick to read, all packed with intense action. Kevin James Breaux stands out as a master of his craft, and the writing is exquisite, laced with vivid descriptions that allow readers to penetrate the minds of the characters and to relive the electrifying actions in their imaginations. I enjoyed the references to Viking lore and mythology, especially the part that Odin, the father of all the Vikings, plays in the life of the characters, and the powerful quest for Valhalla that throbs within their breasts. This is a gripping story that reads like a great movie.
From the Author
Gold Award - Hungry Monster Book Review March 2017
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Kevin James Breaux brings readers into a distant world where people are stilled ruled by the Nordic Gods. Times of war are ending and settlements are turning more to farm towns and less militant. Astrid arrives in one of these small farming towns called Gromstad. She is convinced Warren is her captor and she must escape, frightened by her lack of memory, she cannot comprehend that her home Birka is long gone and far away. Breaux does an excellent job bringing the reader into Astrid’s mind and seeing her paranoia and fear, her confusion and inner struggles. Even once the secret of her past as a Valkyries is revealed through her sister, she is still faced with even deeper struggles and decisions. Like all great epic tales, this one delivers the deep character development and inner conflict to match the action that is going on outside of the character’s inner struggles. The relationship of Warren and Astrid is hot and cold. There are some graphic sex scenes but their love and passion is a contrast to Astrid’s warrior goddess nature. The world they live in is being sieged upon by demons and Astrid must use her powers as a Valkyrie to save herself, Yrsa and the town. Typical of hero’s in epic tales like this, things are not so easy. Astrid must make sacrifices and choices that will impact the rest of her life, and the lives of the people she cares for. Breaux shows this inner struggle and lets Astrid’s personality take over the story driving it forward. The other characters react to Astrid and further the plot along showing their own personality traits and allowing them to be dynamic characters not just filler for novel. The overall development of plot and characters is well balanced making it appealing to people looking for an adventure as well as a love story.
Astrid is the focus of the novel, but her interactions with the other characters brings forward additional stories for Kevin James Breaux to add to the series. He already has the next book in the works and I am sure it will continue this epic journey and bring more characters to life as he did for Astrid.
It starts out with Astrid being awoken by her sister, Yrsa, because there is a battle where they were sleeping. Astrid gets up, goes out to fight, and then passes out. When she wakes up, she’s in a completely different place, dressed completely differently, and nothing is what it’s supposed to be. Astrid thinks that the gods are testing her but she doesn’t know who to trust.
I spent most of the first half of the book completely confused along with Astrid, wondering what was happening, why she was where she was, and if she should trust Warren, the handsome man. I figure that was the author’s point—to make us just as confused as Astrid—but it was still slightly off-putting not knowing what was true and what was false.
One thing that was definitely difficult for me was the slow pace throughout the beginning. Because there was so much background building, it made for a slow plot. However, once that was done and the story was set, the action could take off—and take off it did!
Warren, Astrid’s love interest, is kind and sweet. Sometimes I doubted that he was truthful because of how kind he was. I got myself into Astrid’s mindset—does he truly mean it, or does he have some sinister plot? However, I did feel like sometimes Astrid and Warren got a bit too close too quickly. There wasn’t much buildup with them, it was just BAM! Instantaneous attraction.
Many of the secondary characters in this book weren’t as fleshed out as I’d like them to be, especially because they seemed interesting. Take Yrsa, for example. She seems interesting, but we don’t really see her much until the second half of the book. Even then, she isn’t really fleshed out. And Yrsa is supposed to be a strong Viking woman, and spends most of the time seeming… meek. However, I didn’t really mind, especially since this is meant to be a series. I feel like the fleshing out of other characters will be done throughout the next books in the series.
Emmerich, however, didn’t need more fleshing out. He was the vilest person in this book, and I thoroughly hated him. Just when I thought that maybe he was okay—nope never mind, he’s still a jerk. I really loved how the author was able to make this character so hate-able. That’s definitely a skill that most authors haven’t honed, but Breaux most definitely has.
I applaud Kevin Breaux for being able to write characters that I fully empathize with. He has definitely created a unique world with an interesting spin on Norse Mythology. I really enjoyed the world-building throughout this book, and am looking forward to the next books in the series. I recommend this book to people who don’t mind gore and love unique takes on mythology, surprising events, and strong women.
Bloody violence that'll make Grandma call the cops on you for reading such filthy material ...
Steamy sex scenes that'll earn you funny looks on the bus ...
Mysterious circumstances in the beginning that'll make you keep reading to find out what's going on ...
And at least one character whom you can relate to, whether it's Astrid, the Viking woman warrior whose vanity comes from her strength, Warren, who's learned the simple values of hard honest work, or Hammond, who could have been Hugh Hefner had he only lived a few hundred years later.
But in the end, a compelling story is what I was looking for, and it wasn't what I got. What could have been an interesting psychological fantasy thriller turned into a simple monster fest. It's not the author's fault his book went against my expectations, but I think there's more he could have done with it.
I'll give Breaux credit for having better prose than some other indie titles I've read, but I wish he had better follow-up after a certain night when our heroes encounter the grim leavings of a battle. The scene was horrifying and mysterious, yet the characters never bother to talk about it afterward; it's as if it was completely normal to them and not worth discussing.
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