By Juliet Marillier.
Considering it was aquired not long after it was released (I actually think it was a gift, or a rightous vengeance over me convincing said person to read the Scavenger Trilogy), it really took me some time to finish. The book mark was over 2 years old (containing a receit with scribbled notes of when I was working december 2006), and if I remember it right it was the second time I tried reading it, but gave up. Since I now let someone else choose the order of what I read, I had to finish it now, so at least my soul can rest in peace in that regard.
No offence in general (ok, it is an offence in general) to female authors, but this book has its female author badge on it, really. The book can perhaps be labeled as historic fiction fantasy or something like that - it's main character (Eyvind) is a boy and laer on man from Rogaland, during the time of the Vikings. At a young age he has to take care of someone important's brother that is seemingly weak, and they grow close and end up with bonds of loyalty. The important person then gets an expedition going to (if I get it right) what would be the orkneys - and there the main character Eyvind has to juggle loyalties, conscience, love and some other stuff up against each other. And you get a culture clash between vikings and the local populace and some other stuff.
What always made me put away the book was that the telling of the tale, the place, the people, the choices, was always overshadowed by the book's lovestory. It's the usual forbidden/impossible thing that will never happen, and the two characters you get to know best thinks about it most of the time. Even after over 2 years away from the book, it took me 4 pages max to remember it all, because the rest of the plot ends up being pretty short all in all, and gets repeated as the characters ponder on it..sometimes, when they aren't doing the "ooo I wish she was here" "ooo I wish he was here" routine. This is insanely annoying. It's like KJ Parker I suppose, that often goes overboard on some details that just ruin the story and its progress at times, but the difference is that I can enjoy that. This lovestory isnt even remotely interesting to read about..
On the other hand, it is well written. The characters also tend to be pretty neatly done, even if there is pretty evil acts in the book, the "villain" has a bit more depth than just being some evil bad guy. And it's a bit more fresh with the fantasy element of the book being made up of viking and celtic gods and mysteries. And the last paragraph of the book shows really what it could've been, if not for the 5 pages before it stalling the interesting bit, the ending suited the book well in that regard.
I doubt I will ever read it again, or read anything else by the author.