Avelynn: The Edge of Faith (Avelynn, Book #2)
by Marissa Campbell
Release Date: September 26th 2016
2016 Marissa Campbell
Genre: Fiction / Historical
Source: Review copy from HF Virtual Book Tours
4 / 5 Stars
It's the year 871.
Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as
she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among
Alrik's friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers,
Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war
threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to
become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight
against Rhodri the Great.
Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks
to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik
as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn's
faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle
with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik's past. Marared's threats turn
deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to
question her beliefs and role as priestess.
When Avelynn and
Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with
regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and
ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will
stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free
from Wales's bloodthirsty grasp.
Avelynn: The Edge of Faith is the second book in the Avelynn series and so far, I like this book far more than the first one. It is edgier and grittier than the first, and the author did a great job with the descriptions, creating vivid ones, making you feel like you were part of the story. I also thought it was much faster-paced than the first one, although that is not the reason why I liked this one better.
Avelynn is a very determined character and I have grown to like her independence and her spirit quite a bit. She doesn't whine about her situation, but takes aggressive control of whatever spot she is in and fights really hard to stay on top without really hurting those around her, even giving second chances to those she really shouldn't. Fortunately, she has a band of very scary Vikings behind her, led by her lover Alrik, who is also fighting to regain his previous power and position in his home land. I like how Alrik and Avelynn come to blows at times, and it is not always Avelynn who gives in; it is just so much more realistic for someone who has known her whole life she was being brought up to rule to win a few of the battles against Alrik, showing her inner strength and force. She is also learning how to wield her power and I found this learning process to be quite interesting.
There were many themes in this novel including loyalty, friendship, strength, power, ambition, friendship, and politics, but one of the ones I liked the most was the subtle one involving women and power. Women didn't seem to have a lot of power during these times, but the author shows how deceptive this was because the type of power women yielded was through their knowledge, their intelligence, and their skillful manipulations of men. Avelynn and many of the women in this story used very clever manipulations to solve problems or to get men to do their bidding while making it seem as if it was their idea in the first place and I found it quite fascinating, often holding my breath wondering how the situation would turn out.
Avelynn: The Edge of Faith was a very satisfying read, with many twists and turns, although it does have a more satisfying ending than the first book did. I liked the descriptions of the various pagan rituals as well as the descriptions of daily life, but that is something that I enjoy. While I wasn't a bit fan of Alrik at the beginning, and am still feeling ambivalent towards him, he has grown on me somewhat as his character has developed and I am hoping to learn a bit more about him in the next novel as I feel there is still to much of a shadow regarding him and his life to be satisfying. If you like medieval historical fiction though, I do recommend that you pick up this series and give it a try.