The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 391
Format: e-ARC
Source: NetGalley, publisher

From ​the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation.

Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

*Note:  This book was provided to The Book Hookup by the Publisher via NetGalley but that did not in any way influence this review!

I haven’t read a fantasy book in a while and boy am I glad that this book lured me back in.  Of course, I chose it because, as far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with an Amy Harmon book.  Her writing is perfection and her characters always find a way into my heart.  And, guess what, with this book she’s done it again!  Mixing well-known Norse mythology with a world of her own creation, Ms. Harmon has written a story that I can easily see being made into a movie – one with action, deception, and just a touch of romance.

The author makes us work for this one.  There’s a lot of background information to explore and years of history to understand.  There are also many characters to get to know and love.  This means that, as a reader, you have to be patient during the first few chapters…it may feel a tad slow but, trust me, it’s worth the time you put in because once this book takes off you have to hold on tight.  There are characters you’ll love and those you’ll loath, and their interactions come in both the expected and unexpected varieties.  Each has their story to tell.  So much so that you will feel there are many leading characters in this story – so many of them will peak your curiosity and touch your heart.

I know I haven’t told you much about the story but, trust me, this is one you want to explore on your own.  You’ll want to emerse yourself in this world and let the story wash over you, you’ll want to spend time with these characters and will root for them to get what they want, and you will be sad to leave this world when it’s over.  Once again, Ms. Harmon has proven that she can write anything she wants and make it an indisputable 5-star story!

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