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.


5 surprised stars


“We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”



“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” as Ari   (my buddy reader said) this could be the motto of this book!

The first thing that astonished me in this book is a totally different writing style from what I have read from Amy so far. Still very beautiful though.
I can’t pinpoint the difference but it had a more “tale” quality. It was simpler. Naked, free of any unnecessary embellishment. It was raw like these Norse men. And it fitted the story to a T!

The focal point of this story was women’s power or lack of.

The women in that time and place could become warriors but were always second to men. If they were nobles they were seen as investments to forge alliances. And everything began when a woman, Desdemona, was rejected by her lover for a high-ranking woman, hoping to become king that way. But fear the woman you have wronged as she holds a great power!

I loved the power of women. The greed of men and their foolish pride would be their damnation. Decades would go by with great suffering for the people because of a single curse.

You can’t deny that Desdemona could hold a grudge like no one else!


One of our heroes is the young Bayr, Desdemona’s son and he’ll dedicate his life to protect Alba, the daughter of king Bayr.

Bayr was solid. Loyal. A protector. Hel lived for his duty.

Selfless he was humble as he was afflicted by a stutter who made him seem simple to other men. I would say that Bayr himself thought little of his intelligence but it did not bother him. He did not want to outshine everyone. He may have been gifted with enormous strength, looking like Hercules, he just wanted to serve and protect. I dare you not to love that child/man who’d rather observe and listen than talk.

“I want to protect,” Bayr answered without thought or hesitation. It had always been the single-minded purpose of his young life. “I w-want to protect Saylok and the temple. I w-want to protect the princess and the d-daughters of the clans. I want to protect D-Dagmar and the k-keepers.” “You want to protect those you love.” Bayr nodded.

Alba is your free-spirited child. She did not often take center stage. Or at least not before a long time as she was an infant. Bayr would have died for her. From the first second he laid eyes on her, at her birth, she’s been his sole purpose in life!

Of course you can probably guess that a budding romance will come one day but strangely, Alba did feel more like a side character than a main character!


My favorite character in this book was Ghost! I won’t tell too much about her purpose or who she is to whom let’s just say that Ghost embodies maternal love in its purest form. I loved her because she was gentle even after having been ostracized for her otherness all her life. Fate never smiled on her. Yet she discreetly protected in her own way.

She touched my heart and soul. I prayed for her HEA. I wanted her to have some joy she’s been denied for so long.

“You are still very young.” “I am old inside,” she whispered, and he nodded as though he understood.


I realize while writing this review that both Bayr and Ghost were humble characters. And I seem to appreciate these kind characters. Because that’s one of the things Amy does best: take ordinary men and women (well Bayr was maybe not ordinary) and make them extraordinary.

Last but not least of our main characters, Dagmar was a worthy hero. He was a father to Bayr. A humble man determined to be a keeper and fight his warrior of a father to follow his dream. But as much as becoming a keeper was his dream he would have renounced his calling if it meant losing Bayr.

I was immediately immersed in that story as I loved the plot, the mythology, learning to understand these people. That book is filled with Norse magic, with the power of runes. Blood runes that could curse a whole land. Blood runes that should not be known by everyone as they held so much power!


And I loved that grand finale!  I wanted to shout “Atta girl!”


The pace is just right, not rushed nor too slow; the villain was a true villain who had two faces and the hero was strong gifted by the gods similar to the heroes of old from mythology.
What more reason do you need to read it????


Thanks for reading!


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