How do you kill a god?
As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.
Fantasy | Young Adult | Romance
Wow, can this be? I loved a YA Fantasy? Who is this person I have become? I know, strange, but honestly I went into Warrior of the Wild with almost no expectations; I didn’t expect to enjoy the flow of the standalone ideal for this synopsis, I probably assumed the heroine was rather meek yet went into the woods to kill a god, so yeah, absolutely did not expect to come out of this any sort of notion that I would love this book. And yet I did.
Let me start with the implication that ‘Whoah’, for a book of barely 300 pages, YA Fantasy as a standalone, it was rather jammed packed. I could definitely see a potential for that lingering question, ‘why wasn’t this a duology or a series – it would have made an absolute phenomenal series’ because if Levenseller wanted to drag this out, she very well could have and it would have been just as amazing. I truly mean that! But since it was only a standalone, it didn’t deter my obsession any less, because again, jammed packed with warrior stab-stab goodness. The flow was just astonishing. Levenseller was able to convey enough development for the characters in both the adventure fantasy aspect while building this viking-ish inspired world building plus an added relationship dynamic, none of which overshadowed the main premise of the book or its outcome. And be mindful, I say viking-ish inspired very loosely because it is there, but it is definitely not full on historical, which isn’t a bad thing in the least – but again, none of this deterred my likeness. Everything was enough to keep me engaged, entertaining, dare I say edge of my seat with anticipation without giving me those ‘scratch my head’ moments trying to keep up with all the circling twists.
I really enjoyed the innocence of the characters. Not in the means of meekness, but these warriors are training to wield an ax, become an adult, and yet there is a stillness of their personalities trying to hold on to their innocent attributes. Between Rasmira (or Raz – I do prefer this for sure) wanting to be accepted by her father, wanting love and being equal, down to the village bullies – Torrin and Havard. Each character really plays this adolescent representation of their personality. I think the character personalities didn’t really shine in this aspect until Raz met Iric and Soren. These boys had this boyish sweetness to them, it really made me smile at every conversation they were involved in. But I am getting ahead of myself…
Raz is definitely a force. From the moment of her introduction she just scream power drill female lead, one I can really get behind and support. Because she is, she is so powerful; she also embraces herself. She is described multiple times as less feminine, it is refreshing to see a character not described as being this beauty. Raz radiates confidence, yet at a certain angle she is flawed – seeking acceptance by her father, wanting her mothers attention (perhaps love…) while also trying to embrace her female side more because she is a woman damn-it, she can love, a woman can be both feminine and a warrior. Not saying that these fleeting girlish feelings aren’t what get her into trouble and honestly weighs her down more throughout, I cannot get over her growth. To finally see her embrace everything about herself, stand on her own and be who she was meant to be.
Did I mention relationship dynamics? Why yes I did. Lo and behold, it is those romantic fleeting moments that gained Raz her banishment in the first place, but this did not stop her from finding more of a romance. Oh the charming, ruggedly handsome Soren. And obviously for me, the romance just worked itself not just through the story but honestly into my heart. The way Soren helps Raz gain her confidence back was well needed for her growth. Though I admitted earlier, she is a fierce character, yet after the incident with Torrin her faith in being a woman not just a warrior was challenged, I think the romance between her and Soren really allowed her to see that being a warrior was beautiful in itself, he showed her this brightness about herself that was both beautiful and empowering. That ending conversation exchange between Soren, Torlhon (Raz’s father) with Raz on looking was just the perfect ending.
With Soren, we get his best friend, Iric. In counter to the romance between Soren and Raz, I must admit, I was swooning hardcore for this bromance. Discovering their failure during the trials in their own village, battling their personal demons and jealousy for themselves to really overcome their current predicament was just amazing. Soren was sweet, kind – definitely a charmer whereas Iric at many times came around as this sarcastic, argumentative personality; these two feeding from one another in the bickering department: Priceless.
Overall, I obviously enjoyed everything about Warrior of the Wild. Though to be fair, after loving her Daughter of the Pirate King duology it really shouldn’t surprise me at all to enjoy her writing style. I cannot get over how this was just such an easy flowing world, between the character dynamics, action and that ending – it was justifiably sublime. I cannot say this enough, it may not have been that historical fiction of the viking world I love to read, but it was still a story of its own will, one that took whatever dislike I have about YA Fantasy and kicked it to the curb. Frightening creatures, conniving gods, action packed with some fun drama – plus main character, she woman, she wields an ax and she is rather badass for it my comrades. I look forward to more of Levenseller’s shining writing style in the future.