Review of Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland

It is 1036. Halfdan is a Viking mercenary who is determined to travel to Constantinople and become one of the Viking Guard serving Empress Zoe. He promises to take his daughter, but one morning Solveig wakes up to find him gone. Setting off in her own tiny boat, she is determined to make the journey from Norway to the breathtaking city. Her boat is washed up, but Solveig is undeterred. What awaits Solveig as she continues on her summer journey across the world? She finds passage with Viking traders, witnesses the immolation of a young slave girl and learns to fight. She sees the clashes between those who praise her Norse Gods and the new Christians. In this perilous and exciting world, a young girl alone could be quickly endangered or made a slave. Will Solveig live to see her father again, and if she survives, will she remain free? A glittering novel that explores friendship and betrayal, the father-daughter relationship, the clash of religions and the journey from childhood to adulthood.

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I was expecting/hoping for this book to be a gripping tale of a young girl's journey from her home to Miklagard, with many dangers along the way, the sort of book that I would stay up late reading, wanting to find out if Sloveig managed to find her way to her father. What I did get was rather bland. There's plenty of dangers and Sloveig nearly dies at one point but something went wrong and I found myself bored at times. I think the problem was that with these sort of stories I usually expect many different characters (after all, she's travelling pretty far) but I got stuck with the same people nearly the whole way through and there seemed to be a lot of sitting around on a ship. It kind of reminded me of the latest POTC installment at times, only with a less interesting cast.

The Viking elements/world is pretty strong in this. My partner is heavily into Vikings so I know a little myself but still managed to learn some more from this book. I recently bought him Kevin's other book, The Norse Myths, which my OH enjoyed, so I can safely say the author knows what he's talking about when it comes to Vikings. I definitely recommend tis if you're a Viking fan.

Sleveig's character is good but a little stereotypical. I like that she was willing to look after herself and took a lot of crap from people without letting it get her down but I think there was also a little too much of 'you're young, you're female, you're useless'. I think some romance would have really helped here but there was none.

When I finally got to the end I was pretty excited. I was hoping that it would an awesome Father - Daughter reunion but it was quite rushed and not what I was hoping for. I guess the Author wanted to leave some space for the next book but it would have been nice if he'd have given me something to make me want to read the next book.

3/5

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