ARC REVIEW: The First Girl Child – by Amy Harmon @amazonpub @aharmon_author

Title: The First Girl Child
Author: Amy Harmon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
First published: August 20th 2019
Publisher: 47North
Finished reading: July 22nd 2019
Pages: 400

“I’ve come to believe that home is not a place. Home is inside of us. Home is the people we love. Home is what we strive for.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and 47North in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I consider Amy Harmon to be one of my absolute  favorite authors and her stories never fail to blow me away. What makes her books stand out is that with each new title we get offered a completely unique story belonging to a wide variety of genres. There are not many authors who can pull off more than one genre, and Amy Harmon is able to do so with utter and total success. The First Girl Child has once again proven to me that she truly is a brilliant writer. I already fell in love with her 2019 historical fiction release, What The Wind Knows, earlier this year, and this new fantasy title is the second book to receive the full five star rating this year. Want to know why you should add The First Girl Child to your wishlist straight away?

This is already my sixth Amy Harmon book and my first time reading one of her fantasy stories (I’ve been meaning to read The Bird And The Sword for ages though), and I was completely blown away by it. I know already that The First Girl Child will stay with me for a long time… Its high fantasy world being one of the favorite places I’ve been lucky enough to visit so far this year. Oh yes, the worldbuilding in this story is absolutely brilliant. Using Norse mythology influences, Amy Harmon has created a new God and son of Odin named Saylok, and has shaped the fantasy world around his story. I loved the idea behind the star-shaped island of Saylok, with its different clans named after the different animals representing the children of Saylok. And the animals are not just for decoration, as the inhabitants of each clan bear a resemblance to their respective animal in both a physical way and through their customs. You will find many many references to the Nordic culture and myths as you are reading Bayr’s story, and this was personally a huge bonus for me as I have a weak spot for Norse mythology and Nordic culture in general.

While the different clans and the inner workings of life in Saylok might have that historical feel, The First Girl Child also gives us a proper dose of fantasy with the help of the magic of the Keepers and the Runes. The fact that we don’t know a lot about the history behind the Runes and its power, other than that it’s basically blood magic, only adds to the mystery around the Keepers and the role they play in protecting Saylok. The Keepers play a big role throughout the story, with the main character Bayr growing up with them, and Temple Hill was a fascinating backdrop for Bayr’s story in general. The plot is well constructed and is build around the curse his dying mother put on Saylok and all its inhabitants. No girls will be born from the day she voiced her curse and died, and Bayr will be Saylok’s only hope… With no further explanation about how he is supposed to save Saylok available straight away, I kept eagerly reading and I loved seeing the future slowly unravel. Years pass in a fluent way, and the pace is kept at a speed that will make you turn those pages like there is no tomorrow. The brilliant writing only adds to this feeling and gives The First Girl Child the high quality I’ve come to expect when it comes to Amy Harmon‘s books.

But this story is nothing without its characters. Bayr, Alba, Ghost, Dagmar… Those are only a few of the characters that will win over your heart and make you fall in love with this story. The main stars of The First Girl Child are Bayr and Alba, and I adored both their characters and their relationship together. The character development in general is brilliantly done and shows them evolving realistically over time. The fact that nobody but Dagmar knows about the curse gives the story an interesting twist, and that is not the only secret that is being kept from the other characters. Things slowly escalate as years pass without another girl child being born, and I had a fantastic time learning all about Bayr and Alba’s story. The First Girl Child ended with a bang and without doubt left me wanting for more… And I’ll keep my fingers crossed we’ll get to visit Saylok and its characters again some time in the future.

The worldbuilding, the Norse mythology influences, the characters and their development, the plot, the writing… Oh yes, there were plenty of reasons that made me give The First Girl Child the full five stars it deserves. I can highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a good fantasy story with characters you cannot help but fall in love with and a healthy dose of Nordic references. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.


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WWW Wednesdays #232 – July 24th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m so excited to be finally reading Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this series in general and I’ll be looking forward to catch up and join the blog tour for the third book in September. ❤ I’m also very excited to be meeting Josie Quinn again in Her Silent CryLisa Regan sure knows how to write a fast and suspenseful ride, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Josie and her team this time around. And I’ll be reading the Frankenstein retelling The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been looking forward to read it, and I definitely didn’t realize just how twisted things were going to get during this story. Oh yes, Pretty Girls is without doubt a breathtakingly disturbing read that will chill you to be bone… Just when you think it can’t get more disturbing and twisted, Karin Slaughter let’s you know another nugget of the full truth and disturbing is taken to a whole another level. And again. And again. My main issue with Pretty Girls is simply the credibility of it all. The writing itself was of course excellent and twistedness of the story without doubt made my blood curl. I just think that less would have been more in this case.

2. Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/07
I admit I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of Along The Broken Bay, as you don’t often see a WWII fiction setting in the Philippines and Gina’s story of working in the resistance sounded absolutely fascinating. I was looking forward to fully emerge myself in what I thought would be a new favorite story, but sadly fate had a different reaction for me in store. Because while I still think that the premise of this story is fascinating, unfortunately I can’t say I enjoyed the execution all that much. More in my review on Friday.

3. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 05/08
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour on August 5th!

4. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/08
This story has once again proven to me that Amy Harmon is a truly brilliant writer and can tackle completely different genres with utter and total success. This is the first time reading one of her fantasy stories (I’ve been meaning to try The Bird And The Sword for ages though), and I was blown away by it. The worldbuilding, the Norse mythology influences, the characters and their development, the plot, the writing… Oh yes, there were plenty of reasons that made me give The First Girl Child the full five stars it deserves.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m looking forward to a little break from ARCs and finally start reading those titles I’ve been meaning to read for ages… First up is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which I’m a bit afraid to pick up to be honest because it’s so SO hyped; fingers crossed the hype won’t affect me this time around. I’ve also be meaning to finish another duology by reading The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, which is also one of the last pending titles I need for my BTB Bingo challenge. And I think it’s about time I read Malala Yousafzai’s memoir I Am Malala as well.  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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