In the world of the Norse gods, I was majorly impressed with S.T. Bende and her merry band. Ull and Kristia had a fate entwined but they had no idea until they met. Kristia was a small town girl from a one light town who felt out of place and in need of an adventure. Ull was God of Winter whose heart was covered in ice but not frozen. With the threat of Ragnarok and everything hanging in the balance, they found love in each other.
Reading this book, I mostly enjoyed the interaction with both characters because they found quiet in the noise of what was happening around them which we need more of in this world. Kristia had a sense of self that was humorous and enlightening at the same time. I found her to be like any other young woman you would meet. One who worries about her future, craving life in its entirety and who appreciates a good looking guy in her class. She left her town in search of an adventure and found the rest of her life. I myself have had that moment where I want to move and find myself stuck. It is when we do out of character things or things that are unexpected we find out what we are made of. We find ourselves.
Things were a bit different and as devastating for Ull. He was born in Asgard and knew who he was and what he was meant to do in a general sense. Yet he seemed to have an emptiness, a hole that was waiting to be filled. He had closed off himself to the world after his father died and his mother remarried Thor. As the God of Winter and a former warrior, Ull's heart froze over with ice yet it was as warm as the summer sun. Kristia, a mere human undid all that and became his world.
Of course, while love is hard at work, so is evil. The 'Elf Man' or 'Elfie' as Kristia would call him, plagued her dreams. Now in some other books break away scenes would give the reader insight on what is going on with the antagonist however, Bende placed those moments flush in the plot. I thought it was integrated well. It was not a case of the reader being the only one knowing what is going on but so did a protagonist. But just to make sure things didn't get flat in the story, the dreams don't give too much insight on the antagonist and vice versa. It was a genius way to write and play with the format of fictional writing that I can definitely appreciate.
The story, gives some light as to what to expect in the rest of the series, which I must say just keeps on giving. I don't want to give too much away. So go ahead and dive into this one. It's fresh and gives the Norse mythology as much credit as the ever popular Greeks.
I give it two thumbs up and 4.5 stars. Go get your copy on Amazon.
We had the pleasure to speak with the brilliant author, S.T. Bende. Check out the interview.
Editor: Why not Greek mythology?
S.T. Bende: My heritage is Scandinavian, and the Norse myths really resonate with me. They're dark and heavy and intense, yet at the same time have an overarching theme of family, and forgiveness, and love. They're truly beautiful. Plus, writing about Norse gods been a way to deepen my bond with my long-suffering Norwegian teacher, Olaug. (Yes, there is a real Olaug!) I'm not the greatest language student, so I'm showing her my appreciation by spreading love of the myths. ;)
Editor: What was your writing process for the series?
S.T.Bende: I never meant to publish The Elsker Saga. It started out as a story I wrote in my journal, just for fun, just for me. This little journal story kept going, and going, and when it was finished I realized I'd reached an absurd page count -- I'd inadvertently written three books! By then I was so in love with the characters that I wondered if anyone else might like them too, and after a kind of crazy journey, Tur, Elsker, Endre and Tro were published. These days my writing process is a lot more organized -- but I'm so grateful I got to have the experience of 'accidentally' writing the Elsker books. It was an incredible ride!
Editor: What more can we look forward to from you?
S.T. Bende: I know readers are gunning for a Gunnar story, but I'm not ready to go there with him just yet. Next up I get to introduce you to Gunnar's brother Henrik Andersson, and Henrik's own Norse crew. Perfekt Control, first book of The Aere Saga, releases this December. These guys are a little more battle worn than the Elsker crew, but they're every bit the family that Ull, Kristia, Gunnar and Inga eventually become. I can't wait for you to meet them!
Editor: Will there be more from the Norse gods?
S.T. Bende: You betcha. :) The Aere Saga will run concurrently with The Elsker Saga, meaning it starts at the same time as Tur, the Elsker Saga prequel. You'll definitely see some character crossovers in the new series -- I'm having all kinds of fun playing with TWO Andersson brothers! And as for Gunnar and Inga, I've got a really fun plan for them . . . as soon as I finish out these Aere books!
Editor: Did you always want to write?
S.T. Bende: I've never thought of myself as a writer. Elsker was only ever meant to be a journal story! I love to create, and I love to make people smile. And while I came into this whole world very much by accident, writing has been an enormous blessing. I'm so very thankful to every single reader who's taken this wild journey with me. Y'all are the reason I get to keep on writing about these crazy Norse gods, and I'm beyond grateful that you're willing to dream across the realms with me. From the bottom of my heart, mange takk. Thank you.
Editor: What advice would you give to a buddy author/ writer?
S.T. Bende: Write what you love, no matter how out there it seems. Your passion for your characters will come through in your words, and you'll be that much more motivated to push through on rough writing days. I never would have imagined anyone but me would want to read a story about college-aged Norse deities (I mean seriously. I know how crazy it sounds even as I write this!). And I am so very, very grateful I am to every single reader who's taken a chance on these stories. Thank you!!
We wish her the best and we will be forever fans.