The Fall of Waterstone

Orbit. (Black Land’s Bane, Bk. 2). Jun. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9780316440530. pap. $19.99. FANTASY
Saintcrow continues her Norse-inspired “Black Land’s Bane” trilogy (after A Flame in the North) with this second epic fantasy. Elemental volva Solveig and her shield maiden, Arneior, have traveled far into the North as weregild for the skin-changer wolf Eol and his friend, the immortal Elder Aeredh. Through the treacherous cold and harrowing attacks by misshapen monsters, Sol and Arn discern that the weregild pact was made deceitfully, and they will never see home again. Instead, the Northerners have always planned on taking Sol far north to the Elder haven of Waterstone, a beautiful but hidden refuge from the Enemy of the Black Land. There, a weapon created by the only other known elemental is hidden in a magical tower—and Sol is the only one who can use it. Even as Sol and Arn grow closer to their captors-turned-allies, treachery is found at every turn.
VERDICT Saintcrow’s attention to detail and fantastical worldbuilding, inspired by Norse Viking legends and places, merits her series’ comparison to classic epic fantasies like J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time.”
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