It read like a dark fantasy with a HEA. It's kind of a harsh world where many have died from the plague and people live simply, off farming, bartering, and other jobs, like sewing and fishing, etc. But I quite enjoyed it, even though I found out there are like six billion books in this series and am freaking out about the idea of continuing.
I thought it must have been pretty obvious to everyone that the MacHalos someone must have held me at gunpoint to force me to read this delightful story, but I wanted to make things clear for the most clueless decapods among you. To be disgustingly honest, I was bloody shrimping petrified wasn't too terrified at the thought of reading this book.
(English translation, paperback) A rather spooky cult classic in Europe, Spellbound is the first of 47 books in The Legend of the Ice People series, originally written in Swedish by the prolific Margit Sandemo. In my view, the best aspects of this book are the setting (including history and tone) and the characterization (especially of the heroine). Basic plot of this story and the series: In the 16th Century, when Denmark ruled Norway and rebels revolted, an orphaned teenage girl (Silje) and a social outcast (Tengel) gradually fall in love, even though he initially resists, loathing himself and unwilling to produce offspring to continue the cursed line. Long story short, Tengel and Silje begin a dynasty that must eventually -- by the end of the series -- destroy the approaching evil that threatens the entire world, for Tengel's ancestor made a pact with the devil, and that pact continues in every generation. The story is set in Norway, 1581, moving from the city of Trondheim to Benedikt's farm at the foot of the glacial Barren Mountains, and finally straight up, into the shadowy mountains. Ignoring her superstitions, Silje gathers the cold infant into her arms, and -- not knowing the newborn's gender, wrapped as he is in rich fabrics -- declares:"I have found thee in the darkness of night. Therefore I baptize thee Liv, if thou art a girl.This same compassionate heart that warms to tiny Dag gives Silje the ability to see lovable qualities in an ugly -- but tender, protective, and sexy -- hero the rest of the world calls evil, and to befriend the most repulsive old crone (!!!) I have ever met between the bindings of a book (*shuddering*). Silje intuitively knew old Hanna's heart, and despite her revulsion, named her firstborn child Liv Hanna.
47 volumes of a guilty pleasure.
Originally published in Danish (right?) in 1982 and translated into English in 2008, Spellbound is a classic Nordic historical fiction-fantasy series. Our love interest, Tengel of the (cursed) Ice People, isn't your typical swoon-worthy guy, but that's kind of what makes him swoon-worthy? Silje (I'm just sticking with "Cilia" on this one) is kind of modest and virtuous and blah blah because she was raised that way, but her attitude towards sex isn't boring and I actually thought she was pretty interesting for a girl of her time. What I was not expecting was to finish the book, read the quick excerpt for the next one, and see a list of the entire 47 BOOKS IN THE SERIES.*Imagines having to track down another 46 obscure English translations, considers whether this is maybe only a one-star book afterall.*
This long digression to say that: I'm grateful to Anna Halager, who translated book #1 of the long-lived fantasy saga The Legend of the Ice People by Norwegian-Swedish author Margit Sandemo; but the translation was awful. I blame the rather bad quality of the writing on the translator because I can't imagine that a best-selling, beloved author like Sandemo apparently is could write a book where everyone is either despondent or compassionate, all the time, sometimes more than once in the same sentence.
This is where Margit Sandemo started writing a series of books that was unlike anything else at the time. I didn't get around to read these books until more than a decade later. Later I was holding off reading these because they were a "saga". To me it sounded like an educational series of books. Since then I've read the whole series at least 3 times, and I've connected with the various characters.
Niekoniecznie wiedziaam te czego mam si po niej spodziewa, ale po pierwszej czci jestem naprawd zadowolona. Ksika jest bardzo krótka, to zaledwie jeden epizod w yciu Silje, jednowtkowy, ale mimo to autorka bardzo wyranie i zgrabnie zarysowaa nam ówczesn sytuacj polityczn obszaru. Silje jest bardzo ciekaw bohaterk. Jest odwana i wojownicza, ale posiada te dusz artystki i wielkie serce które kazao je zaj si sierotami. Gdyby to bya jedna osobna ksika, a moe nawet trylogia, to pewnie przyczepiabym si do zbyt powierzchownego opisania niektórych kwestii, ale Saga o Ludziach Lodu liczy sobie a 47 czci, wic pewnie niektóre kwestie si jeszcze rozwin. Jest te bardzo klimatyczna i zapowiada co naprawd dobrego, bo to jedynie wstp do sagi.
3.5 stars MacHalo Buddy Read I enjoyed this story.