Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
by Marissa Campbell
Page Count: ??
Release Date: September 14, 2016
How got: personal buy on discount via Amazon
First attention getter: fan of the first book
It's the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik's friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.
Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn's faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik's past. Marared's threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.
When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales's bloodthirsty grasp.
Star Rating - 5
This second work fixes the issue I had with book one and improved on all other aspects. The author has a way of making history come to life and her characters relatable to the average reader. I grew to love both Avelynn and Alrik more and more as the pages turned. A worthy follow-up to the series premiere, I can't wait for book 3.
My biggest gripe with book one was the small amount of page time given to Avelynn’s and Alrick’s relationship. They might've shared scenes for maybe less than a fourth of the book; not nearly enough to make me believe they were as in love as the book ending portrayed.
So this work was a vast improvement on that front. Their time in Dark Age Wales and their involvement with the politics thereof drew them together as a couple and as partners. They faced danger from many fronts as well as internally through their conflicting personalities and life goals. Yet, their relationship was as emotional and resonant in this work as book one's ending tried to portray. I felt the added time together and the new challenges they faced helped to strengthen their bond and made it more believable this time around. I definitely look forward to more in book 3 when they go to such a different world.
I still love are two leads just as much now as I did in the beginning. Avelynn still comes across as such a flawed heroine, always planning for the future but failing in the carrying out of those plans. She learns from her mistakes but often makes new ones, placing her in as much danger as book one. However, she faces everything with the same courage and spirit. Alrik is our manly Viking: brash, violent, hot tempered, and courageous. Yet, there is a side to him not often seen in fictional Viking men, an emotionally sensitive one. It's evident from the very start that he loves Avelynn with all his heart and respects her abilities and opinions. His emotionally heated ways were a nice foil to Avelynn, though with two such emotional people arguments and confrontations made themselves known.
The historical setting was as excellently portrayed in this second novel. Dark Age Wales seems to be a popular setting for me this year; I think this is the fourth book I've read set there. In my opinion, Campbell has done the best in her setting and bringing this brutal world to life. A rising Catholic Church, old vestiges of former paganism, and the feuding ways of rival kings all our vividly portrayed. Christian Welsh jockeyed for positions against pagan Vikings and old religion Welsh, creating a seething cauldron of politics and suspense. This aspect of the book added great spice to the characters and our main romance.
I'm itching with anticipation for book 3’s release. Where our heroes are headed next, I’ve only read one historical fiction from in this timeframe. I would love to see Avelynn in this setting, given how much the Viking culture respects and values her position as a priestess. Even though they don't worship her particular deity, they respect her position as a divine representative on earth. So bring on book 3!
Edge of Faith is a worthy follow up to its predecessor. The area that needed fixing was addressed; the excellence in all other aspects was continued. Our main leads are as strong and vibrant as before, and historical details bring the story to life. Anyone who does not fall in love with the main romance has no heart! LOL. See the final sentence of the previous paragraph for my final thoughts on book 3. :D