The Songweaver’s Vow by Laura Vanarendonk Baugh
Genre: fantasy, mythology
Publisher: Aeclipse Press
Reviewed by: Kaitlyn Carter
Fiction Addict Scorecard: A
This book was read in a breath—a sharp inhale, holding it in as the pages turned, followed by a long exhale.
A myth retold with a myth, The Songweaver’s Vow recalls the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros but employs the cast of Norse mythology and the gods of Asgard to tell the tale. Euthalia is sold into slavery among Viking warriors, but her worst fears are realized when she is sacrificed as a bride to a god. Transported to Asgard by her god/husband, she is visited by him only by night and forbidden to look upon him. By day, Euthalia is drawn into the intrigue of Odin’s court, populated by such entities as Thor, Loki, Fenrir, and Hel. In Asgard, gods and monsters can be deceiving, or perhaps disguised, and it isn’t long before Euthalia must fight for love against all odds.
One might call this book reminiscent, almost tribute-like, to C.S. Lewis’s acclaimed Till We Have Faces, and is certainly comparable in many respects. And the myths of ancient days often are, tragedy rounds every corner. Baugh uses this tragedy skillfully, shaping it to exploring the concepts of the monsters hidden within. Everyone, from beautiful, talented Euthalia, to her cursed husband Vidar, to the lying Loki, and manipulative Freyja, are capable of great evil as well as good. The story also carries strong elements of love and devotion, particularly within marriage. Euthalia goes great lengths to be reunited with her love, Vidar, and even when spurned, Loki’s wife, Sigyn, is valiantly loyal despite her often unfaithful and malicious husband. On the subject of marriage, the act of sexual intercourse is portrayed as a part of marriage, as well as an expression of love and devotion between husband and wife, a theme that resounds until the final page.
With such pantheons of mythology, intrigue and violent ventures are to be expected. Torturous punishments, violent executions, epic battles with monsters, and pillaging Vikings can all be found within The Songweaver’s Vow’s pages. Also present is some crude humor and sexual content and conversations, though not vividly graphic or descriptive.
At its core, I can only describe this book as beautiful, thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end, and there may be several pages dotted with tears.