Author: Karen Perkins
Title: Ill Wind (Valkyrie Series Book 2)
Genre: Historical Fiction
‘Gabriella Berryngton is an unhappy and oppressed fourteen-year-old girl living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1683. She dreams of escaping her bitter, ambitious stepfather and sailing off into the unknown.
Her dreams come true when her stepfather sells her into marriage.
Aboard the Freyja, she is hopeful that her new life in the Dutch West Indies will be an improvement – a hope that dies when she is given a slave, Klara, and a whip. She discovers that her soon-to-be father-in-law is a ruthless slave trader in league with pirates, and her fiancé is cold, unfriendly and disinterested in Gabriella. She is little more than a vessel to provide the next generation of van Eckens.
Largely ignored and desperately unhappy, she and Klara develop a friendship which makes life bearable – at first. Once married, Gabriella’s life takes a turn for the worse and she descends into a world of horror and abuse until tensions finally explode. Life will never be the same and she has no choice but to take fate into her own hands. ‘
I’m not sure what’s up with me but my last few reads have been nothing like what I usually go for. I guess that’s a good thing as it’s broadening my outlook but I’m fascinated at some of my choices. Anyway… here we go.
Actually, I do like it. It’s clean and simple and the theme recurs throughout the rest of the books that make this series. That in itself is attractive to me because it means that people can follow them through. As the stories and characters mature so does the cover art. I’m sure the covers have recently been revamped, but this is the one I know and what drew me to the book in the first place.
Gabriella is an incredibly unlucky fourteen year old girl. Unlucky in that her mother can’t (won’t) stand up to her stepfather when he sells her off to a rich family by way of marriage. Gabriella is ripped from her home and sailed miles and miles across the sea to meet a man she has never met. When she does meet Erik van Ecken he… let’s just say she’s had happier times.
The story evolves as she does eventually marry him and becomes used to living in the Carribbean in a world utterly foreign to her own.
Gabriella. The Heroine. Eventually. This is a girl who who had to grow up incredibly quickly just to survive. Betrayed by her mother, sold off by her stepfather, from the moment she steps on board the ship which takes her away, Gabriella is forced to grow a pair (figuratively speaking, of course) and do whatever she can to save herself. For a novel(la) so short I think it’s paced just about right but I wish I could have seen more of the ‘later her’ during the course of the story.
Klara. The Mis-matched Best Friend. Initially I had no idea what to expect from the treatment of this character. She started almost bland and them blossomed as more as her background and personality emerged. It’s a neat trick, because I don’t feel cheated by the earlier chapters in which I know so little about her. Probably because I invested that time in learning about Gabriella. But I do have a little more sympathy for Klara than Gabriella and I’m not sure if that was the intent. Not that it matters, I suppose. 😉
Erik van Ecken. Classic villian. If this guy has a single redeeming feature I don’t know what it is. I haven’t seen it yet. He’s just a mean, horrid man. I’m hoping, since this is a novella, that more detail about why he is as he is will come forward. Even if that reason is just because he’s a bad person. At present there isn’t enough background for me to decide what it is that has made him so awful, and he runs the risk of being slightly 2D.
Harry Sharpe. Misunderstood villain. On the other hand, this chap, a pirate, no less, is far less confusing for me. There’s plenty of his story left to tell but I think the main difference between him and Erik is that I know that. So when something reads as a little queer or doesn’t quite ring true, I know that this man has layers that will later be revealed. As such he is a far more likeable villain than Erik.
Pretty damn good actually. If you’re a regular to this blog you know that Karen works at LionheART Galleries and that Raven regularly uses her services in editing/proofing/formatting. As such I’m unsurprised to find such a clean and error free .mobi file.
The fact that this is a novella also serves to make the book a very easy read. The chapters are short, the voices are clear and the writing sufficient to keep me popping back to read the book in every spare moment. Once I started it really didn’t take long to finish.
Average across all scores 4.25 which becomes 4 stars.
I was a little confused when I began because I thought this was the first in the series. However the book before this is Dead Reckoning, which is a full length novel which follows another set of characters. I’m sufficiently invested that I’ll be checking out that, Look Sharpe and Where Away which follow.
I guess the time has come to admit the truth: it isn’t just fantasy I like after all. Then again, I shouldn’t be too surprised at falling for a historical novel, given what I’ve done with Silk Over Razor Blades. 😉