The First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon
The First Girl Child is Amy Harmon’s introduction to The Chronicles of Saylok, a fantasy series based on Norse mythology and illustrating how love can empower people to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Bayr of Saylok is not dedicated by any one of the six clans of Saylock but raised in temple by his uncle, a keeper of Saylok who swore an oath to his dying sister after she gave birth to Bayr. As she was leaving this life she blood cursed the men of Saylok from fathering female children because of their lack of love for women while giving Bayr the gift of strength and the role of curse breaker. When Banruud, cheiftan of Berne, sees an opportunity to advance his own political career by switching his stillborn son with the Alba, the newborn daughter of a captured slave, Bayr and Alba’s lives become forever connected and the key to freeing Saylok from the curse.
Amy Harmon has created an entrancing new series in The Chronicles of Saylok. Saylok is an island created by Odin himself and immersed in the magic and traditions of the Norse gods. I was fascinated by Amy’s weaving of real world historical people, mythology, and fantasy into a unique and interesting world and loved the wordsmithing she used to paint a captivating and engrossing story centered around Bayr and Alba. Bayr is imbued with super human abilities but humbled by a speech impediment, which makes him a very appealing main character. Alba is wise beyond her years and is not prideful of her position as princess, but cognizant of the corruptness around her. Together, theirs is a relationship established on a childhood devotion and love for each other that grows into an adult passion and commitment. It is this connection that helps them to fight against and expose a king who will do anything to maintain his power.
I have to confess The First Girl Child was only my second audio book, but what an experience it was given that it was recited by the well-known and prolific narrator, Rob Shapiro. I thought I would not like a book with a male and female lead narrated by only one person, however Rob’s velvety voice and skill at varying his voice to match the different characters was so authentic that I became lost in the story, forgetting that he was telling me this tale. I’m now looking for Audibles specifically with him as narrator and then selecting based on the story. I’m also excited that Amy has him narrating the next book in the series, The Second Blind Son, which released July 20, 2021.