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The First Girl Child

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From ​the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation. Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no da From ​the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation. Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok. Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk. Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok. What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.


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From ​the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation. Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no da From ​the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation. Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok. Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk. Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok. What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

30 review for The First Girl Child

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰

    "In the beginning, they’d rejoiced. Sons were always preferable. Sons were the lifeblood. The protectors. The warriors. The farmers. How foolish they’d all been." I don't really have to proper words to describe just how well-crafted and ingenious The First Girl Child was. So, this review is going to be a shell of what it potentially could be, simply because Amy Harmon completely stole my words away and I'm jealous of those that may experience this for the first time. _______________ The "In the beginning, they’d rejoiced. Sons were always preferable. Sons were the lifeblood. The protectors. The warriors. The farmers. How foolish they’d all been." I don't really have to proper words to describe just how well-crafted and ingenious The First Girl Child was. So, this review is going to be a shell of what it potentially could be, simply because Amy Harmon completely stole my words away and I'm jealous of those that may experience this for the first time. _______________ The World The First Girl Child takes place in a land called Saylok, named after the son of Odin. Odin created an island for Saylok as he loved both nature and wanted to hide away from the ideals of men. However, Loki, being the God of Mischief, set out to see Saylok suffer and afflicted all six of Saylok's sons that were born in the six different villages. Each son soon began to take the form of different animals, Adyar the eagle, Berne the bear, Ebba the boar, Dolphys the wolf, Joran the horse, and Leok the lion. In result, Saylok formed a temple in the midst of these six villages in order to appoint keepers to protect the lands, runes and his children. We know from Norse mythology that Odin did not have any such son named Saylok, but Harmon's imagination and vivid descriptions of the world and the history makes it almost seem too real. Our story takes place many generations after the birth of Saylok's land, and now our chieftains of each village only resemble their animal ancestries. We begin by following a keeper named Dagmar and his safe-keeping of his deceased sister's son. I went into this story not knowing much except the blurb and although it pulled me in, I really cannot begin to explain how much more this novel holds. It follows the journey of many people; some bad, some worse but most who are bold. Yes, this has tinges of romance but the key focus lies on the story of different people in search of themselves. “You make me want to be seen,” she said, and his gaze shot to hers, searing, searching. “I have always seen you, Ghost.” The Story In all honesty, The First Girl Child is a clever commentary on the misogynistic injustices of a social society whilst also being a kick-ass fantasy novel with both adventure and intrigue. The undertones of feminism laced within the world-building was something that I've never seen before in such a traditional take on fantasy. We weren't left with lots of info-dumps or a prolonged introduction of the characters, only a longing that never really stopped until the last page. This novel read more like a magical tale or legend, parred with Harmon's lush visuals and captivating writing. This story gets slow at times, which is the only reason I couldn't give it five stars. It spans more than twenty years, so don't expect a fast-paced novel. Yet, it made the gripping parts even more thrilling. The "magic" or rune system in this book is the best kind of slow burn because you understand its symbolism and meaning more towards the end. Even if the story stalls at times, don't give up. The First Girl Child can break your heart only to patch it up again in the best way and I highly recommend picking it up! “Life is not kind to women,” Ghost sighed. “My sister said the same thing. But life is not especially kind to men either. Life is suffering, and we all suffer.” “Mayhaps God did not love your sister as much as his other children?” Ghost heard her bitterness and met his gaze with defiance. “Or mayhaps he loved her more and could not be without her.” The relationships between Alba and Bayr + Ghost and Dagmar + Bayr and Dagmar and even Ivo + The Chieftains were so brilliantly layered that I could separate the characteristics of each one and none of them would be the same. The clear distinctions between themes of love, redemption, sacrifice, power and grief were brutally co-dependent but each relationship had its own uniqueness. Least to say, I think everyone should pick this book up, for more reasons than one. “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.” Trigger warnings for self harm (a part of the rune system), abuse, heavy misogyny. The quotes in this review are taken from an ARC and are subject to change preceding final publication.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Five in the name Nordic kings, gods, mythological, full of runes, mystic, lyrical, powerful, ghost-ly stars! Amy Harmon is one of the talented writers always knows how to take you journeys at different time zones from Irish Revolution to the middle of World War second and some unknown mystical kingdom doors. She plays the words like instruments and creates amazing, soul-brushing, heart-healing compositions, that you wanna read over and over again to feel joyful and delighted ! That’s how I felt a Five in the name Nordic kings, gods, mythological, full of runes, mystic, lyrical, powerful, ghost-ly stars! Amy Harmon is one of the talented writers always knows how to take you journeys at different time zones from Irish Revolution to the middle of World War second and some unknown mystical kingdom doors. She plays the words like instruments and creates amazing, soul-brushing, heart-healing compositions, that you wanna read over and over again to feel joyful and delighted ! That’s how I felt as soon as I finish this wonderful, compelling, heroic , encouraging, Nordic fairy tale. Characterization: THERE IS NO ALBA WITHOUT BAYR. Bayr, a giant, strong, tough, carries an enormous, beautiful heart that only belongs to Alba. And sweet, brave, loyal, lovely Alba who also carries a genuine, kind, poignant heart, only but forever belongs to Bayr. Bayr was her keeper, her guardian, her best friend, confidant, first and last love. It was amazing to read their growing up, devotion, unconditional connection. I also enjoy Dagmar and Ghost’s stories. It is not fair to think them as supporting characters. Their forbidden love story, their affection and loyalty to Bayr and Alba were marvelous. My heart broke for them. Especially the parts that Ghost stands up for all the five girls who turned into gifted warriors and the way she puts her life at risk for her daughter was so worth to read! I like to clap and shout as “Go Ghost Go!”. And Dagmar, humble, born and raised warrior who changed his way to be keeper did whatever it took to save Bayr from the danger of the enemies! PACE: At first I thought it was slow but after few pages I realized it was not. Not too slow or fast. Understanding the whole journey, we have to start from beginning. So there are not a word is needed to be edit from this book. Each one has its own magic and power! STORY DEVELOPMENT: Fasten your seat belts to take a memorable, mythological journey including Norse magic and powerful blood runes. This book is full of surprises make you smile, curse, cry like a baby! You need to open your feelings to absorb each beautiful chapters like your life depends on them. PLEASE DO NOT READ BOOKS WITH YOUR EYES! READ IT WITH YOUR HEART! ENDING: My hands hurt but I applauded a lot! This is an epic final! I think you may consider this as one of the greatest book about power of women and their abilities, strength and determination to do what it takes! SUMMARY: LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! I’m one of the luckiest to grab my ARC COPY so special thanks to 47North and NetGalley for providing this amazing book to me as an exchange of my honest review. I truly, honestly enjoyed it!

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    wow. i am just in awe. amy harmon could be considered one of my favourite fantasy authors, which is crazy because she doesnt primarily write fantasy stories. i really think she should switch over completely because her writing is so enchanting and much more lyrical than in her contemporary fiction novels. it suits the world building perfectly and has such a magical feel that really speaks to me. before i get too into this review, i want to note that the synopsis is a little misleading. at least i wow. i am just in awe. amy harmon could be considered one of my favourite fantasy authors, which is crazy because she doesnt primarily write fantasy stories. i really think she should switch over completely because her writing is so enchanting and much more lyrical than in her contemporary fiction novels. it suits the world building perfectly and has such a magical feel that really speaks to me. before i get too into this review, i want to note that the synopsis is a little misleading. at least it was for me. i thought this was going to be a very romance dominated story set in a fantasy world. while the bond between bayr and alba is important, its not even romantic until the last quarter of the book. there is 20 years worth of story that describes on how they grow up, what is happening in the kingdom, family relationships, and a whole bunch of other side stories. and because of that, this does feel very slow. much slower than your typical slow burn. but i really enjoyed this. the highlight for me is the relationship between bayr and dagmar. i love how they saw themselves as father and son, even though it wasnt the case. its such a sweet and really emotionally compelling bond and their interactions are the best part of the book for me. i highly recommend this, as well as amy harmons other fantasy book, ‘the bird and the blade.’ both are stunningly phenomenal! ↠ 4.5 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This was…good. Just that. Good. I’ve read so many of Amy Harmon’s books before, and am frankly slightly disappointed. It didn’t have the spark that her other works have had in the past. This might be due to the unbearably slow pace, because of the story spanning twenty years. I really had to push myself to finish it, even though I liked it. It just wasn’t holding my interest long enough I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This was…good. Just that. Good. I’ve read so many of Amy Harmon’s books before, and am frankly slightly disappointed. It didn’t have the spark that her other works have had in the past. This might be due to the unbearably slow pace, because of the story spanning twenty years. I really had to push myself to finish it, even though I liked it. It just wasn’t holding my interest long enough for me to power through to the end. I think the main problem is probably a “me” problem. Vikings just do not interest me that much. And it didn’t help that the magic system remained rather unexplained and underutilised. This definitively pales in comparison to The Bird and the Sword. The story takes place in Saylok, a land created by the Allfather, Odin. Loki’s actions caused the land to be separated into six different villages: Adyar (eagle), Berne (bear), Ebba (boar), Dolphys (wolf), Joran (horse), and Leok (lion). As the book progresses, the reader begins to see the commentary on misogynistic injustices that Harmon provides. Bayr was my favourite character, so strong and sweet. Alba was brave and kind, but often overshadowed by more prominent figures in the novel. Dagmar and Ghost were also lovely, supporting characters, both devoted to Bayr and Alba, while having a forbidden romance of their own. While this was a beautiful story, its slow pace proved that it just wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t dissuade you from reading it though, because it truly was quite enjoyable. I’d recommend it to fans of Sky in the Deep and Warrior of the Wild.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bibi

    *Spoilers, maybe* Hmm....I can't quite place my finger on what's missing. Could it be a lack of urgency? As in: 1. the pacing was slow 2. the magic system was largely unutilized 3. the justification for the curse was flimsy at best 4. there were too many irrelevant scenes (Ghost and the 3 marauders) 5. the love connection between Alba & Bayr was tepid and unconvincing 6. the plot twist- of (view spoiler)[marrying Alba off to the King of the Northmen - was introduced too late. (hide spoiler)] 7. the vil *Spoilers, maybe* Hmm....I can't quite place my finger on what's missing. Could it be a lack of urgency? As in: 1. the pacing was slow 2. the magic system was largely unutilized 3. the justification for the curse was flimsy at best 4. there were too many irrelevant scenes (Ghost and the 3 marauders) 5. the love connection between Alba & Bayr was tepid and unconvincing 6. the plot twist- of (view spoiler)[marrying Alba off to the King of the Northmen - was introduced too late. (hide spoiler)] 7. the villain was only on-page a handful of times and even then his presence was subordinate to the other clansmen who popped (Aidan, for instance) 8. I didn't care about Alba even though she was our main heroine, instead, I found Ghost much more interesting and wanted her to exist outside of the confines of the grieving/despondent/weak character. Ultimately though, the stakes were never quite consequential enough (I mean why should I care if the runes got into the wrong hands?) and the resolutions seemed incidental. That said, the prose was sublime, haunting, and captivating which made it difficult to put down.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    This story fell flatter than Mariah Carey singing live. This is a historical fantasy featuring Norse mythology. I am NOT a historical fiction fan. I am rarely able to get into a fantasy. And mythology is a real snoozefest for me. But this is Amy Harmon. This book is her first foray into the fantasy genre. Five Star reviews dominate the ratings. And it's a Kindle Unlimited (as are all of her books). So, what hell, right? I'll give it a go. I still don't like historical fiction. Fantasy is still a meh gen This story fell flatter than Mariah Carey singing live. This is a historical fantasy featuring Norse mythology. I am NOT a historical fiction fan. I am rarely able to get into a fantasy. And mythology is a real snoozefest for me. But this is Amy Harmon. This book is her first foray into the fantasy genre. Five Star reviews dominate the ratings. And it's a Kindle Unlimited (as are all of her books). So, what hell, right? I'll give it a go. I still don't like historical fiction. Fantasy is still a meh genre for me. As for mythology ... 😴💤💤💤 I love Amy Harmon and, although this book didn't work for me, her prose is as beautiful as ever. I've never not loved one of her books, this one just wasn't for me. I don't discourage anyone from reading this book and absolutely encourage everyone to read her other works. 2.5 Stars ⭐

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy Harmon

    A breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation. The First Girl Child, a historical fantasy, will be released in ebook, paperback and audio on August 20, 2019. Available on: KINDLE | PAPERBACK | AUDIO For as the woman is of the man. Even so is the man also of the woman. 1 Corinthians 11:22 Within the walls and behind the Temple doors lives an unexpected salvation—a girl. She was framed by the light of the gray afternoon. And in that moment A breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation. The First Girl Child, a historical fantasy, will be released in ebook, paperback and audio on August 20, 2019. Available on: KINDLE | PAPERBACK | AUDIO For as the woman is of the man. Even so is the man also of the woman. 1 Corinthians 11:22 Within the walls and behind the Temple doors lives an unexpected salvation—a girl. She was framed by the light of the gray afternoon. And in that moment he saw the woman and not the child. "You must promise me that when you are grown, even if you are afraid, even if you do not want to be king, you will do what must be done." Available on: KINDLE | PAPERBACK | AUDIO Copyright © Amy Harmon WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | BOOKBUB | NEWSLETTER

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pavlina Read more sleep less blog

    4-4,5 STARS Such a brilliant and unique story!I love whatever genre she writes, and I always go blind to her stories!I don't need a synopsis because I simply know it will be another fantastic read! The story line is interesting,original and captivating!Everything needed their time and their got it!This is a slow story in my opinion and this is what make me not give it 5 stars but still it was an unforgettable read! "I've come to believe that home is not a place. Home is inside of us. Home is the p 4-4,5 STARS Such a brilliant and unique story!I love whatever genre she writes, and I always go blind to her stories!I don't need a synopsis because I simply know it will be another fantastic read! The story line is interesting,original and captivating!Everything needed their time and their got it!This is a slow story in my opinion and this is what make me not give it 5 stars but still it was an unforgettable read! "I've come to believe that home is not a place. Home is inside of us. Home is the people we love. Home is what we strive for."     

  9. 4 out of 5

    warhawke

    Genre: Fantasy Type: Standalone POV: Third Person Rating: The day Bayr was born, the kingdom of Saylok changed irrevocably. Unbeknownst to the people, a curse was unleashed that made them barren of female newborns. As the years progressed and desperation mounted, Alba became the first girl child to be born in Saylok. But hope for her to be their salvation was shattered when the curse persisted. He would do anything to protect her and neither of them had any idea how their fate intertwined with the Genre: Fantasy Type: Standalone POV: Third Person Rating: The day Bayr was born, the kingdom of Saylok changed irrevocably. Unbeknownst to the people, a curse was unleashed that made them barren of female newborns. As the years progressed and desperation mounted, Alba became the first girl child to be born in Saylok. But hope for her to be their salvation was shattered when the curse persisted. He would do anything to protect her and neither of them had any idea how their fate intertwined with the survival of their kingdom. Once in a while, I started a book and I just knew it was going to be something special. It happened rarely but this book is one of it. For me, the story was told subtly but made a deep impression internally - not in your face, but gut-punched you to the floor. “You are a protector, Bayr. And I believe you’ve been given power to defend this land—every clan. You are not Bayr, the Temple Boy. You are not Bayr of Berne or Dolphys. You are Bayr of Saylok, and you must defend this land from her enemies within and without.” The best thing about this book is the characters and the bonds they form with each other. Blood played an important role in the story in more than one way, but it wasn’t the only thing that brought them together. I loved the characters’ loyalty, devotion, and sacrifices. I had a hard time picking a favorite because each of them was significant in their own way. But Dagmar earned his place for the choices he made. I love mythology, so I enjoyed the Norse influences in the storyline. The plot was engaging especially with the mystical and the religious aspect of the story. To love was to be at the mercy of someone else. To love was to be controlled. The First Girl Child is a tale of love and heroism. It would appeal to readers looking for a captivating Viking inspired fantasy. ♦ ⚔ ♦. . . (F)BR With Twinsie CC & Loyda . . .♦ ⚔ ♦ For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

  10. 5 out of 5

    AℳYⒾ ♔♚♛Cofounder of Teens against YA books♛♚♔

    ♛♚♔UPDATE 09/03♛♚♔ 4 HARMON SENSEI IS THE BEST WRITER EVER STARS!!!!!! All of you know that Harmon is my favorite writer ever and for me she can't write anything bad. So my fangirling self comes to GR to share my love for this book and I find some people saying that TFGC is Is it the book or is it the reader? Neither!!! It comes all down to opinions. 'Cuz for me I was into the HUGE cast of characters, seriously there were a lot of characters, a lot!!!And they needed development and Harmon gave it t ♛♚♔UPDATE 09/03♛♚♔ 4 HARMON SENSEI IS THE BEST WRITER EVER STARS!!!!!! All of you know that Harmon is my favorite writer ever and for me she can't write anything bad. So my fangirling self comes to GR to share my love for this book and I find some people saying that TFGC is Is it the book or is it the reader? Neither!!! It comes all down to opinions. 'Cuz for me I was into the HUGE cast of characters, seriously there were a lot of characters, a lot!!!And they needed development and Harmon gave it to them hard and good!!!. All of them!!! 'Cuz that's what I expect from Harmon sensei. I love her books because they're so well-written and the characters are always so real!! So of course many people will say, "this is slow" but I don't think it is, it's just Harmon's style, her characters are her children and she takes good care of them!!! So for me this was great. Not Harmon's best, we needed a tad bit more of focus on the romance, but definitely this is a book I'll buy in print and audio, cuz the writing is as usual so beautiful and the last 20% is just AMYzing!!!! Are you a Harmon virgin? I suggest to pop your Harmon cherry with Making faces and then The Bird and the sword, my top favorite books by her. She's like the best writer ever!!! If you are already familiar with Harmon sensei then this is right her trademark good writing. I just needed more action scenes but that must be because I have the attention span of a hummingbird. I really enjoyed this book!! Offtopic: :P ♛♚♔UPDATE 08/20♛♚♔ GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUYYYYYYYSSS!!!! It's live! It's live! THIS IS NOT A DRILLING I repeat THIS IS NOT A DRILLING 🌈♩♪ ♫ ♬The First Child IS LIVE♫ ♬♩♪🌈 *Kisses Kindle app* Live and already in the top of the charts. I'm so happy for Harmon sensei, she's my favorite writer ever!!!! GUYS IN THE KINDLE UNLIMITED ELITE!!! For all of us in the Kindle unlimited Elite it's We look so so so so smug now!! SMUG 'cuz it's FREE for us!! No offense but not many readers are as cool as us guys in the Kindle Unlimited elite. We're the elite group in Goodreads. Guys without Kindle unlimited!!!!The price for this one is really reasonable!!! Just $4.99 but if you're on a budget try a first month KU for free!!!! JOIN THE KU ELITE!! You're missing out the best books!!!!! We're having SO MUCH FUN!!! No Kindle? No problem there's an app. My dog broke my Kindle, she swears it was an accident. But I have the APP!! DOWNLAD KINDLE APP FOR IPHONE and IPAD DOWNLAD KINDLE APP FOR TABLETS AND CELLPHONES DOWNLAD KINDLE APP FROM AMAZON FOR EVERYTHING *kisses kindle app* Get your kindle app and discover AMY Harmon's books!!! You're going to love her!!!! ♛♚♔♛♚♔♥♥♥♥♥♥♛♚♔♛♚♔♥♥♥♥♥♥♛♚♔♛♚♔ Previously In case you didn't notice, Amy Harmon is the most AMYzing author ever and I lOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE HER!!! I can't wait.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Penny Reid

    I can't believe I've never left a review for this book!! This book, man. I've read it five times AT LEAST. And then I gave it to my 13 year old son and he read it. Then we read it together and discussed it, three chapters at a time. IT'S SO SO SO EXCELLENT. So excellent. Things you should know: 1. Yes, it's a romance. And your heart will hurt, and your chest will ache, and you will swoon. 2. Yes, it's an epic adventure (and romance). 3. You will not be able to put it down once you start, so ensure y I can't believe I've never left a review for this book!! This book, man. I've read it five times AT LEAST. And then I gave it to my 13 year old son and he read it. Then we read it together and discussed it, three chapters at a time. IT'S SO SO SO EXCELLENT. So excellent. Things you should know: 1. Yes, it's a romance. And your heart will hurt, and your chest will ache, and you will swoon. 2. Yes, it's an epic adventure (and romance). 3. You will not be able to put it down once you start, so ensure you have glasses of water (for hydration nearby) and easy access to a bathroom as well as people who won't judge you for taking your book / reading device into the bathroom. 4. The world building is easy to follow and feels intuitive. 5. You will have NO IDEA how it's going to end. There is nothing predictable about this book. 6. You will fall in love with all the characters, but most especially the main male character. All characters in this book feel real. AN ASIDE: (I don't want this to distract from my review of the book, but it's important to mention) As I said, after some deliberation and discussions with Mr. Reid, I did encourage my 13 year old to read this book. It is so excellent, such an engrossing story, so there is that. But also there are "sex scenes." Amy Harmon always approaches these with realism (by that I mean there is clumsiness and an eagerness between two people in love that mimics real life), where the focus is on a couple's feelings and honoring each other. Therefore, not at all a bad introduction for a 13 year old boy to matters of intimacy. In fact, if you have a 13 year old boy at home who enjoys fantasy, GIVE HIM THIS BOOK, not only because he will love the story and world building, but also (and this is just my opinion) better he learn about honoring his partner, expecting honor from his partner, and making love as an imperfect but ultimately beautiful experience than having his first exposure to the topic be pron hube (and yes, I purposefully misspelled that) where it's all about objectification and misogyny. But I digress. Anyway, if you love romantic and epics, and want to be swept away, lose yourself in a (love) story, this is 100% the book for you. But I warn you, there will be a massive book hangover.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"

    5 surprised stars   “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”     “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” as Ari https://readingunderstreetlamps.wordpress.com (my buddy reader said) this could be the motto of this book! The first thing that astonished me in this book is a totally different writing style from what I have read from Amy so far. 5 surprised stars   “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”     “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” as Ari https://readingunderstreetlamps.wordpress.com (my buddy reader said) this could be the motto of this book! The first thing that astonished me in this book is a totally different writing style from what I have read from Amy so far. Still very beautiful though. I can't pinpoint the difference but it had a more “tale” quality. It was simpler. Naked, free of any unnecessary embellishment. It was raw like these Norse men. And it fitted the story to a T! The focal point of this story was women’s power or lack of. The women in that time and place could become warriors but were always second to men. If they were nobles they were seen as investments to forge alliances. And everything began when a woman, Desdemona, was rejected by her lover for a high-ranking woman, hoping to become king that way. But fear the woman you have wronged as she holds a great power! I loved the power of women. The greed of men and their foolish pride would be their damnation. Decades would go by with great suffering for the people because of a single curse. You can’t deny that Desdemona could hold a grudge like no one else!   One of our heroes is the young Bayr, Desdemona’s son and he’ll dedicate his life to protect Alba, the daughter of king Bayr. Bayr was solid. Loyal. A protector. Hel lived for his duty. Selfless he was humble as he was afflicted by a stutter who made him seem simple to other men. I would say that Bayr himself thought little of his intelligence but it did not bother him. He did not want to outshine everyone. He may have been gifted with enormous strength, looking like Hercules, he just wanted to serve and protect. I dare you not to love that child/man who'd rather observe and listen than talk. “I want to protect,” Bayr answered without thought or hesitation. It had always been the single-minded purpose of his young life. “I w-want to protect Saylok and the temple. I w-want to protect the princess and the d-daughters of the clans. I want to protect D-Dagmar and the k-keepers.” “You want to protect those you love.” Bayr nodded. Alba is your free-spirited child. She did not often take center stage. Or at least not before a long time as she was an infant. Bayr would have died for her. From the first second he laid eyes on her, at her birth, she’s been his sole purpose in life! Of course you can probably guess that a budding romance will come one day but strangely, Alba did feel more like a side character than a main character!   My favorite character in this book was Ghost! I won’t tell too much about her purpose or who she is to whom let’s just say that Ghost embodies maternal love in its purest form. I loved her because she was gentle even after having been ostracized for her otherness all her life. Fate never smiled on her. Yet she discreetly protected in her own way. She touched my heart and soul. I prayed for her HEA. I wanted her to have some joy she’s been denied for so long. “You are still very young.” “I am old inside,” she whispered, and he nodded as though he understood.   I realize while writing this review that both Bayr and Ghost were humble characters. And I seem to appreciate these kind characters. Because that’s one of the things Amy does best: take ordinary men and women (well Bayr was maybe not ordinary) and make them extraordinary. Last but not least of our main characters, Dagmar was a worthy hero. He was a father to Bayr. A humble man determined to be a keeper and fight his warrior of a father to follow his dream. But as much as becoming a keeper was his dream he would have renounced his calling if it meant losing Bayr. I was immediately immersed in that story as I loved the plot, the mythology, learning to understand these people. That book is filled with Norse magic, with the power of runes. Blood runes that could curse a whole land. Blood runes that should not be known by everyone as they held so much power!   And I loved that grand finale! I wanted to shout “Atta girl!”   The pace is just right, not rushed nor too slow; the villain was a true villain who had two faces and the hero was strong gifted by the gods similar to the heroes of old from mythology. What more reason do you need to read it????   Thanks for reading! Sophie Find me on: Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader Facebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Obida

    Buddy read with Kindra my Sept tbr twin. “And in the end, we can only sacrifice ourselves. To sacrifice others is no sacrifice at all.” This book is one of those books that when reading it, its extremely hard to put down, I was obsessed with this book till the moment I finished it, that's how much I love this book. This book will make the 5th book by Amy Harmon that I've read and I love each one of them, I think its safe to safe that she is now one of my favourite authors. Just like the rest of Buddy read with Kindra my Sept tbr twin. “And in the end, we can only sacrifice ourselves. To sacrifice others is no sacrifice at all.” This book is one of those books that when reading it, its extremely hard to put down, I was obsessed with this book till the moment I finished it, that's how much I love this book. This book will make the 5th book by Amy Harmon that I've read and I love each one of them, I think its safe to safe that she is now one of my favourite authors. Just like the rest of her books that I have read this is a love story not a romance, I wish there was more romance in this but it was not to be. The world building and writing is explicit, the world was so well depicted that it was so east to picture in my head, the writing is very easy to understand, its written in multiple perspectives. Even though the book is just 300+ pages the pacing is very fast, the book took place in a twenty years time frame which is a lot, I just wish it was longer. “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.” The above quote all but said what the book is about. In the world where they live females are treated like second class citizens, the men use them and dump them when he has no use for them, of course not all men are like that and not all the women are innocents but that didn't mean majority of females are sufferring. Desdemona was used and discarded by a man she loved so as she was dying after giving birth to Bayr her son she cursed the land. Dagmar her brother who is a priest raised the boy Bayr, after he was born no girl child was born till Alba, but even that was a deceit. The whole book revolves around the people trying to figure out how to bring girl child back, of course they blame the women, the moral of the book is to say no to Misogyny. In the beginning, they’d rejoiced. Sons were always preferable. Sons were the lifeblood. The protectors. The warriors. The farmers. How foolish they’d all been. This book has a lot of unique characters which I adore, some of them are Bayr, Alba, Dagmar, Ghost, Daniel and Ivo. The relationship between the characters is so admirable and realistic. One of my favourite parts in the book was the reunion when Bayr came back, it was so emotional. The love story of Bayr and Alba is so sweet, I just wished it was more explored, it was a bit rushed to me. “We do not live to endure. We endure so someday we can . . . live. I have endured a great deal, but there have only been a few moments when I have truly lived.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jx PinkLady Reviews ♡ bookwormthoughts

    I loved it ♡ Experience this story...... #historicalfantasyfiction #slowburn #deeplove #sacrifice #betrayal #breathtaking 5 ☆☆☆☆☆ A curse with far reaching consequences is crafted within the opening chapters of this novel and it is this event steeped in emotion and tragedy that shapes the narrative of the story, and thereafter a stunning tale is weaved depicting power, jealousy, betrayal, hope, sacrifice and above all else, love. Amy Harmon is a writing genius when it comes to creating unique layered wo I loved it ♡ Experience this story...... #historicalfantasyfiction #slowburn #deeplove #sacrifice #betrayal #breathtaking 5 ☆☆☆☆☆ A curse with far reaching consequences is crafted within the opening chapters of this novel and it is this event steeped in emotion and tragedy that shapes the narrative of the story, and thereafter a stunning tale is weaved depicting power, jealousy, betrayal, hope, sacrifice and above all else, love. Amy Harmon is a writing genius when it comes to creating unique layered worlds, whether they be in the genre of romance, history or fantasy and this story encompasses all three elements with absolute excellence. It was a joy to feel immersed in the land of warring clans and characters who were brave, who cared deeply, were principled, and had faith. Characters who developed perfectly through the timeline of the story and effortlessly pulled me into the heart of their cursed kingdom making me feel and hope and love along with them. Bayr of Saylok and Alba are the main protagonists in a sea of compelling characters who make up the tapestry of this story, many having an equal and vital role in the rich prose of the story arc. I was utterly enamoured with the plotline and the vividly depicted world beautifully showcased by Harmon who, I feel, can turn her hand to any trope and capture my undivided attention with her penmanship. I very much hope I have the opportunity to visit the fantasy world of Saylok again and highly recommend this novel to my fellow reading addicts. Purchase links: 📱 https://amzn.to/2XKVIQe 📖 https://amzn.to/2XMYYdH 🎧 https://amzn.to/2yBNSx5 Author giveaway ➡️ http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/disp... (Graphic made by me with a purchased stock photo from depositphotos) Advance copy generously provided via NetGalley / Reviewed Voluntarily *

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy | Foxy Blogs

    Hauntingly Excellent! A moving representation of how 2 wrongs don’t make a right and the power of love. The First Girl Child is a story that rocks you to your bones. The sheer words alone captivate with their power. They flow across the pages telling the story of a parent's love for their beloved child. The depths they endure to allow their child to have a better life is alluring. Along with the intense despair, a parent feels while watching a child make life choices and the consequences that Hauntingly Excellent! A moving representation of how 2 wrongs don’t make a right and the power of love. The First Girl Child is a story that rocks you to your bones. The sheer words alone captivate with their power. They flow across the pages telling the story of a parent's love for their beloved child. The depths they endure to allow their child to have a better life is alluring. Along with the intense despair, a parent feels while watching a child make life choices and the consequences that ensue. The story unravels like the layers of an onion. From kings to runes to gods this story holds a lot of raw magical power. An enchanted tale of a land cursed and the stolen ‘treasure’ that leads to the demise of the kingdom. THE FIRST GIRL CHILD is a standalone story of a time when kingdoms ruled and curses could set the world ablaze. A truly beautiful story about the great value we place on things and the risk taken to protect those things of value. An unforgettable tale of the world gone by. ✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦ RELEASE DATE: August 20, 2019 Pre-order | order: https://amzn.to/2YgJP7w STANDALONE **Complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.* Follow Foxy Blogs at: Foxy Blogs ♥ Twitter ♥ Instagram ♥ Facebook

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natalie ✩★ The Biblioholic ★✩

    “We do not live to endure. We endure so someday we can . . . live. I have endured a great deal, but there have only been a few moments when I have truly lived.” A female warrior, pregnant with her lover's child, is turned away and forsaken, giving birth to her son in the Temple Wood. Her brother finds her as she bleeds out. Hurt and bitter, she carves out runes in the Earth, cursing the man who turned her away - her son will be his only child; her son will be incredible; her son will be Saylo “We do not live to endure. We endure so someday we can . . . live. I have endured a great deal, but there have only been a few moments when I have truly lived.” A female warrior, pregnant with her lover's child, is turned away and forsaken, giving birth to her son in the Temple Wood. Her brother finds her as she bleeds out. Hurt and bitter, she carves out runes in the Earth, cursing the man who turned her away - her son will be his only child; her son will be incredible; her son will be Saylok's salvation; and Saylok will have no more daughters. She tasks her brother with taking care of her son with her dying breath, naming him Bayr. And with her life's blood powering the runes, it shall be done... The First Girl Child was a story about excruciating pain, tremendous loss, overwhelming triumphs, endless hope, and soaring love. There was so many things and so many people to love that I had no choice but to give this book all the stars!! What I loved: ➤ The world building was insane! It was easy to picture the temple, the rolling and craggy hills, the clans, and even the island of Saylok shaped like a star. ➤ The mythological history, both real and imagined, served to further the imagery. From the runes to the blood to the sight and protections, it was easy to be captivated by the mystique of this tale. ➤ All of the characters!! ★ Bayr - he was a child that reminded me of a young Herakles... if he had a speech impediment. He was strong, honorable, and incredibly caring. His heart was too huge for his world. He was the embodiment of compassion, understanding, loyalty, and tolerance. Bayr was everything that I loved about this story and I couldn't get enough of his valor, his skills, his honesty, his dreams, and his love. He belongs to Alba and she to him and it's beautiful!! “My b-body is yours. My heart is yours. My s-soul, my thoughts, my d-dreams, my life. Yours. I will do whatever you ask. Whatever you wish.” ★ Dagmar - This man!! A Keeper of the Runes, son of a warrior, brother to a warrior, body of a warrior, he chose the life of a scholar, defying and denying the path that was planned out for him. He raises his orphaned nephew, Bayr, in the temple, marvelling at the boy and loving him more than words. Dagmar taught his nephew everything he knew and I'm not sure Bayr would be as awesome as he was without him. With all he was willing to do for Bayr, it was easy to fall in huge like with Dagmar. “I am yours, Bayr. Always. My heart is yours. My spirit is yours, and even when I’m dead, I will refuse Valhalla, and I will follow at your heels, watching over you” ★ Ghost - she didn't feature overly much, but she was a fierce character to contend with. She was white as snow with white hair and pale eyes and often overlooked. Mistake! After having her daughter stolen from her, being raised as a princess, rather than stealing her back, she stays in Saylok to watch and wait. Her patience and compassion were what drove her and her connection to Dagmar was captured so beautifully that this non-crier was tempted to tears. ★ Alba - stolen daughter and false princess, her every whim is dictated by her passion for Bayr (and his for her) A man his size should not be able to move so fast. But no one moved as fast as Bayr. No one was as strong. Or brave. Or true. There was no one like him. And he was hers. ★ Banruud - the antagonist of this story, his schemes and manipulations would be his ultimate downfall. But dang it, he made this story such an entertaining read! He's the sole reason why Saylok is a land with no daughters and he has no interest in accepting responsibility or atoning for his misdeeds. He was the perfect villain!! ★ Then there were the clan chieftains, other keepers, the sisters of Freya, and the highest keeper of them all... Ivo. Each played a part in pushing this story to its climax and none more so than Ivo. He knew far more than he revealed and although I had to sometimes question his true intentions, he saw the bigger picture. He was neither good or bad, but was motivated by what should be. My only real complaint for this story would be how achingly slow it was. I kept skipping ahead to see when something would happen and then going back to my place, anxiously waiting to get there. However, the snail pace wasn't enough of a deterrent to my enjoyment of this story in the end. It gave me more time to savor both Bayr and Dagmar. It also gave me a chance to fall in love with Dred of Dolphys (Bayr's grandfather/Dagmar's father) and to be happy that he was able to feature in some way in the story. I ended up really liking the man. I also wasn't a huge fan of the way the story concluded. It was action, horror, action, sadness, action, lots of death, and then a quick summary of how everything is moving forward and then The End. I think I was expecting something more after everything I had to go through to get to the other side of all of this. And yet, this story still gets all the stars!! Obviously the author did a ton of ish right!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: The First Girl Child Author: Amy Harmon Release date: August 20, 2019 Cliffhanger: No Genre: fantasy Fair warning, I'm going to have to gush over this book a little. There's just no getting around it when you fall in love with a story this completely. I've been reading Amy Harmon's books for four years now and although I haven't caught up on her entire backlist, The First Girl Child is now a front runner for all-time favorite. And yes, it's landing on my shortlist for best books of the year a Title: The First Girl Child Author: Amy Harmon Release date: August 20, 2019 Cliffhanger: No Genre: fantasy Fair warning, I'm going to have to gush over this book a little. There's just no getting around it when you fall in love with a story this completely. I've been reading Amy Harmon's books for four years now and although I haven't caught up on her entire backlist, The First Girl Child is now a front runner for all-time favorite. And yes, it's landing on my shortlist for best books of the year as well. All it took was a few pages into the prologue and I was a goner. This beautiful, heart-wrenching, poignant story is worth every second spent between the pages. It's a fantasy with such fathomless depths, you fall so deeply you don't want to get out again. It's a story of revenge, overcoming impossible odds, courage in the face of tyranny and evil, unbreakable bonds of family, and forbidden love. The Kingdom of Saylok is made up of six clans: Adyar, Berne, Dolphys, Ebba, Joran, and Leok. Each clan has a Chieftan who leads it, and the King has absolute power, even over these leaders. Many hope to ascend to the throne, but few will have the opportunity in their lifetime. Banruud of Berne is hungry for power and has no qualms about harming anyone who stands in his way. One woman seeks revenge for a horrible betrayal at his hands that will curse all of Saylok, until her son is ready to remove the scourge upon the land. That son is Bayr. Unnaturally strong and believed to have been gifted by the gods, he becomes somewhat of a legend for his incredible feats growing up. It would be easy for someone to become proud or boastful, but living at Temple Hill with his Uncle has made him a humble man who only cares for the well being of others. Bayr and his Uncle Dagmar's relationship as he grows up in his care touched my heart so much. Dagmar wasn't prepared to take on a fatherly role in his lifetime after committing himself as a Keeper. At first he was flustered and floundering with newborn Beyr, then gradually more confident as he lovingly guided Bayr towards the future he knew he was destined to fulfill. Even knowing someday they must part, he willingly sacrificed his own wishes for the salvation of Saylok. Injustice, pain, and suffering were endured by many. Lives would be changed irrevocably the day that Bayr came into his care, and he's determined to set things right no matter what it takes. "There might come a time, when you are no longer a boy, when Saylok will need you to lead her. There might be a day when you will be called on to rule, and you must prepare yourself for that day.” If I could only use one word to describe Bayr it would be protector. That makes up every part of him down to his soul. After meeting princess Alba, he's enraptured by this child of hope. The first female child to be born during a long drought that has plagued the land for years. He immediately pledges to watch over her and shield her from all harm, never asking for anything in return. His feelings for her were pure and innocent, blossoming into a special friendship as they matured. Bayr and Alba are from two totally different worlds: one from royalty and the other a humble Temple boy without a penny to his name. But their devotion to each other is absolute, even if it must be from a distance at times. They way they changed and evolved took longer than I was expecting, but it was more than worth it by the end. It was like watching a seed being nurtured over time, weathering every storm, and growing into a towering tree with roots so deep they can't ever be unearthed. You feel their rightness down to your bones and want nothing more than the simplicity of them being. Without conflict or conspiracies to tear them apart. “Bayr’s birth marked the beginning of the drought. What if his death marks the end?” Ghost plays an integral role in the story. Sold into slavery, then reviled and feared for being born with albinism, she's been mistreated her whole life. People fear what they don't understand, and her unusual appearance draws prejudice from ignorant people. Fate brings her into Bayr's life and though he's disconcerted at first, he always treats her with open acceptance, as does Dagmar. Love and acceptance seems like a simple thing to some, but to others it's everything. Ghost broke me at times. She was so used to rejection and harm that a simple human kindness couldn't be trusted. Ghost finally finds a home where she has some semblance of safety. She relies on the anonymity her solitary lives affords, and finds much more than she bargained for in her simple life. The final part of this book was action packed, tense, thrilling, devastating, healing, and leaves you awed at how it all ties together. My emotions were everywhere on the map, leaving me wrung out and wrecked at the end. It broke me just a little bit, but I can't imagine anything happening any differently. How the balance of power was righted, and the oppressed were finally freed. It was such a thing of beauty that brought tears to my eyes. Amy Harmon has created a story that's often brutal, but never fails to show us the power of love in the bleakest of times. Thankfully I had a friend on standby after finishing this incredible story that I could rant and weep and soak up all of my favorite words with. It was extremely hard to part with these characters so I can only hope that we are gifted with more novels in this extraordinary world!! This is one of her best yet, and I recommend it to any fantasy lover searching for their next five star read. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  18. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    4+ stars - Amy Harmon crafts a historical fantasy novel that quickly draws me into the world of Saylok, an island in the North Sea and as well, a son of Odin, the Allfather, from Norse mythology. Dagmar and Desdemona are siblings growing up in the Clan of Dolphys, the Clan of the Wolf. Dagmar wants to grow up to be a keeper of the temple and the sacred runes. He seeks a life of knowledge, peace, and solitude. His father wants him to be a warrior, but it’s his sister, Desdemona, who becomes the g 4+ stars - Amy Harmon crafts a historical fantasy novel that quickly draws me into the world of Saylok, an island in the North Sea and as well, a son of Odin, the Allfather, from Norse mythology. Dagmar and Desdemona are siblings growing up in the Clan of Dolphys, the Clan of the Wolf. Dagmar wants to grow up to be a keeper of the temple and the sacred runes. He seeks a life of knowledge, peace, and solitude. His father wants him to be a warrior, but it’s his sister, Desdemona, who becomes the great warrior and shieldmaiden. The King lives in a castle near the center of the island, beside the temple of the Keepers. The Keepers have the ultimate say in who becomes King. There are six clans on Saylok, and Chieftans of the Clans rotate in their eligibility for the crown, but the Keepers have the last word, an interesting mix of religion and politics. In Harmon’s novel, the Keepers are male (until they aren’t) and shave their heads, and the Highest Keeper, Ivo, grows his fingernails so long they curl and paints his lips black. He has prophetic dreams and draws powerful runes. Desdemona’s bastard son, Bayr, grows up at the temple under her brother, Dagmar’s wing. As a child, he has superhuman strength. He can lift incredible weights, run quicker than anyone else, has great courage, and a soft heart. Since Bayr’s birth, there have been no female children because of a curse that Desdemona invokes with her dying breath. Some years later, Banruud, chieftain of Clan Berne, and Alannah announce the birth of a daughter, Alba. It is this announcement of the first girl child that will lead to Banruud being crowned King. When Ivo blesses Alba in a ritual ceremony, the young boy, Bayr looks on from the rafters in the ceiling. He soon proclaims himself as Alba’s protector. Bayr’s only weakness is stuttering; his uncle, Dagmar thinks it is a weakness that gives him balance and keeps him from becoming conceited because of his gifts. This is a very romantic novel in the historical fantasy genre, that I enjoyed very much; I’m invoking the word romance in the sense of desire, devotion, the sweetness, and innocence of young love, first love. Harmon wraps mythology very naturally into her storytelling style. The magic is not overdone, mostly consisting of rune magic invoked by a Keeper’s drops of blood. Of course, Bayr’s strength leans toward the magical and reminds me of Samson in the Bible. But Bayr is Samson without Delilah, without the devious and wicked woman, only a shining and lovely Alba, who all her life has known Bayr as her protector. Love becomes a natural outgrowth of those feelings. The strong man is an interesting element in Norse mythology. *Thor, one of Odin’s sons, frequently had to fight giants, so strength was imperative. The body and its strength were the first lines of defense and humans and other gods who required strength would call on Thor, the hammer-wielding thunder god. Harmon gives some of those characteristics to Bayr in this story but keeps him human. In the challenges and conflicts that Bayr has to face, he uses his strength to protect Alba and his people. After Alba's birth, the drought of female births has continued. Will he be able to break the curse? Harmon steadily builds tension. She discloses a lot of information to the readers that some characters know, but others don’t. It’s critical information. She stokes the suspense and the pages fly by to a climactic scene. I really enjoyed how Harmon takes us to the body (in the form of Bayr) as our first line of defense against life’s challenges. When the body fails, some magic will do. *https://www.artofmanliness.com/articl...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deanna❤Pink Lady❤️

    5 Fantastical Stars My first Amy Harmon book and boy did she captivate me. I’m not much of a fantasy reader but this one hooked me. I felt as if I was in the land of Saylor along with all the characters. I was able to visualize and feel due to the extraordinary words of the writer. Bayr and Alba..... There is no Alba without Bayr and No Bayr without Alba. Plain and Simple is the beauty of the story. It is destiny fueled by a curse of a dying mother. But this tale is also so much more. This story 5 Fantastical Stars My first Amy Harmon book and boy did she captivate me. I’m not much of a fantasy reader but this one hooked me. I felt as if I was in the land of Saylor along with all the characters. I was able to visualize and feel due to the extraordinary words of the writer. Bayr and Alba..... There is no Alba without Bayr and No Bayr without Alba. Plain and Simple is the beauty of the story. It is destiny fueled by a curse of a dying mother. But this tale is also so much more. This story is a mythological journey about sacrifice, devotion and love. It is also fueled with friendship and loyalty intertwined with lies and a secret curse. The connection that the author fuses with the different characters is ever present and continually growing. Each and every character is bold and transcendent. Without one there is not the other. Dred, Desdemona, Dagmar, Ghost, Alba, Banruud, Master Ivor, the keepers, the clans, and the Daughters of Freya all bring this fantasy alive and nourish the story to magical heights. What I have discovered over the years is that reading eloquent and magnificent writing makes any story, any genre worth trying. And while I thought I wasn’t a fantasy reader, Amy Harmon has changed my mind and made me a wanna reader. Thank you AH for a beautiful story that kept me enchanted and mesmerized and in the land of Saylor. A story for all readers who love to read about love and loss, good verses evil and magical HEAs.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ PS- This story would make a fabulous Netflix movie/mini series I must say!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"

    5 surprised stars   “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”     “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” as Ari https://readingunderstreetlamps.wordpress.com (my buddy reader said) this could be the motto of this book! The first thing that astonished me in this book is a totally different writing style from what I have read from Amy s 5 surprised stars   “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.”     “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” as Ari https://readingunderstreetlamps.wordpress.com (my buddy reader said) this could be the motto of this book! The first thing that astonished me in this book is a totally different writing style from what I have read from Amy so far. Still very beautiful though. I can't pinpoint the difference but it had a more “tale” quality. It was simpler. Naked, free of any unnecessary embellishment. It was raw like these Norse men. And it fitted the story to a T! The focal point of this story was women’s power or lack of. The women in that time and place could become warriors but were always second to men. If they were nobles they were seen as investments to forge alliances. And everything began when a woman, Desdemona, was rejected by her lover for a high-ranking woman, hoping to become king that way. But fear the woman you have wronged as she holds a great power! I loved the power of women. The greed of men and their foolish pride would be their damnation. Decades would go by with great suffering for the people because of a single curse. You can’t deny that Desdemona could hold a grudge like no one else!   One of our heroes is the young Bayr, Desdemona’s son and he’ll dedicate his life to protect Alba, the daughter of king Bayr. Bayr was solid. Loyal. A protector. Hel lived for his duty. Selfless he was humble as he was afflicted by a stutter who made him seem simple to other men. I would say that Bayr himself thought little of his intelligence but it did not bother him. He did not want to outshine everyone. He may have been gifted with enormous strength, looking like Hercules, he just wanted to serve and protect. I dare you not to love that child/man who'd rather observe and listen than talk. “I want to protect,” Bayr answered without thought or hesitation. It had always been the single-minded purpose of his young life. “I w-want to protect Saylok and the temple. I w-want to protect the princess and the d-daughters of the clans. I want to protect D-Dagmar and the k-keepers.” “You want to protect those you love.” Bayr nodded. Alba is your free-spirited child. She did not often take center stage. Or at least not before a long time as she was an infant. Bayr would have died for her. From the first second he laid eyes on her, at her birth, she’s been his sole purpose in life! Of course you can probably guess that a budding romance will come one day but strangely, Alba did feel more like a side character than a main character!   My favorite character in this book was Ghost! I won’t tell too much about her purpose or who she is to whom let’s just say that Ghost embodies maternal love in its purest form. I loved her because she was gentle even after having been ostracized for her otherness all her life. Fate never smiled on her. Yet she discreetly protected in her own way. She touched my heart and soul. I prayed for her HEA. I wanted her to have some joy she’s been denied for so long. “You are still very young.” “I am old inside,” she whispered, and he nodded as though he understood.   I realize while writing this review that both Bayr and Ghost were humble characters. And I seem to appreciate these kind characters. Because that’s one of the things Amy does best: take ordinary men and women (well Bayr was maybe not ordinary) and make them extraordinary. Last but not least of our main characters, Dagmar was a worthy hero. He was a father to Bayr. A humble man determined to be a keeper and fight his warrior of a father to follow his dream. But as much as becoming a keeper was his dream he would have renounced his calling if it meant losing Bayr. I was immediately immersed in that story as I loved the plot, the mythology, learning to understand these people. That book is filled with Norse magic, with the power of runes. Blood runes that could curse a whole land. Blood runes that should not be known by everyone as they held so much power!   And I loved that grand finale! I wanted to shout “Atta girl!”   The pace is just right, not rushed nor too slow; the villain was a true villain who had two faces and the hero was strong gifted by the gods similar to the heroes of old from mythology. What more reason do you need to read it????   Thanks for reading! Sophie Find me on: Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader Facebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader

  21. 5 out of 5

    Arini ~ Miss Casually Reading

    ✨ 3.75 "CURSED" stars ✨ the first girl child is a well crafted, lush, and epic historical fantasy tale of a cursed kingdom that captivates its readers with equal parts of intrigue and adventure inspired by the norse mythology. it's the perfect read for fans of sky in the deep . reading this book had felt like watching someone's entire lifetime period played out through a montage. a quick snippets of moments that despite all the emotions they'd evoked inside me, i was still left feeling a l ✨ 3.75 "CURSED" stars ✨ the first girl child is a well crafted, lush, and epic historical fantasy tale of a cursed kingdom that captivates its readers with equal parts of intrigue and adventure inspired by the norse mythology. it's the perfect read for fans of sky in the deep . reading this book had felt like watching someone's entire lifetime period played out through a montage. a quick snippets of moments that despite all the emotions they'd evoked inside me, i was still left feeling a little discontent at how fleeting each of those moment came to pass. id barely had time to fully appreciate it before the image changed. main concern the story spans more than twenty years starting from when bayr was born (which then marks "the activation" of the curse plaguing the kingdom) up until it's lifted (which eventually happens when he is about twenty years old). so the book covers significant moments from bayr's childhood to his teen and new adult life. now bcs of this, the book feels draggy at times. i truly enjoyed reading about bayr's adventures throughout the years, but (as in most cases with filler scenes) they seemed a little pointless and only prolonged the resolvement phase of the main conflict which was the curse itself. i wish the author had started the story with bayr at the age of eighteen instead and provided us with a few flashbacks when necessary. that way it'd make the book feel less like a "documentary" and more like a full fledged story that has a clear stages of plot from exposition, to conflict, to climax, to resolution. aside from that, everything else is written off almost to perfection. i love the elaborate world building, how the kingdom is divided into different clans. the magic system is a little unutilized, but i love the keepers' temple and what it signifies. the writing is beautiful and vivid. it brings the story to life. the book is less about the forbidden romance of two main characters, but more about the journey of collective characters. its focus is not only on bayr and alba, but also other characters surrounding them as well. i feel like this book doesnt even have main characters. they're all equally important, and the pov alternates from all of them. although some do happen more often than others. the relationship dynamic among these characters is truly exceptionally done. you can find the distinction in each shift and how they all intertwine in the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hulya Kara Yuksel

    "There is no Alba without Bayr,” she whispered. “Not now. Not then. Not ever again.” "There is no Alba without Bayr,” she whispered. “Not now. Not then. Not ever again.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover

    2 “Bored to Tears” Stars Someone save me I’m so BORED! I’m really, REALLY disappointed in this one. I don’t usually compare my friends reviews and I don’t expect to rate books the same way they do but for the life of me I don’t understand how this book got so many 5 stars! The pacing was slow, and the storyline wasn’t going anywhere...I lost interest 50% into book and skimmed the rest. I wanted badly to like this one, but this just didn’t work for me. It felt like a badly done Vikings. I love Amy 2 “Bored to Tears” Stars Someone save me I’m so BORED! I’m really, REALLY disappointed in this one. I don’t usually compare my friends reviews and I don’t expect to rate books the same way they do but for the life of me I don’t understand how this book got so many 5 stars! The pacing was slow, and the storyline wasn’t going anywhere...I lost interest 50% into book and skimmed the rest. I wanted badly to like this one, but this just didn’t work for me. It felt like a badly done Vikings. I love Amy Harmon but I think I’m going to stay away from her fantasy books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    CC

    In the land of Saylok, five regions are divided and inhabited by different clans. Under the leadership of one king and the keepers, a curse plagues the island preventing the birth of daughters. As many become desperate and factions begin to fight, the fate of Saylok rests with Bayr, a natural warrior but also a man of profound understanding, who is entrusted to protect the first girl child, Alba. Though Bayr carries his burdens, making sacrifices will test what he’s always held in his heart. In the land of Saylok, five regions are divided and inhabited by different clans. Under the leadership of one king and the keepers, a curse plagues the island preventing the birth of daughters. As many become desperate and factions begin to fight, the fate of Saylok rests with Bayr, a natural warrior but also a man of profound understanding, who is entrusted to protect the first girl child, Alba. Though Bayr carries his burdens, making sacrifices will test what he’s always held in his heart. “And in the end, we can only sacrifice ourselves. To sacrifice others is no sacrifice at all.” Spanning over twenty years, this narrative follows the struggles and bonds of its characters and how they intersect at key moments bringing a complexity to the ongoing plot landscape. With each bearing their own vulnerabilities, secrets and strengths, overcoming injustices without becoming cruel or hardened is a running theme. “The test was not to escape. The test was to endure. To withstand.” From the first page, I was captivated by this uniquely crafted mythological story. With brilliant foreshadowing, knowing the power certain secrets hold adds incredible tension to the plot. There is beauty in the love and respect these characters hold for their loved ones. With such intensity, the pain they bear is just as tangible, which makes the journey that much richer. “This is the first rune because without light and belief, everything is darkness, and everything and everyone becomes the enemy.” With this array of distinct characters, they each have a pivotal role and I loved the majority of them. Of course, Bayr, Dagmar and Ghost are standouts for me, but I also enjoyed hating the villains. Adding to the fantasy genre, I was fascinated with the magic of the runes and how such power can be used for good or evil. The First Girl Child is an epic mythological journey with themes of sacrifice, corruption, integrity, loyalty, friendship, and ultimately love. This story will appeal to those who seek to escape into a perfectly executed fantasy world. *An ARC was provided by in exchange for an honest review.* *This was a (F)BR with Twinsie Hawkey and Loyda! For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Amy Harmon is one of my favourite authors and she doesn't disappoint with "The First Girl Child". A dark yet beautiful, slow-paced fantasy based on Norse mythology. The world building and the character development created an extraordinary world. A world of war and hope, heartbreak and loss, friendship and love. Regardless of the genre Amy Harmon writes (contemporary being my favourite) her books are sure to captivate and mesmerize me. Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for a copy of this novel in e Amy Harmon is one of my favourite authors and she doesn't disappoint with "The First Girl Child". A dark yet beautiful, slow-paced fantasy based on Norse mythology. The world building and the character development created an extraordinary world. A world of war and hope, heartbreak and loss, friendship and love. Regardless of the genre Amy Harmon writes (contemporary being my favourite) her books are sure to captivate and mesmerize me. Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyle

    3.75 Stars ⭐️

  27. 5 out of 5

    talon smith

    As I am typing this review out, I am also currently packing up my house so that I can permanently take up residency inside of Amy Harmon's pretty brain. Could you just imagine the amount of magic you would witness if you spent your days inside of there? I can. And let me tell you, it sounds like my dream vacation destination.  While reading The First Girl Child, I loved a lot of things. Below, I am going to bullet point each one. I feel like this should be a very organized and broken down review. As I am typing this review out, I am also currently packing up my house so that I can permanently take up residency inside of Amy Harmon's pretty brain. Could you just imagine the amount of magic you would witness if you spent your days inside of there? I can. And let me tell you, it sounds like my dream vacation destination.  While reading The First Girl Child, I loved a lot of things. Below, I am going to bullet point each one. I feel like this should be a very organized and broken down review. -The mixture of action and humor. Seriously. The dry humor is incredible. Seeing the characters interact was so amusing and entertaining.  -The characters. Okay but seriously. I can't sit here and break it down, one by one, because each character had such strong characteristics that I loved for all sorts of different reasons. But I will say that in true Amy Harmon fashion, she has created a set of characters that you will remember years later. When you hear someone say the title "The Last Girl Child" you will instantly replay the great cast of characters inside of your head and smile. -The story concept. Loved it. Point. Blank. LOVED IT. The title portrays just what I loved most about it. Have you read a book like this? NO. Even remotely close? NO, probably not. It's unique. It's Amy Harmon. She is a fantastic story teller. Each time I pick up one of her books, I am always reminded of that. -Imagery & settings. Um, HELLO. Every single time you turn the page you see just how vivid Amy's settings and scenes are. I had absolutely ZERO trouble playing these scenes out in my mind because Amy's writing is top notch in the sense that she paints the prettiest pictures for us as a reader.  I felt like I was writing a paper for college when I was typing this review out. But I also feel like I could go on and on about this story. And well, the bullet point process probably just shut me up an extra 15 minutes. You're welcome. When I think of Amy Harmon, I always think about how dynamic she is as a writer. Want a romance? Amy Harmon. Want a fantasy? Amy Harmon. Want a historical book? Amy Harmon. Do you just want to sit down and read a damn good book and forget the world for a little while? AMY HARMON.  All kidding aside, this book was magical. Just... magical. Possibly some of Amy's best work to date. I hope that if you are looking for a book that gets you lost for a little while, you pick this one up. If not, you are missing out.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Korrie’s Korner

    Infinite Stars! Totally Speechless. I’m so afraid that I don’t have the proper words for a review to do this book justice. This is my first kind of book in this particular genre. I love fantasy, but this is beyond anything I’ve read. Norse mythology, Vikings, blood runes..I found myself looking up things and wanting to learn more. That’s the sign of an amazing storyteller and Amy Harmon has truly outdone herself with this one. I just want to stay in this world for a while. Where do I begin..Bayr, t Infinite Stars! Totally Speechless. I’m so afraid that I don’t have the proper words for a review to do this book justice. This is my first kind of book in this particular genre. I love fantasy, but this is beyond anything I’ve read. Norse mythology, Vikings, blood runes..I found myself looking up things and wanting to learn more. That’s the sign of an amazing storyteller and Amy Harmon has truly outdone herself with this one. I just want to stay in this world for a while. Where do I begin..Bayr, the “temple boy” totally captured my heart. This power he has, this strength he possessed from the time he was born—he wasn’t like other boys. His weakness was his speech. He stuttered and it caused him embarrassment at times, but it made me love him more. His heart was so good, pure, protective and had such a strong love over the little Princess, Alba. The bond these two shared from the moment Bayr held her as a newborn was intrinsic. She moved, he moved. “There is no Alba without Bayr.” They were best friends. The love they shared gives me chills..So much I could say here, but for spoilers sake I will not. I’ll just urge you to read. Dagmar and Ghost’s forbidden love story added such a marvelous element as well. They captured me from the start and I knew they were both doomed by the love they felt for each other. That old song comes to mind, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” I’m still in my feels over this part: “Then his mouth brushed hers, a kiss no deeper than a raindrop, and she tightened her hands at his face, holding him to her. “‘I cannot see, my tongue is a traitor,’” he whispered, the whispered words tickling her lips. “‘My flesh is a foe, my heart a betrayer,’ Alas, they had to guard themselves against each other, but were still best friends even though they knew what was between them. I just love this. Amy did such a good job at building this story from the ground up. I was enraptured with the origin of this story and the background. This is all essential to understand where it’s going and I loved every single morsel. Open your heart and mind and just feel your way through this book. I felt every emotion known to man I feel, and my heart still aches from finishing such an epic tale. I need more and I’m so glad Amy is writing more of this world because there are more stories to be told with these characters and clans. Infinite stars from me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Betül

    **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** First of all, I want to say that I love that Amy Harmon decided to write a Fantasy novel. She is one of the most well-rounded authors and can write, in my opinion, in any genre she wants. I don't read a lot of Fantasy novels because I find the story-building sometimes a bit complicated. You get a lot of information in a small time of frame, and it is difficult to absorb all of it. However, I never got that feeling from The First Girl **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** First of all, I want to say that I love that Amy Harmon decided to write a Fantasy novel. She is one of the most well-rounded authors and can write, in my opinion, in any genre she wants. I don't read a lot of Fantasy novels because I find the story-building sometimes a bit complicated. You get a lot of information in a small time of frame, and it is difficult to absorb all of it. However, I never got that feeling from The First Girl Child. Amy's writing is always very easy to read, and has a great flow. I was teleported to Saylok and I felt like I was really living in that Kingdom. I loved all the characters and their relationships. The secondary characters felt as important as the main characters. They all played a very important role in the book, so I was happy that the author included their POVs. The romance aspect is a bit in the background, which I surprisingly didn't mind too much. However, I would've wanted this to be part of a series instead of a stand-alone. I think there is still so much to explore in this world, and I am very intrigued by it. The last quarter just flew by and the book was finished before I knew it. So that felt a bit rushed because a lot of things happened towards the end, and I think the author could've taken more time to spread it out a bit more. It even made me wonder if there would be a cliffhanger at the end, which I wouldn't have minded. But unfortunately no, it has an ending. I am happy that Amy included an epilogue, but I wish it was longer. I really liked this book and I hope that Amy will decide to revisit this world/genre in the near future, because I love the characters and I really hope that some of them get their own book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    JenacideByBibliophile

    Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, 47North, via Netgalley for an honest review. “'I cannot see, my tongue is a traitor. My flesh is a foe, my heart a betrayer. My eyes will I blacken, my lips will I close. And let the runes lead me down paths I must go. No man can follow. No man can lead. No man can save me, no man can free.”' This book is PHENOMENAL! Desdemona of Dolphys spent her last day alive giving birth to the bastard son of a cruel chieftain, and cursing the kingdom of Saylo Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, 47North, via Netgalley for an honest review. “'I cannot see, my tongue is a traitor. My flesh is a foe, my heart a betrayer. My eyes will I blacken, my lips will I close. And let the runes lead me down paths I must go. No man can follow. No man can lead. No man can save me, no man can free.”' This book is PHENOMENAL! Desdemona of Dolphys spent her last day alive giving birth to the bastard son of a cruel chieftain, and cursing the kingdom of Saylok: If man can so easily turn his back on his child and the woman who carries him, then man will know what it means to live without woman. “We are abused. We are used. We are bartered and abandoned. But rarely are we loved. So be it. From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok for any of you to love.” The First Girl Child is about a curse over a kingdom that ensures only males are born. It is about the life of a temple boy named Bayr who is gifted with inhuman strength, and the first girl child born during the curse, Princess Alba. The book is one of love, sacrifice, deceit, honor, faith, hope and brutality. Women are taken by force from territories and surrounding Kingdoms, in the hopes that women outside of Saylok are exempt from the curse and can break the drought. There is adventure and war, but also compassion and loyalty dripping from these remarkable pages. It is a story of oppression and doing what is expected of you, rather than what you choose. “This is not a world where a man or woman gets much choice in their happiness. We are born into war and each day is a battle” This is an EPIC historical fantasy that I don't think I could have lived without! It centers on Saylok, a kingdom made up of six territories, with each territory being ruled by it's own chieftain and Saylok being ruled by a King. The territories of Adyar, Berne, Dolphys, Ebba, Joran and Leok live in peace with the role of King being rotated between the tribes each time one dies. At the center of Saylok resides Temple Hill, where the Keepers live in isolation, protecting the knowledge of the blood runes and communicating with the Gods. The story is set over a number of years as the reader watches Bayr grow within the temple walls under the care of his uncle and the Keepers. As he becomes a toddler, it becomes known that Bayr is unlike other children. Within 6 months of his birth he is walking and running, and by the age of 5 he has already taken down a bear with only his hands. But with his inhuman strength and speed also comes his unflinching heart and need to protect. So when the first girl child is finally born, Bayr feels an instant connection to the her and swears an oath to become her protector. We watch as Bayr and Alba grow together, becoming a formidable and inseparable pair, and how their relationship begins to shift as the years pass. The relationship they share is positively adorable and beautiful. Bayr is the solid figure in Alba's life as she grows into a small child. He acts as her confidant, brother, guard and bestfriend. His days center on Alba, and hers center on him. I found so many small smiles blossoming my cheeks as I read about these two growing together, having adventures and learning. Alba being a fierce and outspoken little girl, and Bayr being a quiet and observant boy who treats her with such care and love. They are the true heart of this book, and the romance that is...EVERYTHING you could ask for. “There is no Alba without Bayr.” But two other characters that really steal the show are Dagmar, Bayr's uncle, and Ghost, the biological mother of Alba.. These two play HUGE roles in the development and lives of Bayr and Alba. They are kindhearted, compassionate and AMAZING people who live their lives in the shadows. A love between Dagmar and Ghost blossoms, but it is a relationship that is forbidden due to Dagmar being a Keeper. But the resilience, strength and selfless love that these two exude is the touch of hope and innocence that envelopes this book. I think what really blew me away about this book, besides the incredible world-building, overall plot and complete badassery, was the writing. This is my first read from Amy Harmon, and I am SHOCKED and a little outraged that I have never come across her before! Her writing is detailed, exciting and addicting. I don't normally go for fantasy books that have that Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings style, but I am SO happy I decided to request this. I was fearful that it would be slow, that I would have trouble with the names and places, but NONE of that happened. I was ADDICTED! If there is one bad thing I can say about this book, it's that it isn't the first in a series. But, I'm secretly hoping it magically becomes one.

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