This novel was published in 2010 and is the first novel by J. A. Pitts (John A. Pitts). I have been trying to read up on genres that I usually paid no attention to such as urban fantasy, westerns, and so forth. So I got this book on lark because I liked that it was going to include some Norse stuff. Also, the main character is a blacksmith, which is definitely unique.
However, I did not like the main character at all. She’s hardly believable. But also, she’s just not a character I want to read about. At all. Sarah Beauhall is the daughter of really hyper-Christian parents. She went to college for a degree in English (not unlike the author) and then somehow got involved in becoming a blacksmith. She also works as an apprentice for another female blacksmith. This was one of many things that irked me. How many blacksmiths does the author think exist? And of that number, how many, really, are female? Beauhall is also in a SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) guild called Black Briar. Anyway, Sarah is a bit too wild and rambunctious and she mangles all the friendships that she has. She also gets fired from her two jobs (one as the apprentice blacksmith, two as the props manager for a movie group). In the end, however, she’s the heroine that saves everyone and all is repaired in her relationships.
The plot is really quite predictable. I really like the concept of utilizing Norse mythology in an urban fantasy setting. I really do not like the way Pitts uses it. I like the concept of dragons and Odin and witches. I dislike using these concepts in a way in which all of the characters are somewhat petty, make dumb mistakes, and have obvious tragic flaws. Also, the amount of relationship/romance fluff in the book is just downright obnoxious. I guess Pitts wanted to focus on the characters in this manner, but honestly, I disliked all of it. However, even supposing there was a reader who was all very interested in the relationship stuff, I think that by the middle of the book that reader, too, would find the incessant whining and acting-out of the characters to be tedious and tired.
Pitts does have a few interesting characters, like Qindra, but for the most part the characters are over-emotive and obvious. The main character does have some snarky wit here and there, but it hardly makes up for her miserable whining. Frankly, Beauhall is not a likeable character. The dragons seem simply beastly, but though they have lived an exceedingly long time, they still make stupid mistakes and act over-emotionally. (How does a DRAGON act over-emotively?!) Overall, the book is not the worst book I have ever read. I could easily give it one star, but I do appreciate the overall general idea of the Norse mythology. For that, Pitts is begrudgingly given a second star.