i received a copy of shield maiden from allen & unwin nz & bloomsbury au in exchange for an honest review.
shield maiden review
shield maiden is a feminist retelling of beowulf. i didn’t realise this when i first started reading it, and i’ve never read the original so i can’t compare the two, but i found it very refreshing and new. i’ve never read or heard of a beowulf retelling before.
at first, i thought this was just another historical fiction book, but it ended up having some fantasy elements that i wasn’t expecting. it was a nice surprise! (to those who’ve read the original, it won’t surprise you 😂). i really enjoyed that this was a feminist take, as it made it quite enjoyable to see these female characters do things they wouldn’t normally do. that being said, scandinavia was pretty feminist before things changed.
one thing i really loved about this book was how likeable the characters were. (admittedly, there were some absolutely horrid ones). they were likeable and relatable, which is two important things i want in characters. i felt sympathy when certain characters suffered, and absolute joy when others suffered 😂.
the first half of shield maiden was tediously slow. like, unnecessarily so. nothing plot-wise happened, it was all set up and world building. the last half was absolutely mind blowing and intense. the plot picked up, the action went hard. my brain was trying to keep up with my reading!
although the first half was quite slow, i really enjoyed the world building. i love this time period in scandinavia so it wasn’t hard for me to really get into things. there’s a lot to learn, but it’s interesting.
overall, i really enjoyed this book despite the slower start. i think the beowulf retelling was an interesting decision. i’m intrigued enough that i’ve added the original tale to my tbr.