Warrior Of The Wild by Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Available Through The Book Depository: Warrior Of The Wild
Cover Design: Nekro & Liz Dresner (Jacket Design)
Summary: How do you kill a god?
As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Warrior And The Wild is viking-inspired YA Fantasy filled with adventure, fun and witty banter, romance, and delivers a fast-paced story perfect if your looking for a standalone tale! Rasmira is sent to the Wild where she encounters monsters, meets new friends, and can only be redeemed by killing a god that causes mayhem across the villages!
Ever since I read Tricia’s debut Daughter of The Pirate King, she became a new favorite author! Her books are always such fun, unique, and immersive fantasy tales. They’re also so readable that you can get through them in just a couple sittings (like I did). I loved that because its been a while since I read a book within the span of a couple days and this is exactly the kind of read I needed!
I’m also looking forward to reading the recently released YA The Shadows Between Us because not only is it a Tricia Levenseller book, but there’s a mysterious Shadow King, royalty, and the main character Alessandra wants to take the kingdom for herself?! How epic does that sound?
So back to Warrior, you see a complete transformation from Rasmira as she goes on her quest where it becomes a tale of survival, trust, friendship, and discovery in this viking-inspired world!
Rasmira Bendrauggo is next in line as leader of her village, Seravin! With her father being the master of the village, she’s trained most of her life to be one of the toughest axe-wielding warriors (being the youngest of 5 older sisters) and although the other guys in her training group are always quick to tease her, she’s grateful to have her friend Torrin.
However, when she’s set up and banished to the Wild during her ceremony, her only way to get back into her village and father’s good graces is to complete an impossible quest (Mattugr) by killing a god. More specifically, Peruxolo, a god filled with magic that demands goods/payment from villages each year.
She feels alone during her banishment, but is mostly filled with anger at being betrayed by those she thought cared about her (Torrin & her mother). She soon meets other banished warriors, Sorren & Iric, and the closer they become she realizes the only way for them all to get back home, is to work together. Though she’s eager to work things out herself, she learns how important it is to stick together through the dangerous Wild.
Sorren is honor-bound to stay with Iric which is why he’s put a hold on completing his own quest. Both boys have a deeper sense of loyalty and kindness that Rasmira isn’t used to, but she soon realizes that she can depend on them.
While Raz’s emotional/character arc is something we have seen before, its in the surrounding mysteries and unique world of the Wild that keeps things interesting!
As the story progresses, there’s lots of questioning as to what Mattugrs really do, whether they really can change a fallen warrior. Yet, the guys realize that along their own journeys they don’t feel all too different. So Raz takes that realization to heart and on her quest to return promises to change her village’s rules, even with the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. That left a lot of wondering as to where the villages are headed once the reader finally reaches the end!
The themes present in this book also wove in inspiring messages that added even more depth to Rasmira’s character, which were fun to explore! Her conflict of being both a good warrior and not disappointing her father, while also learning to respect her feminine side was a great message that was present throughout the entirety of the book (especially showcased through the romance and friendships she creates). She learns its okay to be emotional and although she was never given the chance to show it, she learns a newfound respect for it. Trust is also a big theme explored throughout Warrior as she learns to overcome her past hurt with Torrin as she becomes even closer with Soren!
Friendship was an even bigger theme present and in true Levenseller style, its filled with a lot of banter and humor (I know this book is meant to be serious at times, but I couldn’t help but read this book as a comedy because even Raz has a snarky internal voice you can’t ignore). The same goes for the romance! Tricia always builds a lot of layers and development to the romantic relationships and this one was so well done! I never felt that any of the relationships were rushed.
Learning more about Sorren and Iric’s pasts, how loyal and honor-bound they are to each other and it was a nice alternative to Raz’s hometown where she really didn’t have any friends to rely on anymore. Getting a glimpse into their village of Restin added more history/depth to the world too!
Iric is a skilled smith, while we also learn Sorren had changed for the better, when being banished to the Wild too. From goddesses, to all the different monsters like Ziken, hyggja, and other interesting details, it made the setting really come to life.
The world itself feels confined but it really allows for the unique atmosphere and tension to build. According to an interview from Curiositales Magazine April 2019 issue, here’s what Levenseller said about how she crafted the “hardened world” of the Wild and its surrounding villages:
“… the “animals they hunt […] have tough exoskeletons; even their fruit has these tough husks. The monsters that hunt them can only be killed with the heavy swing of an axe…”
The descriptions of the world delivery a dense forest setting, alongside the culture (from what I’m guessing) is inspired by Norse myth and language!
Its through the 1st person POV that allows for not only the atmosphere to shine through, but also the various emotional layers to the story as well! Rasmira tries to recover what she’s lost, but also learns there is so much more to be gained! It was a small detail, but I loved how Tricia added that because Raz begins questioning her world more and the rules its established. I admired her resiliency, even if she faced quite a bit of hurt. She not only learns what it takes to be a leader, but also the importance of friendship and trust.
Through her perspective you also feel a connection to the characters and that’s because of how emotionally-driven her character is! You really get to know her healer sister Irrenia, the main guys, even more about Peruxolo.
There’s lots of mystery that keeps you guessing, from coming up with plans to complete the quests, to learning more about Peruxolo and how he can be defeated! One of the most interesting mysteries was Peruxolo’s past, I had many theories and there was a lot of unique little pieces thrown at the reader as to how he got his powers to keep you guessing! I also liked how like elements of minerals and bit of geology was used in very interesting ways!
It feels like your just thrown into this world without much background, but the more you delve into Warrior, it develops as it goes along. The only issues that dropped my rating stem from the world building and how the plot/writing develop at points.
In the beginning, I was struggling to really grasp this world, but that’s also because viking-inspired stories aren’t really my thing. I felt we knew only the basics of the villages the more the story progressed, but the development of the Wild was really well done. There were moments in Rasmira’s POV (mainly in the beginning) that I felt could have been more descriptive and less direct to make certain layers of her journey detailed and immersive (maybe less obvious too b/c it was easy for me to pick up on certain story beats), but again the further I read it was just lot of fun. As for certain characters, I just wanted a bit more depth to them, like Raz’s other sisters. Her mother’s journey was an interesting one too, but again there were just characters introduced who I felt we only got to know through the surface level.
As for diversity, Iric is gay and its mentioned there was a m/m relationship between Iric and his boyfriend Aros from back home. Its reflected on and develops throughout the book.
Overall if your looking to enjoy a quickly-paced, fantasy story with a unique setting, engaging plot and witty banter to keep things interesting, I recommend this standalone!
Warrior Of The Wild is viking-inspired quest fantasy that follows warrior Rasmira and the journey she undergoes in becoming a more skilled leader for her people when she’s banished to the Wild! Filled with banter, unique viking-inspired setting, mystery, romance + banter, and a fast-paced story, Levenseller’s YA Fantasy wraps up very nicely!
Its been a while since I’ve done this, so for today’s post I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review 😍📚✨:
We had a lot of similar thoughts on this book and you can sense her enthusiasm all throughout her 5-star review! I also love the nice list she added at the end to sum up what you can expect from Tricia’s book!