The Last of the Renshai by Mickey Zucker Reichert

So even though this book is based from Scandinavian mythology it is not set in our world which seems an odd choice but it works well enough.

One of our main POV’s is Rache, the only survivor from a massacre of his people the Renshai who were renowned but hated warriors. He ends up in a town and there he trains up two other people, Mitrian the daughter of the town leader, and Garn a convicted gladiator. All the while in the background plans are brewing between the East and West and a prophesied battle looks like it’s coming to a head.

This sounds fairly cliched, and considering it’s from the early nineties you wouldn’t be too surprised if it was either but it’s actually not too bad at all. Yes there are cliche elements but the story and world are different enough that it doesn’t really matter. Rache is very well written, I think the author really managed to convey a very different mindset compared to what we are used to. The Renshai basically conditioned themselves through generations to revere war and fighting to such an extent that they were basically useless at everything else. It is a very savage and hard viewpoint but the author managed to show how they didn’t view it like that themselves and you could almost see the beauty in what they did. You certainly sympathised with them.

Our other two main POV’s were Mitrian and Garn and I started off disliking both of them but they grew on me even if Garn didn’t as much as Mitrian. Mitrian was just spoiled and Garn was so hateful due to his years in captivity that even though you understood and sympathised with him I couldn’t like him. Credit again to the author, she really made me grow to like them and they went on some very cool arcs.

The world itself is also really interesting, the Scandinavian mythology is there but only in references so far, but I think it will play a much bigger role in later books. The only let down was the whole swarthy Eastern thing that seems racist and dated at this time and it threw me off a bit at the beginning. Overall though it’s a very interesting world created and I am very much looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Solid 4 stars

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