cover image A Fate Inked in Blood

A Fate Inked in Blood

Danielle L. Jensen. Del Rey, $29.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-59983-9

This sizzling if sometimes silly romantasy kicks off Jensen’s Saga of the Unfated series (after the Bridge Kingdom series). The setting is a Norse mythology–inspired universe where a few “unfated” humans are gifted with one blood drop each from one of the fierce Nordic pantheon and are thus able to magically defy the destinies that would otherwise be set for them. Among the unfated is Freya, who leaves off fishgutting to pursue her dream of becoming a lusty shieldmaiden after she’s smitten by gorgeous Bjorn, a warrior from Nordeland now fighting to help ruler Jarl Snorri unite Skaland as its king. Both Freya and Bjorn, whom Snorri assigns to protect her, are torn between conflicting obligations: Freya’s swelling passion for Bjorn clashes with her duty to her family, and Bjorn’s desire for Freya distracts from his quest to avenge his mother. Jensen tries to have it both ways: making Freya a hard-drinking, saucy-mouthed New Woman, even as Bjorn’s face, body, and suggestive repartee continually befuddle her. Both characters’ inner angst feels insufficiently motivated, though heated battles and steamy interludes keep the pages turning. It’s entertaining historical fluff. Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Context Literary. (Feb.)