cover image Shades of Winter

Shades of Winter

Morgan Smith. Traveling Light, $2.99 e-book (286p) ISBN 978-0-9950366-3-5

The disjointed latest standalone installment in Smith’s Viking-esque fantasy series, the Averraine Cycle, finds the aging and world-weary Tam Isliefsdottir leading her comrades, the Kyndred, in a retaliatory raid on a mysterious island protected by dangerous magic. After encountering a vicious legendary monster, they rescue someone thought long gone who may bring new hope or tragedy down on them. The story’s events don’t always seem to connect, and sometimes they feel as if they’ve lost their relevance until the climax approaches. The pacing is irregularly balanced among action, flashbacks, and occasionally sluggish sections where little happens. But Tam still draws readers in as the tired warrior driven by a frustration; her continual struggles, both in combat and in her personal life, and her once-deep relationship with her rescued companion make her sympathetic. This novel covers ground too seldom trod in any variation of the Viking setting, and despite its flaws, any fan of quasi-historical fantasy will find it enjoyable. (BookLife)