Book Reveiw: Ice Land – Betsy Tobin


  • TitleIce Land
  • AuthorBetsy Tobin
  • Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology
  • Publication Date:  February 2008
  • Publisher: Short Books
  • Rating: 3 stars

Drawing from Norse mythology and the Icelandic saga, Ice land calls in characters like Odin, Freya, Freyr, and the Giants, swirling them into a story that reads like the sagas of old. Like the sweeping lands of Ice Land in AD 1000, Ice Land takes you on a journey through mountains and valleys, underground in Dwarf caves, and up high on feather wings made for a woman, part human, part goddess.

Infused with the rich history and mythology of Iceland, Betsy Tobin’s sweeping novel is an epic adventure of forbidden love, lust, jealousy, faith and magical wonder set under the shadow of a smoldering volcano. 

Iceland, AD 1000
Freya knows that her people are doomed. Warned by the Fates of an impending disaster, she must embark on a journey to find a magnificent gold necklace, one said to possess the power to alter the course of history. But even as Freya travels deep into the mountains of Iceland, the country is on the brink of war. The new world order of Christianity is threatening the old ways of Iceland-s people, and tangled amidst it all are two star-crossed lovers who destiny draws them together-even as their families are determined to tear them apart.

I expected a bit more Viking and less Asgard and Giants and Dwarves. Instead, I found a tale as deep and explosive as Hekla the volcano erupting and destroying a mountain and valley.

I loved the foray into the Norse pantheon, calling on the gods and goddesses of old and making them more human than even the humans.

I rated the book 3 stars for the writing style – I found myself skimming paragraphs because of the “heavy” writing. The story was good and drawing from Norse folklore, it had a rich foundation, but the writing could have been tighter, the voice more inspiring. I did find it confusing initially to keep all the characters straight and recognize their intentions and personalities. I did also expect their storylines to converge more – I thought they would do so epically, but instead, there were touch points where the characters’ met and interacted, but then went their separate ways.

Still, I think it tried to mimic old Norse tales, and with a rich character cast, it held my attention and made me want to pick up more books of Norse folklore.

Favorite quotes from Ice Land:

“And this,” he says, holding up the chain. “This represents the sin of solitude.”

“It takes more than wings to release one from the bonds of kinship.” 

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