Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Year of the Warrior - Lars Walker

Overall: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Pacing: 10/10
Message: 10/10

I'd never had all to high of an opinion of Vikings. It's much easier for me to empathize with the ones they raided: the monks in their monastery, hoping that their high stone walls can survive the north men's deprivations, the villagers, grabbing whatever implements they can find that are pointy, or heavy, or might give them the slightest chance of survival against these hardened warriors.The Vikings, in summary, I viewed less as men, and more as I would a tornado, a hurricane, an impersonal force of nature existing only to bring disaster, ruin, and death.

Thus, coming into the book, Mr. Walker had a higher than normal barrier to my attention. Thankfully, I was intrigued enough by Vox Day's review of Hailstone Mountain (The third book in the series) to check out The Year of the Warrior on Amazon. Read the first few pages free? Don't mind if I do! And thus sucked in, I was blown away. 

This book shines in so many ways: the characters, the setting, the unexpected plot progression, but most of all in it's vivid portrayal of faith, doubt, and our continuing walk with God. The main characters stumble, struggle, but still stay moving forward. 

That is what makes this book so valuable: faith isn't portrayed as easy. It's not a Christian pop song filled with joy, sunshine, and rainbows. Faith is duty, faith is labor, faith is love (the verb, not the noun). Erling Skjalgsson, his bullyboys, and the irregularly ordained Father Aillil must fight their demons, both within and without. They must stand strong, even when help seems far off. 

As the book moves forward, you begin to fall in love with the characters and, along with Father Aillil (but not half so grudgingly) with the life of Sola. Unlike some books, you don't get the feeling that the plot is just trying to check things off a checklist, rather, you're living alongside Aillil, Erling et. a. during the most momentous year of their lives. You find yourself genuinely worried and concerned that they make it through alright (and not everyone will).

And most of all, through the way in which He works with these men and women to strengthen, save, and sanctify, you fall in love again (or possibly for the very first time) with Christ. That alone is well worth the $6.99 price of admission. If you haven't figured it out already, I heartily recommend Lars Walker's Year of the Warrior. If you have any disposable income, ability to read a book, and free time, pick it up now.

Buy it now.

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