Title: The Weight of a Soul
Author: Elizabeth Tammi
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mythology
No. of pages: Paperback, 320 pgs
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Date Read: December 3, 2019
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When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.
But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.
Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?
Many thanks to Flux for sending me an e-copy to review!
Mythology has always been a topic that I’ve been interested in. Many of the myths that we have even now have survived centuries after being passed down from generation to generation. It’s always such a great time learning more about how mythologies shape culture. And The Weight of a Soul is no exception. Tammi has taken mythological gods and created a story where the morality greys in order to serve the greater good. But it also serves as a reminder that actions have consequences, either good or bad, and you never know until it happens.
The Weight of a Soul follows Lena, first born to a Viking chief. Her, her sister, Fressa, and Amal are inseparable. Fressa, though Lena’s younger sister, is engaged to Amal, is well loved by their people, and has an unnatural strength and agility that other warriors do not possess. When Lena and Fressa’s father returns from a far away raid, he brings Fressa a knife. But this knife glows only when it’s in the hands of Fressa. When Lena, Fressa, and Amal find out some startling news that shakes their planned futures, Fressa runs off into the woods. When Lena follows, she finds Fressa dead in the woods. Lena, desperate to bring her sister back finds herself in front of Hela, the goddess of death. Lena strikes a bargain with Hela in exchange of her sister, a soul for a soul, but Lena soon finds that not every soul is equal in weight. What follows is a story of one sister’s love for another, and a hidden lesson about the choices that we make in order to make things right that are out of our control. This story has some crazy twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.
One of my absolute favorite things in this book is that it didn’t fold to the norms of the typical hero trope. The one where something bad happens and then the protagonist seems to do everything right and BAM! day saved or situation resolved. Lena lost someone that she loved dearly and knew better than herself, her sister. But in order to save her, she became someone that she wasn’t in order to try to bring her back. Everything she did, she tried to justify her reasons even though they were wrong, because the cost that she placed on her actions were nothing compared to bringing her sister back. She, for all sense and reason, became the villan, but not one that was callous, but one that felt the loss that she was bringing and regretted it, but not as much as she should have. But at the end, it was the choice she didn’t think of, that saved her and I think it was a nice twist… incredibly sad and destroyed me… but a nice twist in Lena’s arc.
Also, I really liked how the mythology was threaded all the way through. These myths even became the characters that played such an influential role, one that wasn’t noticed until it happened. I loved being surprised at all the mythological elements, but I also loved that it was myths that I knew. And to me, it felt natural, all the inclusions of the myths. Lena’s story is for sure heart breaking, but it’s one heart break that you’ll enjoy reading. Tammi did a great job at creating a story that is well paced, well told, and well executed. The Weight of a Soul released yesterday, December 3rd, 2019, and I hope it’s one that you’ll consider picking up. It’s a perfect winter read!
Elizabeth Tammi was born in California and grew up in Florida, but is currently double-majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism as an undergraduate at Mercer Univeristy in Gerogia. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Elizabeth at work for her university’s newspaper and literary magazine. Her other interests include traveling, caffeinated beverages, and mythology. You can find Elizabeth online on Tumblr at (annabethisterrified), Twitter at (@ElizabethTammi), Instagram at (elizabeth_tammi) and at elizabethtammi.com.
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