First Night: The Gift and the Sacrifice by Gabriel J Klein

Rating 6.8/10
For a teenage series this could get much better.

This story, the first of 4 books, is one that grows on you. I didn’t enjoy the way the book had been structured into very short chapters, some only 3 pages long, and most of these chapters seemed to be changing from one character’s perspective to another, or to another scene, which can be quite jarring as it didn’t feel like the story flowed that well.

Otherwise I found that once you got used to the characters and the way they addressed each other it became easier to enjoy. The characters themselves don’t always feel 3-Dimensional as they are generally focused on what they want without ever considering what other people may want. I felt that the most well drawn characters were the horses.

I picked this book up hoping that this would be a story which would give greater scope to the Norse mythology that the book is based on, but as it seems to be written with mostly teenagers in mind. I can understand why it is shrouded in mystery, but it would have been more interesting if there had been more to the back story about the Guardians. The plot itself is about a boy’s devotion to the horses that he looks after as he gets dragged into a mystery with Valkyries at its centre. The Guardians and Sir Jonas’ quest for the power found in unnamed runes are the most interesting part of the book as Caz himself has no interest in the supernatural and doesn’t even believe in it.

The back of the book Caz is described as a 13 year old, but in the book I can not find any reference to his age and by the end of the book he seems to be closer to 15 years of age after the trial and he goes through during the story. It would probably make more sense as he mentions that he would like to drink and have sex at some point in the future and starts dating a girl which seems a bit young to be thinking of when you are only 13.

The end chapters start to have loose strings that will lead into the next story, which is unfortunate as it means we will be seeing more of one of the most one dimensional characters in the book, for example, Bryony Peacock is a selfish girl who is so used to getting her own way in a very distorted version of the world, can not understand why the main character Caspar (Caz) may not like her.

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