Plot: Ylmi Bodvarsdottir and her family – or what’s left of it – have been banished by Unhost from the village (where settlers have made a disadvantageous bargain with a dragon) to the mountains and now food is ever more scarce and life is hard. Ylmi learns to hunt and makes friends with many of the other mountain dwellers of Vrania, but her hope is to find a way for her family to return to the village where they would have the help of neighbors as they struggle to survive in a harsh land and to best the man who has exiled them all in the name of placating the dragon. It is Ylmi’s task to vanquish the dragon before her family can return to any semblance of safety, but even after she has done so, Unhost steals the dragon’s gold and leaves Ylmi to find another way to save her family. The plot is a free-flowing recitation of Ylmi’s adventures and challenges as she becomes a fearless hunter and warrior for her people.
Prose/Style: The story of Ylmi is ornamented with many other stories, folktales really, told her by her parents, and her own story is told as if it too were a folktale, with somewhat archaic language and syntax.
Originality: Ylmi’s Saga, the second book in The Legends of Kara series, is concerned with elaborating on the fantasy land of Vrania and the people and creatures who live there. New places and characters are introduced with dizzying frequency as the plot unfolds.
Character Development/Execution: The are dozens upon dozens of characters in this YA novel, many of them with names difficult to pronounce or spell, which makes the story hard to follow at times. But as is appropriate for a folktale, Ylmi is a consistent character whose qualities do not change but become more pronounced as she meets challenge after challenge. There is no psychological subtlety here, just a fast-paced will-imagined adventure story in a very foreign land.
Date Submitted: August 23, 2021