I finished When We Were Vikings by Andrew David Macdonald yesterday and it was such a surprising read. If I hadn’t been sent a review copy by the publisher, I’m not sure if I would ever have picked this up. But I’m so glad I did.
When We Were Vikings is told from the perspective of Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast. She lives with her older brother Gert and likes running her life by rules and order. Apart from Vikings and Gert, she loves her boyfriend Marxy and her brother’s ex-girlfriend Annie, who she calls AK47. Zelda lives life wholeheartedly with high functioning Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. While some people call her the ‘r’ word, Zelda is actually smarter and more capable than people think. When Gert gets into trouble working for some questionable people, Zelda decides that helping him is the perfect Viking quest.
This book was so unique and interesting. It was impossible to guess where Zelda’s journey was going to take me next. I loved reading her story and watching her conquer different milestones and learn to stand on her own two feet. She was such a memorable, funny character with a different way of looking at the world.
When We Were Vikings is very much an adult read. There’s lots of swearing, violence and some hefty themes and scenes that may be triggering to some readers. It’s difficult seeing Zelda put into situations where others try to take advantage of her. But it was also wonderful to see her conquer all the good and bad things that came her way. She’s a heroine that you want to cheer for, as well as a character you’ll keep thinking about long after finishing this book.
Verdict: A unique, wonderful read with a lovable, memorable heroine.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy.