Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fargoer by Petteri Hannila

Fargoer is a remarkable fantasy taking place during a time when Vikings thrived and terrorized many different peoples across northern Europe. It is a compelling read that follows the life of a girl, Vierra on her journey into adulthood. Her path is a difficult one and filled with many hardships, both physical and spiritual.

At the beginning of the story, Vierra and her cousin Aure must endure an initiation into womanhood that involves a trek to a sacred lake and meeting with the Kainu people's First Mother. The outcome of the meeting will determine the girls' futures. Only one of the girls will become the next Chieftain and the two girls must fight to the death to determine who it will be. If Aure becomes Chieftain, the Kainu people will eventually fade away. If Vierra succeeds and becomes Chieftain, her people will suffer many hardships but survive. When Vierra chooses to spare her cousin from death, she alters fate and the two girls' futures are set in motion. Vierra is set on a path to become the Fargoer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The writing style is enchanting and although there were a few places where some things were lost in translation (the odd missing article or wrong possessive adjectives) the overall effect isn't bothersome. Knowing the original tale is in Finnish, and the type of story it is just allows the rare mistake to add to the charm. Besides, the setting is fantastic. You can almost feel the old northern magic that haunts the pages as the story unfolds, taking the reader from place to place and experiencing tenebrious situations like encountering the grey mist people of the forest or the gigantic stone age men creatures.

Just reading about the different peoples and how they live is a fascinating part of the novel. The character Vierra is part of a very unique culture, a type of hunter gatherer people who are infrequently encountered in legends and history. Overall it's an engrossing tale. I recommend it to readers who enjoy a good fantasy and are looking for something other than wizards and dragons. Here are the links to the book.

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