A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jensen

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“Again, I was rendered nameless. Just a tool, just a weapon to be wielded by all the men around me. But I’d had enough.”

This was my first foray into the world of Danielle L. Jensen writing and I was not disappointed! I listened to this audiobook on Spotify Books and loved every second of it. Nina Yndis did a fantastic job narrating this book. So let’s dive in! 

Goodreads / Storygraph

Summary from Goodreads

A shield maiden blessed by the gods battles to unite a nation under a power-hungry king—while also fighting her growing desire for his fiery son—in this Norse-inspired fantasy romance from the bestselling author of The Bridge Kingdom series.

Bound in an unwanted marriage, Freya spends her days gutting fish, but dreams of becoming a warrior. And of putting an axe in her boorish husband’s back.

Freya’s dreams abruptly become reality when her husband betrays her to the region’s jarl, landing her in a fight to the death against his son, Bjorn. To survive, Freya is forced to reveal her deepest secret: She possesses a drop of a goddess’s blood, which makes her a shield maiden with magic capable of repelling any attack. It was foretold such a magic would unite the fractured nation of Skaland beneath the one who controls the shield maiden’s fate.

Believing he’s destined to rule Skaland as king, the fanatical jarl binds Freya with a blood oath and orders Bjorn to protect her from their enemies. Desperate to prove her strength, Freya must train to fight and learn to control her magic, all while facing perilous tests set by the gods. The greatest test of all, however, may be resisting her forbidden attraction to Bjorn. If Freya succumbs to her lust for the charming and fierce warrior, she risks not only her own destiny but the fate of all the people she swore to protect.

Thoughts on the Plot

The story opens with our main character, Freya, stuck in an unwanted marriage to a man she cannot stand. Her circumstances soon change when she finds out her husband has betrayed her. 

The world-building in this book was good. There weren’t a ton of places, so it was easy to keep track of who was from where and where other places were based on where the characters were. 

The pacing is decent. There was a lot of ebbing and flowing, with the story rolling along and then the action picking up. 

I, personally, do not read a lot of Norse Mythology but could feel the Viking vibes oozing off of the page. 

(Please don’t come for me for saying “Viking vibes” please and thanks.)

The magic system was also pretty interesting. I didn’t think too much about the magic though because I was quite caught up in Freya’s journey, the tension with Bjorn, and that ending. 

I think something I really loved about this book was the writing. As I mentioned earlier, this was my first Danielle L. Jensen novel and I enjoyed the writing quite a bit. 

I’m not sure I would classify this book as a Romantasy, however. It felt more like a fantasy/mythology story with a secondary romantic plot. 

The story starts and ends really strong, with some interesting plot points in between. 

Thoughts on the Characters

Also speaking of the romance, Bjorn and Freya had me in a chokehold with their banter, slow burn tension, and all around genuine love for each other. 

Freya, our main character, is an interesting one. She wants to be a warrior but is stuck as a wife to a husband that does not deserve her. Surrounded by men who are insistent on controlling her. 

When Freya discovers that she is the Shield Maiden, her whole world turns upside down. She is discovering a deeper power within herself, as those around her try to conspire against and control her. 

I will say I found myself frustrated with Freya at times. Especially later on in the book, it felt like she lacked the confidence she absolutely should have had by then. 

Bjorn, on the other hand, knows exactly what he wants and plans to get it. He and Freya have a bit of an insta-love introduction to one another, but if a hot Viking man came out of the water, walking up shore towards me, I’d fall in instantly-love too. 

Anyway, Bjorn is a respite to Freya and she to him as well. I absolutely ate up their tension and banter. Bjorn had so many good quips and I found myself chuckling at him throughout the book. 

The side characters were interesting as well. I wanted so much more of Bjorn’s younger brother because he was so innocent and fun. 

There were some points (primarily during the fighting scenes) where I would imagine The Last Kingdom, minus a lot of the darker themes present within the Netflix show. 

Overall Thoughts

This was such a fun read. The slow burn between Bjorn and Freya was absolutely my favorite part of this book. 

Second to reading about Freya and her magic.

The ending does leave off on a cliffhanger that had me kicking my feet in the air, dying to know what would happen next!

But all in all, this was such a fun audiobook experience and I cannot wait for the next book in the series! Danielle L. Jensen is definitely an author with books added to my TBR list! 

A Fate Inked in Blood gets 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

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