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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Kara, Shieldmaiden of Eire by Jay Veloso Batista is a Viking Age saga and the fourth installment to The Forerunner Series. The first three novels progress in a linear timeline and include Thorfinn and the Witch's Curse, The Vardoger Boy, and On Viking Seas. Kara is in Eire, post-migration medieval Ireland, having fled her family and home after a disastrous attempt to see her married off. The winds of power change as often as the tide in Dublinn and Kara's place as a shield maiden in the King's guard is dangerous for a young woman, let alone a young teenager. The continual threat of the newest King getting their throat slit never ends. Cub has been saved from bondage and as he fights and strengthens a natural ability for politicking, his desire remains to claim his rightful place. Thorfinn is left to his own devices in the same way Sorven and Dunn are, but Sorven and Finn are both attacked by malevolent forces in different ways and with different outcomes. Everyone experiences the anguish of loss, but in battles against man and myth, there is rarely a clear winner.
Kara, Shieldmaiden of Eire by Jay Veloso Batista does not relent in the tension and shocking twists found in the previous three Forerunner books, which I have had the pleasure of reading as well. The books circle in, out, and around characters, and readers who are married to the series in the same way as I am will not be surprised that Kara's name being on the cover only gives her a slight advantage as the star character over the others. Kara's character arc is first-rate and she goes from strong to stronger, until a stunning and completely unexpected plot maneuver sends her into full berserker mode. In a terrifying instant, she is a warrior grown and a young woman broken. The irony is crushing and having grown to love the granddaughter of Ironfist, my heart crumbled. Finn also experiences unexpected growth to a lesser degree, which doesn't mean much since the temperature was molten, to begin with. I died a little inside when casualties ran rampant for him too. You would think by being four books into the series that not much can elevate a reader to shock and awe yet Batista keeps the clanking swords and witchy sorcery coming. I cannot wait for Marauders in Jotunheim. Very highly recommended.