You know those authors that you mean to read. You buy their books, but life gets in the way and you never quite manage to read them? That is me and Tricia Levenseller. I’ve had Daughter of the Pirate King ever since it came out. And this is the moment I am regretting not picking it up sooner, because if it’s anything like Warrior of the Wild I am missing out.
As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Warrior of the Wild is a story about friendship, identity, and daring to do the impossible. Rasmira is a character you instantly love, equally for her strength and her vulnerability, because even if she may be the strongest warrior, her mother seems to hate her and her father is never entirely pleased with her. The characters are what I loved the most about Warrior of the Wild. Who can resist a strong willed and talented Viking warrior maiden? But this story was enhanced by the side characters, boys wronged by their society, and friends striving to overcome the guilt of betrayal.
There is a gay side character.
Rasmira and her friends
Rasmira has carved a home for herself in my heart. Whether it be her fierce love for her sisters, her resentment for the preferential treatment from her father, or her longing for a friend, she struck a chord within me. Levenseller strikes the perfect balance between Rasmira’s tough love attitude towards her peers, and the ability for her mother and father to deeply hurt her without trying. While family is certainly a large part of the story, Warrior of the Wild is about the difference between blood and family.
Celebrating found families, in the wilderness and strung from betrayal, Rasmira has to figure out if she can trust again. Her whole life she has been stuffed into a box, the village leader’s daughter, her father’s warrior daughter, and only in the wild can Rasmira discover who she is. A large part of the book is about Rasmira embracing her identity as a warrior and a woman. New friends, terrain, and dangers seem like the ideal setting for a journey of self-discovery doesn’t it? I won’t disclose just exactly what I loved about the unexpected allies she finds in the depths of the wild, let me just say that they are some of my favorite characters I have read in a while.
Warrior of the Wild is the ultimate story to expose the necessity of human connection. While the people we love in our lives can betray and hurt us, they can also surprise and support us. But we need these connections in order to keep us accountable and create a better future. It’s harder to love, then it is to hate. And sometimes it takes losing everything to face the hardest truths.
Another theme I appreciated in Warrior of the Wild is how this book explores honor. What is a worthy death and how can we strive for honor? Who decides if we are worthy, if we have redeemed ourselves? Just because something has functioned for as long as we can remember, doesn’t mean it has to be that way for the rest of our lives. And finally, what makes a good leader? Do we lead by example, sheer power, respect, friendship? Or something in between?
Warrior of the Wild is more than a story about a girl proving herself. It is a story about a girl figuring out who she is, what she wants, and a future worth fighting for. Warrior of the Wild emphasizes the difference between what we are born to do, and what we choose. Will Rasmira remain her father’s daughter, being molded into the type of leader he desires, or does she have the strength to re-define herself?