A breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation.
Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.
Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.
Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.
What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.
First, this ebook is only $4.99 on Amazon right now. It’s going to be one of my favorite reads of the year. Well worth that fantastic price! Even though I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from NetGalley, I’ve already bought the ebook so I can have it forever and ever, to read and re-read.
Navessa already did a fantastic video-review recommendation of this book, and I cannot agree with her more.
Second, let me address that blurb – just a bit. When I first read the blurb, that Bayr was to protect Alba, the first girl child born in twenty years, I thought that Bayer was older than Alba by 20 years. That’s not the case. Bayr is around 7 when Alba is born. He’s her protector, and her friend, for the next several years. This makes their friendship, and later romance, much more palatable to me. And nothing at all like a Renesmee situation.
The First Girl Child absorbed me from the first moment that I picked it up and joined Dagmar and Desdemona as youth. I instantly loved them both, and that’s something that this book really excels at, characters. Because at it’s core, this is a character driven story and book. Twisting and pulling the characters along, through multiple third-person point-of-views, intertwining their fates.
And despite the magic that weaves seamlessly through the world, as we navigate the machinations of those who will do anything to hold onto power, it’s the characters propel the story.
We get to spend so much time with these characters, the story takes place over a period of 20-odd years, that I was strongly invested in them. I got to see Bayr and Alba grow up, and watch desperation set in as the country falters under the lack of girl-children being born. Despite Alba being born 7 years after Desdemona’s curse, the curse isn’t broken. No more girl-children are born of Saylok. Sons, sons, and more sons.
This is a warrior culture, and as the bleakness of their situation settles in the people become more and more harsh. They go to other lands to steal women, the war with their neighbors. The country as a whole begins to splinter as they continue down into hopelessness.
The First Girl Child also deals with the tough choices that people make out of love, and how even that doesn’t guarantee that things get better. Desdemona, in her despair and anger, cursed an entire nation of people. Dagmar hid the truth to protect his nephew. Alba’s entirety was a secret so large, the truth alone had the ability to topple the most powerful.
And yet, I think of Frodo sparring Gollum’s life. Gollum betrayed him, yes. But Gollum also saved Frodo. Not because he meant to, but precisely because he didn’t mean to. These aren’t the easy choices, and maybe they aren’t always right. But they are perfect, understandable, and I can relate to why each one was made.
Amy Harmon says in her Author’s Note that she hopes to set more stories in this world. I am here for it.