Search This Blog

River of Shadows by Karina Halle

Sunday, September 18, 2022

River of Shadows is an adult dark fantasy romance based on Finnish mythology and the underworld of Tuonela.

When 24-year old Hanna Heikkinen's estranged father dies, she reluctantly makes the trip to Northern Finland for his funeral. Being in the enchanting land of ice and snow feels miles away from Hanna's busy life back in Los Angeles, especially under the complicated circumstances.

But when Hanna discovers that her father's body is missing, that's when things really get weird. A mysterious man, Rasmus, tells Hanna the truth: her father was a powerful shaman who went into Tuonela, the Realm of the Dead, in order to barter for more life, and has been held captive by Tuoni, the God of Death. The only way her father can be freed is if she travels with Rasmus into the mythical underworld to rescue him.

Willing to do anything to have a second-chance with her father, Hanna accompanies Rasmus into the dark and bloody realm, traveling via the River of Shadows, stalked by dangerous creatures, monsters, and the living dead, until they finally come into the haunted kingdom ruled by Death and his family.

Only for her to be captured and held prisoner by the God of Death himself.

Turns out Death is intrigued by Hanna's beauty and fierceness and makes a bargain with her. If she marries him, and spends an eternity in the Realm of the Dead as his wife, he'll set her father free.

But even the most noble sacrifices come with hidden costs, and Hanna's might involve the most unexpected of all things: her heart.

Goodreads Summary

This must be one of my favorite finds of the year. I was so surprised with the delicate intertwining of romance, fantasy, intrigue, and comedy. The book starts out with a bang; Hanna, our main character, discovers that her father has passed away and comes for the funeral. After what can only be referred to as "not really a funeral," she ends up in Tuonela (more or less The Underworld). In Tuonela she meets interesting creatures and secondary characters that really help move the story along and add to the already magical plot and storyline. This book has mermaids, monsters, and mushrooms. 

The romance was shockingly steamy. I don't think I expected such elaborate depictions of what reminds me of 50 Shades of Gray. Tuoni, death, wants to take a second wife and fulfill a peculiar prophecy and Hanna may fit the bill. The scenes went on for several pages and built on each other. They had a bit of a modern feel; I could picture Hanna in "her typical life" worrying about the same issues with online dating guys. I liked how the author meshed old world themes with modern day worries and topics. The ending absolutely killed me and I immediately ran to the library to get a copy of the second in the series. 

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ