Review: The Tale of Halfdanur the Black

The Tale of Halfdanur the Black, by Colin Brodd

Genre: Viking fantasy

Rating: 2 stars

I didn’t really know what I was getting into with this one before hand. I mean, I knew it was about vikings, so I expected some adventure and violence.

What I read did have violence, but it was told in such a manner that it read very much like a history book (and this is not a historical account of real vikings, in case you were wondering). The tales are all told in such a way that you might think you’re sitting with a friend, having a drink, and he’s reading to you about the events. Were the events interesting? In some cases yes, in other cases no.

As a father of young children, I took exception to the youth that comes along later in the story. At 5 years old, he speaks as well as any adult (maybe better), and grasps concepts that I doubt any real five year old would be able to wrap their heads around. Sure, he’s a prophetic viking who is destined for great things, but it just rang false … sort of like the tales of Buddha being born and able to walk, with lotus blossoms growing in his footsteps, and then speaking. It’s pretty ridiculous, and no one would take that at face value (would they?). But again, as this reads like an historical account, his advanced language and cunning rubbed me wrong.

And this is a prequel story to a later work, which means the ending sort of stops, assuming you’ll continue to read on about the prophetic viking. Given that this read like a textbook, and I prefer something less dry and more exciting, I won’t find out how Haraladur’s (or whatever his name is – I glossed over all the viking names, like I expect people gloss over my demon names :P) story progresses.