Friday Review: All the Windwracked Stars (Edda of Burdens #1) by Elizabeth Bear

All the Windwracked Stars (The Edda of Burdens, #1)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story begins with Ragnorak, the epic battle between the forces of Light and Dark. Both sides have fallen, all are dead, except one lone waelcyrge and a single, mortally wounded valraven. Muire survived because she ran away where her sisters fought, and she asks one last miracle for the valraven, who is reborn of metal and steam. A few thousand years later, Muire is living in the last city in Valdygard, trying to come to terms with her guilt. But the city is slowly dying, as the world spins down to its end. An ancient enemy, also a survivor of the last battle, has returned to help that end happen. Muire is bound to help the humans and other beings survive as long as possible, and in doing so, uncovers the mysteries of the Technomancer and the reappearing spirits of those lost in the last battle.

The story is loosely based on Norse mythology, and for those familiar with that, there will be many recognizable elements. Most of the characters are broken in some way, emotionally or physically. There is a sense of melancholy over the whole tale, but it never sinks to overly sad or depressing. The flaws in the characters are believable. Muire must find herself and deal with her guilt and fears in order to do what she must.

The world of Valdygard and its last city, Eiledon, is an interesting combination of Norse legend and apocalyptic future. Magic holds the city together, but it is manifested in technology, the best of which is saved for the Technomancer and her floating fortress. The remade valraven, Kasimir, has a definite steampunk influence.

The writing is a bit stiff and stilted at times, but it does suit the character of Muire and the story. It can slow the reading a bit, but really didn’t get in the way.

I enjoyed the story, and look forward to reading more in the series.

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