28 November, 2017

REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM by Bernard Cornwell

Title: The Last Kingdom
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Series: The Saxon Stories #1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, History
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release: July 24th, 2009
Source: Kindle / Audiobook
Pages: 355

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Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at ten, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault.
The struggle between the English and the Danes and the strife between christianity and paganism is the background to Uhtred's growing up. He is left uncertain of his loyalties but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further still to the West Saxon cause but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of the Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea. There, in the horror of the shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.
The Last Kingdom, like most of Bernard Cornwell's books, is firmly based on true history. It is the first novel of a series that will tell the tale of Alfred the Great and his descendants and of the enemies they faced, Viking warriors like Ivar the Boneless and his feared brother, Ubba. Against their lives Bernard Cornwell has woven a story of divided loyalties, reluctant love and desperate heroism. In Uhtred, he has created one of his most interesting and heroic characters and in The Last Kingdom one of his most powerful and passionate novels.

EXPECTATIONS: I actually saw the TV Show before reading the book. I liked the TV Show, I thought it was OK, not great but good. Last week I had a lot of manual duties at work so I was able to audiobook a lot, so that's what I did with this one. I have to day! I really liked this book!

THE WORLD: The plot is set in 9th century England and the base of the book is this clash between the English and Danes. The Danes come to England to raid and basically take over the lands and when they reach Northumbria and kill the eldest son of the lord (King) s***t gets real!I did enjoy the book partially because there is such a great division between the Dane culture and the Catholic England. We get to see the way Christian people lived in 9th century, and how Danes acted once they raided a city or a country. I have to admit at times it was very sad, the rape, the killing the needless suffering, but again it was a different time. People didn't know better. IN any case, the world is set beautifully in this book, you really get down and dirty with the characters and easily visualize the world around you.

CHARACTERS: The main character of this book is Osbert, he is the younger son of the Northumbria lord and once his older brother is killed he is named Uhtred. After a battle with the Danes Uhtred's father is killed and he is taken hostage with some other English kids for ransom. However, the English don't want him back so eventually Uhtred stays with the Danes and is raised by them. I liked Uhtred in general. He was smart and curious and you could feel this battle he had being an Englishman but at the same time knowing nothing but the Dane culture. Of course he did some stuff that I was not a fan of and some of his decisions annoyed me, but in general he was a good main character! It was interesting to follow his journey. 

I also liked the Dane Ragnar, who kind of adopted Uhtred. He was a fierce worrier, a good father and a good teacher. He fought for his kids, protected them and was kind to his wife! I hated this kid named Ubba, such a annoying asshole! I also liked Brida, the English girl who the Danes took in as well. I have to day all the character were interesting in some way, and kind of annoying in other. 

For example, Uhtred gets married to a English girl in the book, and the girl is nice ans sweet and naive but she was so annoying as the years went by. I just couldn't handle it.

ROMANCE: Uthred and Brida start of a relationship, however Uhtred needs to kind of marry an English girl for his lands. So he marries Mildreth.

GOOD: I liked the world. The way the author showed how difficult life was for people. I have to tell you, this is not time I would like to go back to even for a day. I love reading about it but that's pretty much it! Also the pace of the book. With historical books sometimes it can get dragged but I liked the fast pace during the battles and just in general it didn't feel slow.

BAD: Some stuff happens and I was sad about it. Truly sad. And Uhtred made some stupid decisions.

OVERALL: I would definitely recommend this for someone who liked Game of Thrones. However, keep in mind that this is not Game of Thrones, the pace is much faster, the historical aspect of this is real so there are characters who really lived in the time. But in any case if you like books like this definitely read this!!!!

What do you think about THE LAST KINGDOM?



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