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Giants of the Frost    by Kim Wilkins order for
Giants of the Frost
by Kim Wilkins
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Seeking to escape the reality of a second failed engagement and an overbearing, highly spiritually-minded mother, scientist Victoria Scott runs as far away as she can from her routine life. She takes a job on a remote island in the middle of the Sea of Norway at a metrological research station, where she soon learns that loneliness is the least of her problems.

From the moment Victoria steps onto the island of Othinsey, she's overwhelmed by feelings of familiarity. The island seems to have a life of its own, filled with strange sounds and the occasional bizarre sight. Aside from the scientists living on the island, other creatures call Othinsey home, and they're not all friendly. But Victoria doesn't believe in ghosts, mythical creatures or odd runes of protection that show up on her doorstep. Her mother's the believer in the family. Victoria's the self proclaimed Queen of the Skeptics.

So when Victoria learns she's going to spend a week on the island on her own, she's delighted. She's just about had enough of everyone's paranoid delusions. The last thing she expects is to find a man on the island, one who stirs memories and deep longings in her. Who is this mysterious man? How did he arrive on the small, isolated island? And why does he have such an effect on her? Is he her destiny ... or her doom?

In this stellar fantasy novel, Wilkins has created a masterpiece of myth and haunting romance, with enough emotional punch to keep you eagerly turning pages well into the late hours of the night. Norse mythology and an almost gothic contemporary setting blend together to form a unique, spellbinding world. But beyond the mystifying creatures, the island that transcends its purpose and becomes a character in and of itself, and the larger-than-life mythical beings, lies the true heart of the story. And it is, as the narrator tells us in the first paragraph a love story.

As soon as Vidar enters Victoria's life, it becomes clear that Romeo and Juliet had nothing on these two. Their love spans time, even life itself. Far from being far-fetched or unbelievable, it's heartwarming and gratifying. Rarely are two characters so well suited to one another, but Vidar and Victoria could make even the most die-hard skeptic believe in fate, soul-mates, and romance.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Giants of the Frost is its unwillingness to conform to the typical fantasy format. It's written from multiple points of view, giving readers a unique understanding of what drives the characters. We get into Victoria's head as she narrates a large chunk of the tale, but every few chapters we leave Vicky behind and experience Vidar's journey from a third-person perspective. And for about fifty pages, we even get to read a second person encounter as Vidar tells Victoria their joint story. Normally, reading a second person account is jarring and confusing, but because I knew I wasn't being addressed in a dear reader manner, it felt fluid and surprisingly engrossing.

Fans of both fantasy and romance genres will find the cure to a cold winter's night in this memorable, beautifully written book.

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