Reviewed by Chris
AUTHOR: Kiernan Kelly
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 56 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 19, 2016
What’s a Viking to do when he ends up on a Florida beach, surrounded by a world he doesn’t understand, with a hyperactive stockbroker as his only guide? Go back to Chase’s hotel, naturally. Chase thinks Bjorn is eccentric at best, a lunatic at worst, or just maybe the real thing: a Viking from the days of yore. It isn’t easy for Bjorn to admit, but he needs Chase’s help to navigate the confusing modern age. While Chase is trying to clean Bjorn up and help him fit in, Bjorn’s sworn enemy also makes the trek through time. Jorund is eager to plunder this new land and finish the job of killing Bjorn’s family line, all in one blow. Bjorn and Chase will have to set aside their vast differences and work together if either of them wants to survive.
First Edition published previously by Torquere Press, 2007.
The last thing Bjorn expects is to come home from his latest raid to find his father dead. Well, that’s only true because even he can’t fathom being tossed from his boat, after being chased by the man who killed his father, and landing on a beach 1000 years in the future. And whatever Chase was expecting on his week long forced vacation to Florida, it sure as hell wasn’t tripping over a man who is either plain ol’ tripping himself…or is actually a real live Viking. His sword is rather convincing, either way.
This story had me at time travel–it has always been a weakness of mine–and I especially love it when it is a person finding themselves in our time, instead of the other way around. I’ve also had a fondness for Viking/Norse mythology and stories since I took a class on them in uni. This story just seemed like all kinds of trope goodness.
Sadly, while I found myself enjoying some of the conversations (and showers) between Bjorn and Chase, I quickly tired of the worn-out “TV is tiny people trapped in a box” type jokes. Every time travel story like this one has them and to be honest they were only funny the first time. The constant use of Bjorn misunderstanding a phrase that Chase says to (un)comedic effect, really dragged down the story. And this is only 50 or so pages long. It doesn’t have much room built in for error.
I also had a hard time believing that two people with a 1000 gap in language would be able to hold a conversation. I tried to just handwave it as “magical shit that don’t make sense anyways.. I mean, come on this is time travel” but that still doesn’t explain why they didn’t understand each other when they first met, but then like the next page they are having whole conversations. Their relationship is basically a long string of language misinterpretation, so I guess I wanted the author to just decide if they could magically understand each other or not.
The sex parts of this book were pretty good, but when dicks were not directly involved the chemistry between these two was nonexistent. Which pretty much also describes the plot. I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did, and it left me feeling vaguely unsatisfied in the end.