Nicola Griffith
Hild Cover



I preordered Hild in October, eagerly anticipating its November availability. About the time I had Hild in my hands, a half dozen library books with short due dates dropped. Out of necessity I put Hild aside and finally managed to get back to it this month.

Let me preface my review by saying I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Nicola Griffith's writing. Her Auld series was good, but "Slow River" and "Ammonite" both blew me away. I knew "Hild" would be of a slightly different genre, so I think I lowered my expectations a bit. I needn't have...

Griffith sets up a possibility for ancient Britain both beautiful and brutal. Hild immediately became a sympathetic character for her sheer helplessness to the situation she's been born into. She transforms into a strong character as she learns to maneuever within the confines of her station as noble born and a woman. She takes life or death political risks and I found myself often holding my breath until her actions finally played out. Her life throughout the book always feels precariously balanced on the edge of disaster.

Because she's purported to be a seer, keen observation is her key to survival. Griffith sets up shop inside Hild's head and rarely ever leaves. I was there as she watched, pondered, reacted (or not) and acted. I ached for Hild and the way she needed to constantly guard her thoughts and feelings. On the rare occasion where she lost control, she lost it big but had to recover quickly. She could never allow herself to honestly feel. At the end of the book, the king's politically expedient exile provides a crucial release for her.