Ylmi’s Saga (Legends of Karik #2) – Evan Oliver

“Then, I shall tell you the saga of Ylmi One-Eye: how she helped to slay the dragon, how she came to sail the undersea, and how she became the mightiest woman in Vrania since Alena the Vicious.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 out of 5 Stars

Ylmi’s Saga is book 2 in the Legends of Karik series and this installment has me loving the series even more. There is more survival, heartbreak, and tons more action.

Oliver opens the story in the same manner with a prologue setting the scene of a tale about to be told to us. A minor change that I caught is that the person telling the story is now referred to as a bard while in the first book he was just an old man. It’s clear that this is suppose to be the same person by the way the scene opens, so the change in descriptor is noticeable if you read these back to back. A very minor detail but one that for me was obvious, since I really like the idea of having someone telling an oral story to an audience.

After that the story sets off and its split into 3 parts. If you pick this book up without reading book one first you really honestly won’t miss much aside from hearing the first book from the focus of Karik and an interesting exploration into who he is. The first part sets up who Ylmi is, what her life has been like and how living under the rule of Jarl Unhost has been. Then when Karik gets brought into the story you basically get a rehash of everything that happened in his tale along with a lengthy recap of the dragon fight only from Ylmi’s pov. The story really doesn’t start until part two kicks in.

This was an interesting way of going about the story, I personally would have loved it more if the story had picked up right where the first one ended and didn’t have to go through the rehash of book 1. I did enjoy the new parts of Ylmi’s background but I feel like they could have been slipped into the story in another manner, and would have still been able to create a strong background for her. I would have liked to have seen her talk to Karik about her past instead of living it with her, I feel it would have helped build that connection between the two (that is clearly being built, which I love).

Part 2 and 3 are where all the action and new parts of this story are at and they make getting through part 1 worth it. Karik and The Dragonslayers are off on a new quest because they got majorly screwed with the outcome of slaying the dragon and frankly they aren’t happy about it, and I wouldn’t be either. There are plans for an impossible heist, followed by plans to manipulate some Jarls all so Karik can met his end goals and Ylmi is right there at his side, taking charge and pushing the efforts. We met a goddess, some fingers are lost (which have a very uncanny way of mirroring a certain legend in this world which is so awesome), a war is fought and sadly we lose another comrade, and this time it broke my heart so much. Oliver let me fall in love with this guy and then said “Now now that’s enough, it’s his time”. What’s worse was is I felt it coming and yet I couldn’t prepare myself for the outcome. Revik was there being awesome (I love this big guy even more and I want a tale about him still) Oliver also gave that much wished for background on Thora!

The whole story is from Ylmi’s pov and if you are looking for a story with a badass, no cares given, strong as hell woman, this is the book you want. Ylmi is everything I want in a strong woman and she doesn’t let the men in this story run her life (minus her Jarl but that is only because she thinks about her parents well being). She is constantly standing up for what she believes in, what she wants, she takes charge when needed and has ambitions that never fade. She has a wolf companion as well (so if you love that here you go!!) Ylmi is a beast on the battle field. Seriously you want a strong woman this is the story you want, she is fierce, strong, and determined, it’s not often I really like a female character in a story but Ylmi is a favorite now.

During the war we get to see her (and everyone else, Bless you Revik the human wrecking ball) fighting, and we get to see her in close up combat. The action is high, the stakes are high and betrayals happen when you least expect it. The whole war keeps you on your toes because you just don’t know what is going to happen, and its exhilarating and it kept me glued to the book.

One of the small bits that I really loved was that Oliver did bring up that area of the isle that is surrounded by treacherous rocks and wild waves. This lets me know that this is part of the overall story and will continue to be built towards and wasn’t just some off hand bit in the first book.

Then the story closes out in the same manner, its wrapped up with the Bard ending the tale for the night. I am so looking forward to the next installment, I want to see more adventures, and find out if Karik ever full fills his ultimate quest, and what Ylmi’s future holds (and of course everyone else).

I received an advance review copy from Book Sirens and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


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