Raj, a spirited and rebellious young woman, runs away from what she considers an oppressive home life. On the streets of 10th century Antioch, she catches a glimpse of Bjornolf, a mysterious Northman with secrets of his own. Determined to get to the bottom of this inexplicable affinity she has for him, she disguises herself as a boy and stows away on the caravan he is guiding to Denmark. As magic and riddles come to light one by one along the way, Raj must decide if the dangers to both Bjornolf and herself are worth the risks involved in revealing her true nature to him.
Blood Bonds: The Caravan is a seamless marriage between adventure and romance. The story follows Raj and Bjornolf as they travel with a group towards Denmark. Looking to start fresh, Raj joins the caravan, moonlighting as an adolescent boy after Bjornolf mistakes her for one. Like Raj, Bjornolf is haunted by his past for reasons so personal only one other person knows.
The road to Denmark is absolutely picturesque. Rosanne Licata writes such vivid descriptions of her characters and settings, it’s hard not to be instantly immersed in the adventure. Preceding the story is a map of the route taken and a glossary of terms for the reader to reference throughout the story. The inclusion of these two items made me somewhat nervous to begin the story. I was concerned I would have trouble following the storyline because I wasn’t familiar with the words outlined in the glossary. My concern was no more than a distant afterthought when I suddenly found myself halfway through the book. I found the novel to be so well polished, I didn’t need to refer back to either article for clarification. This book was an easy yet captivating read; I didn’t want to put it down.
To break up the constant travelling, the author weaves a budding friendship between Raj and Bjornolf in to the plot. The lighthearted and sometimes comedic moments between the pair provide further character development and insight in to their muddy pasts. As the story progresses, these moments begin to take on romantic undertones. Raj and Bjornolf’s romance is blended with the adventure so perfectly; no one part overpowers the other. They are truly two equal parts coming together as a whole.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this story. The author did a flawless job of incorporating different elements in to a powerful storyline. Despite being the first book in a series, I feel as if this book could double as a stand-alone novel. The end was satisfying enough to not need a second part in Raj and Bjornolf’s story. However, their story was so compelling, it makes the reader want the journey to continue.