Death and Beauty by Samantha MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Definitely recommended for fans of mythology romances — Norse, in particular!
At first, I wasn’t sure if I could get onboard with Baldr’s very modern way of speaking, but before I knew it, I was falling in love with him and Hel and the world MacLeod crafted.
The romance between the love interests is sweet, tender, and desperate. I think what resonated most with me about it was that these are two people no one ever really acknowledges — two people no one truly knows. Hel is basically the ice queen of her domain, solitary and hard to onlookers. Baldr, meanwhile, is just this beautiful thing the Aesir have used time and time again. Hell, he dies because they’re all playing a game called Let’s Throw Heavy Shit at Baldr and Laugh When He Doesn’t Die. I mean, do any of them even know who he is? Nope.
I love the trope of two lonely people finding each other and falling in love because they really see each other, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here.