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Book 105

Vinland Saga, Omnibus 1Vinland Saga, Omnibus 1 by Makoto Yukimura

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I’ve developed a resurgence in my Viking interest for the first time since college. I wasn’t sure why then it hit me. Oh. Thor and Loki movies. So the ovaries are to blame. And that led me to this omnibus. I’ve seen ads for it and was thrilled to see it in the library. I will say this, the art looked atypical for manga but it’s good and detailed. The mangaka has done his research on the Vikings and berserkers. Kudos for him using Amanita muscaria which some believe were used by the Berserkers to go nuts.

Thorfinn is a young boy traveling with a pack of Norse mercenaries. Their leader, Askeladd, sends him in as a messenger to the Franks laying siege to more Franks, half hoping they’ll kill Thorfinn. They throw in with the fat siege maker (who doesn’t look realistic which was annoying to me) and lots of fighting happens. Thorfinn gets what he wants, the right to duel Askeladd who knows well how to manipulate the teen. We learn that Thorfinn was taken in by Askeladd years ago after Askeladd killed his father in a duel (why Askeladd would train someone like Thorfinn is still a mystery). Askeladd easily riles Thorfinn into making blunders and once again, Thorfinn loses.

After that it goes back in time for the bulk of the omnibus to when Thorfinn is a boy living with his family in Iceland with his sister and mother and his father Thors, whom Thorfinn idolizes. Lief (Erickson, yes that one) is there as a storyteller and trader talking about a better land, Vinland. Thorfinn and his friends mock battle all the time but then Thors’ past catches up with him. He was a Joms-Viking (one of the most vicious bands of them) and now they want him back or everyone dies. Thorfinn wants to fight and sneaks aboard his father’s ship, a fatal mistake. Askeladd and his right hand man, Bjorn, are quick to capitalize on that weakness.

Honestly I was more interested in the first chapter than all the rest. It wasn’t that what went into making Thorfinn what he is was boring but I did think it went on a little long. Still, we got to know Thors and his betrayal on many levels was sad. I was very impressed at the level of details in this not just in the story telling but the art. I absolutely love that when Thorfinn gets his shoulder blown out he’s in a sling later. I hate it when they act like a shoulder injury is no big deal. Having been there and done that, let me tell you it’s a big deal. Looking forward to seeing more of this.




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Tags: historical fiction, manga
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