The Silver Sea takes place in Norway in the year 880 AD. The story switches between a girl named Freydis and her brother Toki, the two children of Ohthere, a wealthy jarl. One day, while their father is away, their home is raided by a pirate who has a longstanding feud with Ohthere. Toki is taken prisoner along with the rest of the village and Freydis is left hiding, the only one left alive. Not long after, her father returns and she is given Enno, an African slave, as a bodyguard. Enno, however, is a proud being, and despite years of being sold and bought, remains in stubborn denial of his slave status, and he and Freydis become companions rather than slave and mistress. The story was interesting and nice for a quick read. I enjoyed reading it, and it was a good story. That said, a couple things bothered me. It was extremely difficult to tell how much time had passed. They sail around, but it never gives a number of days. The whole book, I think, was about a month. This I could tell only because one of the characters had to be somewhere in about a month and got there a day late at the end of the book. But I had no idea how much more time he had, or how much time they spent on a boat and with these people and in all the little bits. The emotions were also horribly done. There was absolutely no development, and it seemed as though all the characters changed emotions within a couple sentences. There was one scene that described Enno and how he hated all the Vikings and he was going to get home someday and all that, then he was rushing to save Freydis's life, even though he had never met her, or even seen her before. He immediately cares for her and wants to help her. Then the next page describes his hatred for all Vikings. Ah, yes, that wonderful internal conflict. Horribly developed; if the author wanted to add complex emotions, she should have done it more complex way. Then there is Toki. Toki wanders away and meets a family of a supposedly unfriendly tribe. The father ends up trusting him, but his two children hate him. He and the daughter, Aino, end up alone in the house. Aino is pretty much ready to bite Toki's head off. Then, suddenly, Toki confesses that he likes her. Yes, he has known her for all of three pages, no more than an hour, and Toki thinks that he would very much like her as a wife. Aino seems to maintain some sense for another page before completely falling for Toki. It was quite obvious when they met that they would end up liking each other, but four pages and an hour is a little rushed. There was no lead up, just them insulting each other, then there he was, asking Aino if she was promised to anyone and saying, "I think I like you, Aino Pekkasdottir." The shallowness of it all made me really hate some of the characters and I couldn't like any of them. This made the end of the book extremely satisfying. It was probably supposed to be dramatic, but it didn't work out like that for me; it just made me laugh at the characters. Go read the book if you feel like it.
The book is a nice story, mostly well laid-out. The combination of terrible emotions and timeline, yet satisfying ending that gives those silly characters what they deserve add up to give the book a 3. Imagine a funny tasting candy that's nice to just crunch down on and finish.