Sunday 9 May 2021

Book Review: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne book cover

AD* | After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of VigriĆ°.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave - or desperate - enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods...

The first book in a new epic fantasy saga, The Shadow of the Gods is an action-packed, Norse-inspired tale. 

The world is inspired by Ragnarok and Norse mythology. It's filled with Viking-esque warriors, fantastical creatures, magic, and dragons. The world-building is handled masterfully, introducing the reader to this brand new world with ease and setting the scene for not just this book, but for the rest of the series too.

This story follows multiple individuals - Orka, Elvar, and Varg. Each is following a different path yet as the book progresses, their worlds slowly start to converge. It's clear that they are being set up to join together more in the books to come. 

The three separate narratives provide the opportunity to learn more about the world and its key players. These three characters are unique with different backgrounds, yet they all bear certain key similarities which are explored throughout the book. 

Orka is a trader, preferring to live a solitary lifestyle on her remote steading with her beloved husband and young son. Orka's devotion to her family is mirrored by that of Varg, a former thrall searching for a way to avenge his sister's murderer. Elvar completes the trio. She is a warrior with the Battle-Grim, setting sail in search of riches and battle-fame. 

The characterisations are excellent, although it does take a while to get into the story and become invested in the characters. This is partly due to the multiple narratives and partly due to the need to familiarise yourself with the world. 

The Shadow of the Gods is a strong start to a promising fantasy saga and one to watch out for this spring.

Rating: 3 stars

The Shadow of the Gods is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading this book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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