Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing you a review for a book that I think will be one of my favorite books of 2021, if not a favorite of all time. Trust me, it’s that good. John Gwynne reminded me why I love adult fantasy so much, and why I love Norse mythology! I’m currently waiting impatiently for the announcement of the sequel so that I can mark my calendars!
The Shadow of the Gods
by John Gwynne
Series: The Bloodsworn Saga #1
Release date: May 6th 2021
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.
After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.
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 . . .
When I say that this might very well be my favorite book of 2021, I truly mean it. This was honestly so flawless, and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about it. I’m still thinking about it even now, and I think I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time. It’s going to be tough to put into words how much I loved this book, but I’ll give it a shot.
Like it says in the synopsis, we get three POV’s: Orka, a huntress on a quest, Elvar, a noblewoman who has given up her life of comfort to seek battle fame, and Varg, a thrall who is in search of vengeance against those who murdered his sister. The chapters are short, and always end in a way that makes you eager to get to their next chapter, which makes this book fly by. I loved how well fleshed out all three main characters were, and how each of them clearly have some secrets that they aren’t ready to share with the world. Even the side characters felt fleshed out, and when you have two warbands that you’re shuffling between, that says something that it was incredibly easy to keep them all separated and not get anyone confused with anyone else.
Speaking of the world, the world building was absolutely stunning. It was incredibly easy to become immersed in this deadly Norse inspired world full of monsters, warbands, and the bones of the dead gods. Everything down to the way the characters were written and their actions helped give you the sense that you were actually walking along with the characters.
Gwynne also doesn’t pull punches when it comes to the brutality of this world. The battle scenes are truly epic, and I found myself constantly wondering when this book will get picked up for an adaptation because I NEED to see this on the big screen in all it’s bloody glory.
This is one of those books that you can almost see the threads of everything heading in one direction, but you always have this sense of dread that things are going to go horribly wrong for these characters. There was a lot that I didn’t see coming, and the ending was perfect, even though I’ll now have to wait quite a long time for the sequel.
And the most ringing endorsement that I can give this book is that I gushed about it to my dad, which is something I hardly ever do with a book since he isn’t a reader. However, I couldn’t hold back my enthusiasm as I talked his ear off about these characters and how flawless this book is.
If you haven’t caught on yet, I adored this book and it reminded me why I love adult fantasy so much. There is so much to this book, even more than what I can say here in my review because it’s something that you need to experience for yourself. I’m (impatiently) waiting for the release date so I can get my hands on a physical copy, and I’m telling you now, you should mark your calendars for May 6th and add this book to your immediate TBR.