E-ARC, 500 Pages
By: John Gwynne
“Fear is no bad thing,” Orka said. “How can you be brave if you do not feel fear?”
In the past six months I have read almost everything by Gwynne (except for Malice which I read a year ago) and I enjoyed all of these. In fact, TFATF became my favorite quartet of all time. I was ecstatic when I was approved for an ARC of this because it means I could continue this journey (Thanks for the publisher who approved me through Netgalley).
This is a completely new series with a new cast and a new world so people who always wanted to read Gwynne can start with it. I won’t be comparing it to the previous series because they are different.
This book follows three characters:
💉 Orka: I have been hearing a ton of great things about Orka from everyone who read the book. So she’s a warrior in search for vengeance and her lost son!
💉 Varg: He’s trying to find what happened when his sister died and who did it. He joins the Bloodsworn to get more answers.
💉 Elvar: She comes from a slightly more fancy background but she’s trying to make her own name known through her war efforts!
I know most readers have Orka as their favorite character but for me, those POVs were dynamic because every few chapters changed who I was enjoying and who I was a bit less interested in. Overall, the characters are well written and their stories are engaging specially in the last third or something. I still believe that TFATF is my favorite Gwynne book though because of its spectacular characterization.
“You are wrong,” Elvar said. “It is kin who are a curse. You cannot choose them; they are inflicted upon you. They are the poison.”
Now the writing is good, I think I am more used to Gwynne writing after reading 7 of his books. As mentioned above, this is a different world so there were new terms and I wish we had a glossary for those and the characters (Of Blood and Bone had a character glossary from the first book). I think there was a lot of Jargon that I was not familiar with and would have appreciated a way to know what is meant by them since I am not the biggest expert on Norse mythology despite being a fan. I did get most of the terms by the end of the book but I would have preferred an “easier” way. It wasn’t hard for me to follow the characters but once again, a glossary is something I always appreciate in a book and Gwynne proved he is so good at writing those in the past.
The world-building is great, I like the new world and atmosphere. I like the incorporation of Gods and magic whether through bloodlines or their bones. I also liked the weapons and clothes and all those little details.
The pacing is slow for the most part with most of the action happening in the last chapters. I always enjoyed Gwynne’s endings and this was not different. I have to mention though that I found this one kind of predictable compared to the previous books and I think it is actually because I read the previous books. I just develop a feeling of how the author thinks and writes and what stuff is ingrained in their writing which was the case here. I am not saying it is a bad thing because with Gwynne it is usually the most appropriate choice that is being selected so I didn’t mind it!
“We all have our scars, and not all of them are etched in our skin.”
Summary: I find The Shadow of the Gods to be well written. The characters are well written and it is hard for me to choose a favorite because it kept changing. The world-building and writing are good but I would have appreciated a glossary to support all the new terminology. I loved the ending and I am of course going to continue the sequel which I believe will be even better!