Book Review: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne - The Fantasy Review

Book Review: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Wulver’s Library‘s Review of The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

I have recently re-read The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne. His new Norse-inspired saga that is full of blood, glory and gods and it hits me now more than it did before. We start in Vigrið where the gods have warred themselves to extinction, shattering the land. A new world has risen where jarls are hungry for power and monsters roam the mountains and woods. The bones of these dead gods hold great power for those brave enough to seek them out. Now, three people follow in the footsteps of fate; Orka – a huntress set on a dangerous quest, Elvar – a noblewoman in pursuit of battle fame and Varg – a thrall seeking vengeance amongst the Bloodsworn. All three will shape the fate of the world as it falls once more under the shadow of the gods.

review of the shadow of the gods

Gwynne explores the magic here in many ways inspired by Norse mythology. Here, Gods made battle hundreds of years ago and the magic stems from the bones of these deities. Possession of these are in high demand, granting great power to protect fortresses and bring luck. There are also those who can cast a variety of spells and those called the Tainted; people who have been granted bestial powers. Gwynne has never been a hard magic writer however he does not need to be. He has written magic so mystical and centred but fits into this world so elegantly.

The action in this is intriguing and exciting. We are shown monsters, skirmishes and fore-shadowed elements that Gwynne has layered into the story. Fans of Gwynne will know he prides himself in the harsh Viking elements he constantly showcases to keep us on our toes and this brings a harsh and bloody danger to Vigrið that is a massive strength in Gwynne’s writing. He describes gear without an ounce of disbelief and focuses on authentic immersion that really lifts it from the usual Norse-inspired fiction that is out today.

The Shadow of the Gods is slow but Gwynne takes his time to throw information and action in this adventure. The larger story teases and our characters’ journeys have only just begun. This was a fast-paced, luxurious ride that gets going just as we stop in an epic showdown. I cannot wait to read The Hunger of the Gods straightaway now.

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