14 Apr 2023

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


Author: John Gwynne
Series: Bloodsworn Saga #1
Source: Audible
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:
Representation: N/A

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 . .

Content WarningsGore, fantasy battle scenes, self-cutting (blood magic), child kidnapping, slavery, racism, death, death of a loved one, vivid descriptions of fighting, beheadings, alcohol consumption

I was pretty bored when this one started, but it ended up being good! I've seen descriptions of it being like Vikings x Witcher, which is definitely true, but it felt more like the author played Valhalla and thought "mm, yes, good, I could make this into a full story." I did like a lot of the magical elements, especially the bone magic aspects, but I wasn't a huge fan of the basic plotlines that we had.

I thought Varg's story and perspectives were the worst of the bunch. I genuinely wanted to just keep skipping them because I didn't care about it at all. I really liked Orka and Elvar, and thought they were well written, but they had such basic plotlines. Orka wants to save her son and Elvar wants to prove her father wrong. That's what it boils down to and I just wanted something a bit more complex considering how much world building there was.

I know that opening books to series tend to be a bit slower as we explore the world and get to know our characters, but I was bored throughout a good chunk of this story, which is never a good sign. The ending was exciting but only because everyone came together.

On top of that, I wish the audiobook had three readers - one for each perspective - to help me keep track of who was who. It was so easy to get confused between Elvar and Varg since they almost have the same plotline with minimal changes even though at the beginning of the chapter it says who's chapter it is!

I do recommend this if you're a big fan of Norse mythology, but if you're not a fan of slow-paced fantasy books, you may want to pass.

Have you read this series? What was your favourite part?


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