The Shadow of the Gods

Book 1 in the series


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 . . .


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

After a fantastic initial chapter that seriously gripped my attention, this hugely anticipated book fell pretty flat for me, I’m sorry to say. While I didn’t find anything wrong with Gwynne’s writing from a linguistic standpoint, the actual content had trouble keeping my attention after the first few chapters. Gwynne is definitely an intense world-builder, but that was where most of the problems can in for me. Most chapters in the first half of the book are so focused on descriptions and background information that the story, and its often by the numbers plot points, began to feel like a mere afterthought. ‘

The sheer number of clothing descriptions in particular became a real issue for me. Every single new character (and ever recurring character on a new day) has to have the minutiae of their clothing described. Every. Time. Which could be interesting if not for the fact that pretty much everyone is wearing the exact same thing with minor details changed. I know this might seem like a trivial thing, but literally every couple of pages is another “slightly different” outfit description. Usually preceded and/or followed by a lengthy scenic description. And when you’re waiting for a dragon or a god or SOMETHING to finally arrive on the scene, this gets pretty old pretty fast.

This combined with the lackluster plot, tension-less fight scenes (you know immediately who the winner will be almost always), and typical character types took this from a book I desperately wanted to love but instead desperately struggled to finish.

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