Book Review

Bloodsworn Saga 1 & 2 – John Gwynne

Book Title: The Shadow of the Gods & The Hunger of the Gods

Series:  The Bloodsworn Saga #1 & #2

Author:  John Gwynne

Goodreads Link

Release Date:  4/12/22

Star Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a ride! What artwork!

I read these two books back to back and rather than just write a review for book two, which comes out today, I wanted to give some space to both. Please don’t skip to the second book, the first is essential to the series.

Note: I’m going to be very careful not to put in spoilers since this review is really for the first two books in the series. For that reason, the cover blub I include here is for the first book only.

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 . . . – Goodreads

This series is very hardcore. I’m generally not a big fan of Norse/Viking tv shows or books as a general rule. That’s probably because I have so little knowledge of their mythology (I mean besides Thor as represented in Marvel movies … I know that means I have next to none right!) This type of book also tends to be more heavy handed with violence and brutality, which I’m not a huge fan of, but when a story is as well written as this then none of that seems to matter to me.

The series follows three characters closely, and what I like about the way the structure of the novel is that these characters are very distinctly from different social spheres and their life experiences helped me as a readier to easily acclimate into a VERY unfamiliar setting. I admit, I did have some trouble following along at times, trying to remember which group was involved in which location. I don’t think that’s a problem with the book as much as a problem with me being able to follow along. My concentration is not at it’s best.

With that it mind, one thing I absolutely loved about book two is that it came with an introductory recap for the first book. That is a LIFESAVER for a reader like me. I was fortunate enough to read these two back to back, but if there had been a gap between book 1 and 2 I’d have been hard pressed to remember what was going on. I wish more writers would include those. That being said, I’m sure they are not the easiest thing to make and so I understand why they don’t.

Apart from the technical aspects of these books, the story itself is brutal, visceral, adventurous and compelling. I liked reading about all three of the main characters, and I have to admit my little feminist heart enjoyed that two of them are such badass women. They are not the only two either! There are tons of shield-maidens (shout out Eowyn!) in this book, as well as women who are in very high political positions and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed the heck out of these two books, and am eagerly awaiting book three.


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