My review today is for:
A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.
Where do I begin with this epic historical fantasy? Let’s go back a little. I struck up an internet friendship with Scott after I kept seeing mention of his book. A book with Norse myths, and an Orc as the protagonist? Sign me up! I was not disappointed. I received a very early e-arc of the book thanks to Scott. I was in a huge reading slump and needed something to help me snap out of it. This book did that and so much more. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a new book to come out. If ever there was a book that was me, or for me, it is this book.
Scott has seamlessly weaved a modern saga full of Norse myth and culture, a Norse, English, and Irish medieval historical setting, and the battle of old religions and new. This masterpiece is full of complex characters, gory battles, and a realistic and well researched historical setting. Oh, and did I mention Orcs! Yes, you read that right. But how you may ask. Our main character is the one and only Grimnir.
“To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind―the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.”
This is not your normal protagonist. He is not someone to root for (but I did) or to be your champion. He is mean, nasty, ill tempered, and only has vengeance on his mind! My kind of Orc. Honestly this character is amazing. I am very impressed with the way this character was conceived and executed. Bravo Mr. Oden! The other cast of characters are on par with Grimnir, complex and multilayered, but none have his ability to demand your complete attention.
The setting is an amazingly detailed, historically accurate medieval Europe. Well researched and realized in this novel. Norse, English, and Irish myth and culture collide with the new religion of the Nailed God. The world is in a monumental struggle to see which one will survive. I think this struggle between the old ways and the new was one of the biggest high points for me in this book. Something I have diligently researched on my own. The author has done a spectacular job of bringing this struggle into a real life battle within his novel. Did I just say battles? I think I did, and there are plenty of bloody, gore stained battles in this book. Not overly gory, but enough to get your blood pumping. Action, adventure, battles, religion, history, and most importantly phenomenal characters. What more can you ask for!
In conclusion Scott Oden has a novel that is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I expect it to stay firmly planted at the top of my best of 2017 list. I rarely have such a bond with a book and a character as I have with A gathering of Ravens and with Grimnir. I am beside myself with excitement to see what comes next in this epic saga!
As you know if you have read my reviews before I am not about long reviews with synopsis and spoilers. I just give my opinion on my experience with this book and you can take it from there. Now on to the next book.
You seriously need to pre-order this book!
Is due out June 20, 2017!
So go get your copy!
BUY HERE: A Gathering of Ravens
Pre-order from one of these fine retailers:
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (June 20, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312372949
- ISBN-13: 978-0312372941
He is called by many names. To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind – the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.
Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the ambitious Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that has changed. A new faith has arisen, a Nailed God from the East, and against it the Elder World cannot abide. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.
Taking as hostage a young Christian to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits . . .
But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning – the Old Ways versus the New – and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done, or stand against him and see it slip away?
Who is Scott Oden?
Good question. Oden is the author of four novels, two historical fiction (Men of Bronze and Memnon) and two fantasy with a strong historical bent (The Lion of Cairo and A Gathering of Ravens), a couple of short stories, and a few non-fiction articles and introductions (notably, the introduction to Del Rey’s Robert E. Howard collection, Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures). Oden is a sad victim of Golden-Age Thinking and would rather live as an expatriate writer in 1920’s Paris . . .
Oden’s previous works include the historical fantasy, The Lion of Cairo, and two historical novels, Men of Bronze and Memnon. He is currently working on his next novel.