Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – the shadow of the gods (John Gwynne) – It’s Wyrd and Wonder!

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

Title: the shadow of the gods

Author: John Gwynne

Publisher: Orbit Books

Publication Date: Available Now!!! (paperback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0356514185

Source: NetGalley

The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1)

Unpopular opinion time!  I had previously read the author’s malice and thought it was just okay.  The plot of that book is completely gone now.  But I wanted to give the author a second chance.  I got to 63% and abandoned ship.  This author’s work is apparently not for me.  I found the world to be somewhat interesting but not exceptional.  The pace was extremely slow and plodding.  However the main problem was the characterization.

Ye follow three POVs for this one.  One is a slave (thrall) named Varg.  One is a warrior woman and mom named Orka.  The other is a warrior woman who wants fame and money named Elvar.  I liked the set-up for Varg’s story but lost interest after his “training” and lack of explanation of his “mysterious” past.  Elvar’s story was so mundane that I never cared for her.  I started to hate seeing her name at the top of her chapters. Orka was by far the best but her fighting skills seemed like superpowers and her reactions never varied.  Maybe if it was just her story with more insight into her motivations, I would have liked this book better.  I felt at times that their voices were indistinguishable. There are also two warbands (with Varg and Elvar) and I kept getting them confused because they were so similar that, outside of the leaders, the warriors in them were interchangeable.

I also had a problem with the non-English words.  I don’t normally care about this but they seemed a weird combination of real and made-up words.  I kept being annoyed that some would translate online and others didn’t.  I don’t normally want a glossary but I did for this book.  I also thought the writing had too many awkward similes and repetitive descriptions.  Also the author used the word “thought-cage” for brain 70 times (I counted), as many as 5 per chapter, and for all three POVs. That be approximately once every 7 pages.  It drove me crazy!

Even the promised dragon was not enough to get me to finish this book.  I will not be reading any more of this author’s work.  Arrr!

This post was brought to ye by Wyrd & Wonder 2021.  And the number 3.  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel (shortened by me cause spoilers):

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 . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

John Gwynne – Author

To buy the book go to:

the shadow of the gods – Book 1

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

14 thoughts on “Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – the shadow of the gods (John Gwynne) – It’s Wyrd and Wonder!

  1. If you really want me to spoil why she’s a fighting ace, I will.

    I didn’t get on with Malice because I’d just hit my fantasy burn out. So I pretty much just stopped fantasy. Will certainly try it again.

    I love Norse stuff. So this was always going to intrigue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I loved this book (Gwynne is one of my favorite authors) I have to agree on the “thought-cage” infestation, that at times literally drove me mad: if it had been any other author I would not have been able to shunt my annoyance to the side… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this book and I loved all the characters, but I have to say most people thought Orka stole the show and left the others in the dust. I can see how the other two could be confused at times, their warbands and their stories do have similar trajectories!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sounds like John Gwynne is not for me. I gave Malice a quick perusal at the bookstore and didn’t like the writing. Sounds like his characters won’t be for me, either.

    It also sounds like he’s trying to use kenning, which goes along with Norse and Anglo-Saxon writing, but doesn’t work if you use it poorly. That would drive me batty, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m reading this right now (and have been for over a week) and I’m frustrated that I haven’t finished yet. And OMG the “thought-cage” expression is driving me batty! I will be mentioning that in my review too. But I am enjoying it more than you, but yes, so slow….

    Liked by 2 people

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