I received an ARC of Northern Wrath from the publisher (Rebellion) in exchange for an honest review.
Cover illustration by: Larry Rostant
Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: The Hanged God trilogy (Book #1 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Norse Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Published: 29th October 2020 by Rebellion (UK) & 27th Solaris 2020 by Orbit (US)
A promising and ambitious debut.
This book grabbed my attention completely when I saw the gorgeous cover art by Larry Rostant and I immediately added it to my tbr. For all I knew though it could have been about A lost tribe of Norse gummi bears coming back to claim The Lost City of Marshmallow as it was just one of those covers where you don’t really need to ask questions. Stunning in its simplicity and allure.I confess though, I was no less eager upon reading the blurb about vikings, gods and battles and could not resist requesting an ARC of this epic norse fantasy.
Northern Wrath is the first book in The Hanged God trilogy by Thilde Kold Holdt and the blurb gives a good hint at what to expect of this tale. A dead man walking between worlds, norse gods, mythology, giants, magic and batttlllesssss! HELL YES. The main catalyst for the events in this story is an attack by a Christian army on a small Norse village. Most of the warriors of the village are away at the time of the attack, and as such the village is pretty much completely wiped out. When they return and witness the scene of the massacre their honor compels them to seek vengeance. There is of course much more to the story, but I will leave it to readers to discover for themselves.
He had thought he would not lose control again.The last time had been so long ago.
Sadly, I did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would, and that was mainly due to one issue: characterization. There are multiple characters featured as viewpoints in Northern Wrath, and I found myself unable to care much about any of them. As a result, I had to put the story down and pick it up again at various intervals, killing even more of my enjoyment. Why did I not DNF and move onto another book you ask? The plot was interesting enough and I wanted to see where it was all going! Unfortunately though, no matter how much I wanted to, I could not get invested in the characters. The only other issues I had was that the book felt a little overlong and pacing suffered a bit as a result, but these were minor. Also, bear in mind that this is just my opinion many other readers did not experience any of the issues I did with this book.
Her hands were bloody, so was her dress, and the smell of iron made her hungry for more. She cast around herself for the next guard. For another southerner to kill, and roared for them to come forth. Every last one of them would die.
All is not negative though. As I mentioned, there is much to love plot wise, and it’s evident Thilde Kold Holdt can really write, making Northern Wrath a fantastic effort for a debut. The worldbuilding was top notch, with the author’s love for Norse culture, mythology and history evident on every page and weaved throughout the story with a deft hand. The author shows us another side to being a Viking, that war and conquest are not the beginning and ending of the story, but that Vikings were just people with traditions and values and hopes and dreams. Do not despair though, fights were brutal, vivid and plentiful; the story never skimped on this aspect and even included a siege. Those looking for action won’t be disappointed.
Likely many readers will adore this book, and I may still pick up the sequel to this one, called Shackled Fates (the entire trilogy has been written at this point, so bonus marks for that). There’s heaps of promise here despite my indifference towards the characters, and even if I don’t carry on with The Hanged God trilogy, I will be watching what the author comes up with after this. I may have heard she has plans for a book called The Bone Snatcher which will be an epic fantasy set in 7th century Korea. It has pre-order written ALL over it.
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.