Torin Ten-Trees and his closest companions, Bryn and Grimsa, set out to join The Gatewatch and become trollhunters. When a troupe of meddling dwarves throws them off course they are captured by trolls and taken as prisoners to a secret gathering deep underground. There they learn that an ancient giant has crowned himself king of the trolls and plans to utterly destroy The Gatewatch. Their perilous journey back to the land of sun and stars will stretch their strength to the limit, strain their wits, and demand an unspeakable sacrifice. But will it be enough to defeat the Troll King?
The Gatewatch is an epic troll-hunting adventure inspired by the Norse Myths and the Icelandic Sagas.
“Vengeance is not like they make it out to be in the songs and old tales. They say that it is as sweet as mead, but it is a bitter, bitter root.”
First of all, thank you so much to Joshua Gillingham and Crowsnest Books for the review copy of this book. Receiving this review copy did not impact my review in any way.
The highest praise that I can give The Gatewatch is that it reminded me a ton of The Hobbit. Don’t get me wrong, it is unique in its own way, but you can tell that the heart and soul of this novel is inspired by The Hobbit. There is a sense of comradeship, of grand adventure, of hearth and home that reminded me so much of the same comfortable feeling that I get when reading The Hobbit. Add in some Vikings, a greater emphasis on trolls, and a troll hunting garrison and you’ve got The Gatewatch.
The first thing I want to talk about is the characters. Gillingham does a really great job of making you care about each character that you spend a decent amount of time with. The main trio of Torin, Bryn, and Grimsa especially stand out. Torin with his all around goodness and leadership, Bryn with his sense of humor and bravery, and Grimsa with his loyalty and passion. These three friends played off of each other incredibly well and I enjoyed every moment they spent together. A few other standouts include Wyla, a female warrior with something to prove and Bari, a caring and helpful Nidavel (Dwarf).
The one thing I thought may have been, not necessarily poorly done, but just not given enough recognition is the weight of death. There are a few times in battle where the MC’s just kinda laugh off death or recover too quickly. I believe this book is meant for a somewhat younger audience so I can definitely understand why this was, but for me it kinda took out some of the emotional depth those moments could have had.
The world was unique enough that I really enjoyed it. The descriptions of food and drink, the different races occupying the world, and the layout of the troll fighting garrison really worked for me. I liked the different take on trolls and giants as well. There was also an emphasis on riddles and riddle contests and that ended up as probably my favorite part of the book.
The action in the story was done quite well and the stakes were really high throughout the story. There were no fight scenes that felt like they didn’t matter or that the characters weren’t actually in danger.
At only a little over 300 pages I was surprised at how much I got invested in this story. Overall, this was a really fun adventure story. If you are looking for a cozy, comfortable read with a whole lot of heart, pick this one up. I am really looking forward to the next installment in 2021!