Varg, the thrall with a secret.
Orka, the mother with a past.
Elvar, the princess with a dream.
Spread across The Banished Lands, a land near-destroyed by the war, and death, of the gods, they must fight for what they love. In the shadow of the gods lies dark magic, revenge and…The Bloodsworn.
John Gwynne already wrote a near-perfect quartet (The Faithful and the Fallen) and trilogy (Of Blood and Bone) in the amazing Banished Lands saga. Can he do it again? If Shadow of the Gods is any indication, the answer is HELL. YES.
The Viking influence is as strong as it gets and fully displays Gwynne’s love for the culture. The lore is rich with detail and homages while adding enough to make it feel wholly original.
Where John Gwynne truly shines though, is in his characterizations. The characters burst from the page with personality. Varg’s journey of revenge and acceptance is touching and relatable, Elvar’s need to stand out from her family is believable and exciting. And Orka’s quest to save her family is brutal, heart-pounding and action-packed. Okra is bound to become a new fan favorite, up there with Maquin of Faithful and the Fallen fame.
Is this John Gwynne’s best book? No. Is it his best book one? Maybe. What I can say is that The Bloodsworn promises a heart-pounding/breaking adventure with the potential for absolute greatness. I eagerly await book two, tentatively titled Dead Gods Rising*. TRUTH AND COURAGE!**
*Just kidding, it’s called The Hunger of the Gods and it’s releasing April 12th, 2022
**yeah, yeah, wrong series. Sue me.