Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne – A Book Review

The Shadow of the Gods


A century has passed since the gods fought and drove themselves to extinction. Now only their bones remain, promising great power to those brave enough to seek them out.

As whispers of war echo across the land of VigriΓ°, fate follows in the footsteps of three warriors: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman pursuing battle fame, and a thrall seeking vengeance among the 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.

Author: John Gwynne

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 06/05/2021

Page Count: 520

Series: The Bloodsworn Saga #1

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating for ‘Shadow of the Gods’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon, Audible


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is easily one of the best fantasy novels I have read in a good long while. The blend of Norse-inspired mythology with John Gwynne’s fantasy creation made for thrilling, entertaining and engaging reading. Being a fan of all things Norse, I devoured this one far quicker than I expected and find myself miserable for knowing that the next one won’t be out for a while yet.

Gwynne’s writing was masterful, realistic and darkly gritty. Just the kind of stuff you’d expect from a tale inspired by the Norse people and the rugged, brutal lifestyle they lived. The story itself is told from three point of views (Orka, Varg and Elvar) and, although Varg was a firm favourite of mine from the word go, all three have such wonderful stories unfolding that you can’t help but love each of them. Often in a book with multiple POVs I have a character that I groan at when they get a lengthy chapter (or, indeed, a chapter at all), but with this I found myself not caring who was up next and looking forward to each one regardless.

One slight annoyance is not simply limited to this book, but all books that write in a ‘Norse/Greek/Egyptian/any time period’ inspired genre. The frustrating use of italics when using a word that is from that period but not used in our own. For me, it’s needless. Why would any sane person need a weapon or piece of armour written in italics just because a Norse word is used instead? That could easily be solved by having a brief glossary.

So yea, my review is overwhelmingly positive because, short of the italics being a personal annoyance, there really isn’t anything but good stuff between the two covers of this work. I haven’t read Gwynne’s Faithful and the Fallen series … something I might have to remedy if it’s even half as good as this book is. So not only was Shadow of the Gods good enough to be my favourite fantasy in recent memory, it’s made me want to rush out and buy his other books.

Having read a good deal of Norse fiction myself, I can say that this feels authentic. Gwynne’s skill and attention to detail is second to none. He had me believing everything to the extent that I had to remind myself the creatures he describes weren’t real. Bravo, John Gwynne. Shadow of the Gods was a real tour de force.

The TLDR of this review: I’m saddened that ratings are only out of five. It deserved more.

22 thoughts on “Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne – A Book Review

  1. While you can’t do more than a 5star on places like NG or devilreads, you can create your own system on your blog if you want to. You just have to be consistent and have a page dedicated to explaining your system πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, that was around the time I was in my fantasy slump. I think I’ll try reading rather than listening. It started off with kids getting bullied and I just thought ‘not in the mood for YA’ ….even though I imagine it isn’t YA πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s