Happy Sunday book friends! I was very happy to obtain an e-ARC of The Hunger of the Gods a while ago. I read an ARC of The Shadow of the Gods, too, so I was really hoping I would also be able to read the sequel early.
This book grabbed everything that made The Shadow of the Gods awesome, and somehow made it better?? Not sure how that’s even possible, but here we are. You can find last year’s review of The Shadow of the Gods here! And just like book 1, The Hunger of the Gods is extremely bloody, so do check out the content warnings.
Warning! This review won’t contain spoilers for The Hunger of the Gods, but might contain small spoilers from The Shadow of the Gods.
Also please ignore that I used The Shadow of the Gods in my cover image. I am not good enough at photoshop to edit in the cover of The Hunger of the Gods..
The Hunger of the Gods
By John GwynneMy Rating: ★★★★★
Expected publication April 14 by Orbit
Epic Fantasy | Norse mythology | Adult
The Hunger of the Gods continues John Gwynne’s acclaimed Norse-inspired epic fantasy series, packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance.
Lik-Rifa, the dragon god of legend, has been freed from her eternal prison. Now she plots a new age of blood and conquest.
As Orka continues the hunt for her missing son, the Bloodsworn sweep south in a desperate race to save one of their own – and Varg takes the first steps on the path of vengeance.
Elvar has sworn to fulfil her blood oath and rescue a prisoner from the clutches of Lik-Rifa and her dragonborn followers, but first she must persuade the Battle-Grim to follow her.
Yet even the might of the Bloodsworn and Battle-Grim cannot stand alone against a dragon god.
Their hope lies within the mad writings of a chained god. A book of forbidden magic with the power to raise the wolf god Ulfrir from the dead . . . and bring about a battle that will shake the foundations of the earth.
Okay, so back in the day when I read The Shadow of the Gods I kind of complained that there is no character guide or terminology thingie. So, imagine my delight when I started reading and found both those things in the very front. Not only that, there’s also a recap!! *cries happy forgetful tears* So that was definitely a huge plus for me, even before I started the story.
The story itself picks up right after the events in The Shadow of the Gods ended. We again follow Orka, Elvar and Varg as they try to complete their various quests. But now, we have two extra character POVs. Both Bíorr and Guðvarr make an appearance, which considering they were part of the villains in book 1, added a lot of depth for me. It immediately makes the story a lot less black and white, because honestly, Bíorr and the dragonborn are not wrong.
Guðvarr’s an ass, though.
Anyway, I loved the various character arcs, and especially Elvar’s. I am most excited for her storyline to be picked up again in book 3. Which I need like, yesterday.
One of the things the Gwynne does very well is world building. There will always be that initial confusion when you step into a new world, especially in high fantasy. Most of the time, the world will be fully established by the end of the first book in a series. However, this can also make the world feel a little stagnant during the rest of the series. Gwynne both expanded the borders of the world, and created more lore about Vigrið; both by showing this in the story, and telling us through dialogue. And I absolutely love world building through dialogue.
The pacing is great, too. The Shadow of the Gods tended to be slow at times, with quite mellow chapters in between the action. But this book seriously has something going on in each chapter. The stakes are so much higher, and the book concluded with enough of an open end for me to still have questions, but also be satisfied with everything that has happened.