Northern Wrath, by Thilde Kold Holdt
Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.
A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.
A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.
A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.
The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.
My Review (4.25 out of 5 )
Today we join with TheWriteReads on Tour to celebrate the release of Slaughtered Gods, the third installment in The Hanged God trilogy, by Thilde Kold Holdt. In order to do that, as our first stop, we will be reviewing Northern Wrath, the first book in this amazing Norse trilogy-
Disclaimer: I have received an ARC of this book in order for the review. This hasn't influenced either the review or the score.
Northern Wrath is the first book in The Hanged God trilogy, by the Danish author Thilde Kold Holdt. It's such an interesting proposal, in the lines of historical fantasy that has quickly grown as one of my favourite subgenres, and also, a great debut novel, starting a really ambitious trilogy. It also reflects a great labour of investigation around Viking traditions, their mythology, and their rituals.
While we are going to follow mainly the POVs of Einer, Ragnar, and Hilda, inhabitants of the village of Ash-hill; there are several more POVs in chapters, helping to portray the full situation of what's happening at any time. Sometimes the jump between POVs makes it a little bit confusing to follow the thread that Kold Holdt is weaving, but I personally like the use of this resource.
Kold makes an excellent job of portraying the Viking traditions, using different resources such as chants, some rituals, and the way of fighting. I would like to stop a moment to praise also the way she describes fighting, because despite the many times it might be confusing, you end up grasping a full picture of all that is happening (I would call this the analog of what people named ordered chaos for Peter Jackson's films). The work on characters can also pass a little bit unnoticed, due to the huge amount of POVs, but in the case of the main ones is something remarkable, giving also the adequate spotlight to the women paper in the Viking society, much more equalitarian than the one in the Christian ones.
Supernatural elements take a little bit to appear, especially because they seem to be contained to the path of Ragnar, which is really oniric, but which drew the most attention from me; it's a world setting where supernatural elements slowly are getting into.
I really enjoyed my way through Northern Wrath. I think it's an excellent debut, and I would totally recommend it for the fans of American Gods, or the ones that enjoyed The Children of God and Fighting Men. There are small details that could be improved, especially on the craft side, but again, for such a chonk of a book, it's amazing. And I can say that this won't be our last time reviewing The Hanged God trilogy.
Thilde Kold Holdt
Thilde Kold Holdt is a Viking, traveller and a polygot fluent in Danish, French, English and Korean. As a writer, she is an avid researcher. This is how she first came to row for hours upon hours on a Viking warship. She loved the experience so much that she has sailed with the Viking ship the Sea Stallion ever since. Born in Denmark, Thilde has lived in many places and countries, taking a bit of each culture with her, and is currently based in Southern France where she writes full-time.