Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt - Book review
by Anca Antoci
Author: Thilde Kold Holdt
Amazon: 4.40 (buy)
Our review: 5.00 (read)
I'm happy to take part in this book tour for The Hanged God Trilogy by Thilde Kold Holdt. Today I'm reviewing the first book in the trilogy, Northern Wrath.
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.
About the author
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.
Northern Wrath is a book seeped in Norse mythology, but you don't need to be familiar with it beforehand because the author does a great job explaining things. You don’t need any knowledge to understand this, as the author's research shines through and very quickly establishes the world.
Within this setting, the author creates some well-rounded characters, particularly Einer, the chief’s son, who must overcome war and treason to become a leader. Hilda whose ambition is to become a shield maiden or women warrior. These two main protagonists ultimately move the story along and capture your heart.
Set in the age when Norse culture and values are forced to deal with the ever-expanding presence of Christianity in Scandinavia, the inhabitants of Ash-Hill find themselves having to face the increasing weakening of the connection with their gods and ancient customs. On their tragic journey to save the last remnants of the ways of old, they must first come to terms with their own identity and all that it entails.
The plot is well constructed, and despite a large number of characters, I didn't get overwhelmed or lost within the Norse world. Everything seemed familiar but was written in a fresh style, which hooked me from start to finish.
It is packed full of tension, the characters have shortcomings, strengths, and flaws, and ultimately they are relatable.
The multiple POVs writing style gives 360 degrees of perspective on events, eventually blending together in an action-packed story that weaves magic and fierce sword or axe fighting together beautifully. The unquestionable protagonists, Einar and Hilda, form a dynamic duo, interweaving their own personal ambitions and dreams with the struggle that comes with being destined for each other but not willing to give up their strive for a life of battle and glory all the same.
The writing is beautiful and engaging. It doesn’t feel like a debut, and it perfectly complements the subject matter, full of unexpected twists and dark turns that will keep you constantly on your toes; it certainly had me hooked from start to finish!