My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Review: The Shadow of the Gods

The Shadow of the Gods The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The absolute best part of this story was the world building for me. It borrowed heavily from old Norse culture, of which I am a huge fan and have a passing familiarity of the terms and concepts. Unfortunately the author doesn't really provide much help with context to figure that out and the heavy usage of such may leave some folks a little lost on what is going on. I was completely impressed with the level of realism inserted into the descriptions and action scenes which made them easy to by into.

The story is told from three (3) points of view ... Orka, Varg and Elvar ... and they give a reasonable representation of the stratified social structure within the world; however, I didn't really connect well to any of them much despite being well developed for the genre ... if pushed I would say that Orka was my favorite and I that was starting to warm up to Varg by the end. Elva didn't add much to the story for me other than a convenient place to provide what limited explanation and context to some of the world building.

I am not a fan of alternating POV for each chapter, especially in the beginning and most especially when said chapters are very short. This made it difficult for me to get into the story early on; it took me almost a week to get through the first 25% and a day to finish from there). I think it was have been much better to have made the beginning chapters longer and/or stayed with one POV longer (at least until you get past the mid point of the story). This is even more true when you build a world that will not be as familiar to your readers (i.e. not based on anglo-german medieval history) with a lot of foreign terms ... I like those things and it still took me a bit to get oriented in each chapter just in time change the POV ... that was frustrating.

All of that is relatively minor though ... the big problem that I had with the story is that the POV don't really converge and even more of an issue ... there is NO conflict resolution by the time the story just ends. This is not just a cliffhanger ... the story just stops ... and that was HUGELY frustrating and nearly enough to put me off of anything else written by this author. This is basic craft right? You can have several plot conflicts within a story, but the story doesn't ended until you resolve at least one of them. For this reason alone I just can't give it more than a 3 out of 5.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheShadowOfTheGods #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.