Review: Ragnarok Unwound by Kristin Jacques

Ragnarok UnwoundDisclaimer: I received an advanced electronic copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This novel starts with a bang and hooks you right from the start. Despite what the title implies, this is a story about more than just Norse mythology. It’s a world where every pantheon of gods is real, and while Norse and Hawaiian gods seem pretty antithetical, Jacques pulls it off and then some.

Each of the characters, from the main hero Ives to such deities as Loki, Hel, and Pele, are fun to read. Jacques relies on just enough general knowledge of the deities to set up reader expectation before then making a wide turn that makes them unique to this story. Hel, in particular, is a fantastic character.

The action and description in this book are also top-notch. I adore the way that Jacques employs a literal interpretation of the threads of fate. How Ives sees them are evocative and effective at communicating to the reader how the magic works without unnecessary over-explanation.

Unfortunately, the action itself tends to jerk the reader along with. There are few chances for breathers, and it feels like some intimate family scenes might have been deleted in favor of jumping to the next conflict or battle.

A more minor quibble on the writing side are some recurring point-of-view errors. The author also occasionally employs one of my biggest pet peeves, which is when the narrator of a scene hides information from the reader for the sake of a reveal later (though Dan Brown is still the worst offender in this regard).

Part of me wishes that this book had all been from Ives’ perspective so that it would have been a more intimate story, but I suppose there’s nothing intimate about Ragnarok. This tale had a satisfying ending that left just enough threads loose (pun not intended) to set up further adventures. Despite my criticisms of this book, I look forward to reading more!

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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