Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.
While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa the last Eangi must find the traveller and atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.
Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.
Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.
Hall of Smoke is a Viking inspired fantasy novel which follows Hessa’s journey on her quest for redemption after she disobeyed her Goddess’s orders to kill a traveller. What an epic adventure this is and I became totally immersed in the story. Most of the book is centred around Hessa’s trek to find the traveller she should have killed previously and the characters she encounters along the way. It is well written, the plot is engaging and it is well paced and flows nicely from one event to the other. There are some fabulous action-packed fight scenes and the story is overflowing with interesting and unique characters and creatures.
The world is rich and detailed and the author takes the time building up and developing this world. The culture, religion and mythology is fascinating and the politics and relationships between the different tribes is very intriguing. The rivalry between the warring gods made for some intense reading.
The vast cast of characters makes it a little difficult to follow at times and I found the character glossary at the back essential to keep track of who is who. Hessa is hands down my favourite character and leaves the biggest impression. She plays an excellent leading role as she is such a strong and determined warrior with a unique magic system. I enjoyed the flash backs to her life before the events at the Hall of Smoke and we learn a lot about her back history. I was really drawn to Osmaskat’s character, I found him really intriguing and Ogam is another favourite, I enjoyed his humorous repartee with Hessa.
Hall of Smoke is a beautifully written novel with an exquisitely detailed world. It is long but engaging, with an intriguing plot and enough plot twists to keep the reader fully invested in the story. There is not much romance in the book, personally I would have liked to have seen more, and for Hessa to have found love again, but I will definitely be reaching for the next book as it is hinted there may be one…..
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: 19 January 2021
Page Count: 432
Genre: YA Fantasy
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy of this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊