Today is my stop for The Witch’s Heart Blog tour! Thank you Sarah Mather from Titan Books for inviting me on this tour.
Angrboda’s story begins where most witch tales end: with being burnt. A punishment from Odin for sharing her visions of the future with the wrong people, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the furthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be the trickster god Loki, and her initial distrust of him—and any of his kind—grows reluctantly into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces the most important things in her long life: a trio of peculiar children, each with a secret destiny, whom she is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family—or rise to remake it.
The story begins when the trickster god Loki finds Angrboda’s missing heart, speared and still smoking on the pyre upon which she had been burned for the third time. Drawn to Ironwood and the possibility of some excitement he decides to return her heart to her. They end up falling in love and have three children; Hel – the ruler of the Norse underworld, Fenrir – the giant wolf and Jormungard – the Midgard serpent, all of whom are prophesied to play an important part in the great battle of Ragnarok and the ultimate end of the world. The Witch’s Heart is a very clever and immersive reimagining of Norse mythology. Generally I find books of this nature difficult to engage with and completely overwhelming but this author’s approach is brilliant. The story is presented in a comprehensible and understandable manner and it captured my attention in a way I never thought possible. The writing is detailed, vivid and completely engrossing and I thoroughly enjoyed the story arc and the way it gradually built up to an explosive ending.
The characters are complex and extremely interesting and brought to life by the author’s beautiful prose and the three characters I’m about to mention particularly stood out for me. I absolutely adored the portrayal of Loki in this novel and his wonderful dry sense of humour. He is comes across as the cheeky trickster, always up to no good, witty and also utterly charming. I loved the humorous exchanges and banter with Angrboda, she certainly gave back as good as she got and I chuckled to myself many a time with their entertaining repartee. Theirs was an unpredictable relationship but undoubtedly had spark and chemistry. Angrboda, is the Norse Witch and a giantess and a remarkable but complicated character. She is extremely resilient and overcomes all the obstacles presented to her, she is also fiercely determined and will do anything to protect her children. The overarching theme throughout is a mother’s love and there were some truly heartfelt moments. Her love and devotion to her children when everyone else calls them monsters is heart-wrenching as is her loyal and strong bond with Skadi, the huntress. They have a wonderful and supportive friendship, but there is undeniably a slow burn attraction. This develops as Skadi spends more and more time with Angrboda assisting her to make her cave more homely, selling her potions and salves in exchange for food and supplies and helping her adjust to her new life in the remote forest of Ironwood. She could not have survived without her.
The Witch’s Heart is a powerful, moving and imaginative tale but which is written in such a way that it’s relatable and easy to read. A beautifully crafted tale peppered with adventure, romance and Norse mythology. My knowledge of Norse mythology is a little scant, however after reading this book I have learnt so much more. This retelling has a fabulous and refreshing perspective on the subject and it has left me wanting to know more. A must read for fans of mythology, fantasy and retellings and I will definitely be interested in reading more more from this author in the future.
[Don’t forget the glossary at the back (which I failed to notice until I finished the book) this helps getting to know who is who, however I did read an eARC so I highlighted and looked up the names as I went along].
Publication Date (UK): 4 May 2021
Page Count: 400
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted eARC of this book, via Netgalley, 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 😊