Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda 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.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
In November of 2020 I had the pleasure of participating in #Norsevember. During that time, I was thrilled to win an ARC copy of this novel. So, a big shout out to Alex (@BlogSpells) for hosting the event and another to Genevieve for offering up a copy of her book as a prize.
As we all know, it takes me quite a while to read through ebooks. There is something about the medium that creates a disconnect in my brain. However, I have to say that I enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book.
Loki is one of my favorite Norse Mythology characters of all time, so a romance with him as the LI was highly appealing to me. We all know and love the morally grey god. And yes, I had a really hard time NOT picturing Loki from MCU, even though he isn’t described that way at all in this book.
It is a rare find to have a story in the Norse realm that takes a female character and runs with it. Gornichec deserves to be praised on this alone. Angraboda isn’t a well known character in Norse Mythology for many reasons but there are aspects to this story that are very familiar.
One of the main things that I enjoyed seeing were how Gornichec wove many of the known myths into her own story. Many times I found myself chuckling at the parts that seemed pulled straight from any number of Norse tales. It added to the already great story she was building.
Another thing I loved was Gornichec’s characterization. Angraboda feels like a real person and not some all powerful Norse legend. She even gives the Norse gods their own bits of personality that is usually lacking in these tales. Loki still stands out as a favorite but her use of the giants and Odin, himself, are quite brilliant.
The beginning of this novel was actually my favorite part, as that seems to be where the story is really taken by Gornichec and ran with. It does become very domestic in the middle. I have no qualms with this. It reads really well and doesn’t slow down the pacing, but I did find her struggle to be more intriguing in the beginning. The ending does pick back up and delivers all that Gornichec set up in the beginning but it didn’t have that emotional pull that the book started off with.
The only small issue I had with this book was the world-building. This is a very character focused story but many times I wished Angraboda’s world would expand. There is so much to explore but most of the time we are given brief glimpses of what is out there. For me it wasn’t all that bad because I am a huge fan of Norse tales and so the world is quite familiar to me. But for new readers to the tales, I could see this being a slight issue.
I would also like to say that this book is higher than a four star but not quite high enough for me to push the rating to a five. The reasons for this are stated above.
The Witch’s Heart
Ace Books, Feb 9, 2021
ARC, 368 pages
Fantasy | Mythology