Shackled Fates by Thilde Kold Holdt: Review

This is the second story in The Hanged God trilogy and this really takes everything that made Northern Wrath great and makes it even better.

Some information about this book:

  • Release date: October 26th 2021
  • Published by: Solaris (Rebellion)
  • Pages: 656
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Series: The Hanged God Trilogy (Book #2)

Blurb:

As Ragnarok looms, the trickster Loki breaks free from his chains.

In the battle to come, all shall die, but Ragnar will do anything to save his gods.

Einer scours the nine worlds for Hilda, who walks among gods and goddesses, searching the truth of the Runes.

For centuries Siv has run from her past, but she knows that to protect her daughter, and Midgard, she will have to face her worst fears.

It is time to confront the Alfather.


Book Cover

Firstly I’d like to thank Hanna at Rebellion for sending me a physical arc of this book as well as a Kindle copy for an honest review. I am proud to say all of my reviews are completely unbiased.

I just want to say that I absolutely love the covers of these books and if you haven’t seen them all you can view them on Thilde’s website here. They all tell a story and this one is no different!

They aren’t massive books but they’re definitely above your average fantasy size coming in at an average amount of 636 pages. The chapters for the books are broken down as always into different points of view (POVs) and this is something I like a lot since reading A Song of Ice & Fire (Game of Thrones) because you always have a favourite character(s) and when you get to their chapter you’re excited to find out what is going to happen. The chapters aren’t in a specific order so you won’t get the same POVs following each other.

“They are often angry, the forefathers. We all are. It runs in our blood and lineage. As you will soon come to learn.”

The story in Shackled Fates follows on immediately from that in Northern Wrath (my review here) and the chapters continue too starting with chapter 69 and not resetting to 1 since this is the same story spread over 3 books. I can’t imagine Thilde trying to sell an 1,800 page debut novel!

This is a book I was very much looking forward to. I felt it was very much a character driven story with so many different POVs. Within these POVs there are of course secondary characters and these range from a Christian King to Norse gods to a Prince to giants to other beings. The main characters in this story are all chasing their own ideals, they all want their own things and sometimes this comes at the detriment of others within the nine worlds.

“Asgard will stand even after the end, even if we will not. In red blood it shall stand. Flooded in corpses. There are worse in the nine worlds than Ragnarok.”

The characters are so well written and diverse. There are Norse gods, many of whom you have never heard of, chieftains, warriors and many other beings spread across many worlds that you visit. Most importantly they all feel very real. For example, Odin and Loki are absolutely nailed. I mean like perfectly. Forget what you have seen in the Marvel films, which are great by the way, because this is much more gritty, realistic and entertaining. Odin has a certain air of authority about him that isn’t told but is shown so delicately that you yourself would tread carefully if you met him. Loki on the other hand is as devious as you can imagine and you won’t know whether to believe the words you read on the page or not. Their descriptions too are really well done and true to mythology and not Hollywood. I won’t say much about them because I want you to find out for yourself but they’re just brilliantly written and they leave a great first impression.

“‘In the Darkness.’ His whisper slithered dangerously over the battlefield.”

It’s not just the gods who are alive, there are the main characters who shine as brightly as Thor’s lightning. Einer is brilliant as always but so many other characters are developed deeper than what they had been in Northern Wrath. Characters like Finn, Tyra, Siv and Buntrugg (probably my favourite character next to Surt who is as equally awe inspiring as Odin!) all come to life from the pages that make you want to learn about the Nordic mythology and way of life. The writing in this book is a testament to Thilde’s expertise on the subject.

“‘Time is slipping faster and fast,’ Buntrugg observed. At first it had been harder to tell; the difference had been no more than a few days. But that was no longer true. The nine worlds were being wrenched apart.”

The dialogue between characters brings them to life and you can see how each character affects someone else with their words or actions. When you think one person is in control you later realise it was actually the other person all along and this is just the humans in the story.

The battles and fighting in this book are just as well written as the first one. Again I don’t want to drop anything at all but there are parts I really enjoyed because everything is written in a way that is easy to follow but equally fast moving within the story. Weapons clash off the pages and into your ears while the next death is only a page turn away.

“‘We are all mere tafl piece to Ragnarok,’ he reminded Einer. ‘No one calls upon the war between giants and gods. Ragnarok calls upon itself.’

Worldbuilding to me is important because I love diving into a new world. If you read Northern Wrath then have no fear, the worldbuilding in this book is as good as the previous installment. This story originally focused on Midgard and now Thilde really fleshes out a lot of the lore and worlds from the old stories. You will be impressed as you are taken across worlds new and far, learning about how they are connected and who inhabits which place. There is certainly much less focus on the Christian religion part of this story as it focuses so much heavier on the impending Ragnarok and the battle of gods and giants.

“‘The nine worlds may have let you live,’ said his grandfather.’ But Ragnarok will not be as kind.'”

This is not like other viking stories. Yes this has “vikings” but it has so much more. Gods, monsters, myths, magic. It really captures everything you would ever want from a Norse story and splatters it across the pages for you to wade through. You will not read another Norse inspired story of this quality.

Rating 5/5 – Shackled Fates is a blockbuster sequel that somehow out performs everything the first book gave us. The characters are amazing, the story brilliant and the worlds, alive. This will keep you turning the pages until the early hours and will leave an impact on you akin to Thor’s hammer. I can’t wait to see what Thilde has lined up in Slaughtered Gods next year because this is a fantastic fantasy story that really brings Norse men, women and gods to life. Everyone should read this series. Fact.

You can buy both books in this series at The Broken Binding here and use the code BLURB5 to get a 5% discount on all orders. You can add them to your Goodreads TBR here.

If you like science fiction and fantasy books then consider joining The Oasis Discord here – it’s free and has a great community, buddy reads, community reads and much more!

2 thoughts on “Shackled Fates by Thilde Kold Holdt: Review

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