TITLE : Shackled Fates (The Hanged God Trilogy #2)
AUTHOR : Thilde Kold Holdt
GENRE : Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
DATE OF PUBLISHING : October 26, 2021
If you haven’t checked out my review for Northern Wrath, the first book in The Hanged God Trilogy – CLICK HERE
Following on the breakout success of Northern Wrath , Holdt weaves myth and history in a deeply magical saga.
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.
DISCLAIMER : I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Shackled Fates is a brilliant continuation of the epic Norse Saga in The Hanged God Trilogy. The more I read Thilde’s work the more in love I am with her storytelling. This book starts from where we left off and can be seen in the way the chapters are numbered. I love that it feels like this one epic tale and I am pretty sure it will be talked about for years to come. It has that special quality and uniqueness that stands out and Thilde with this book has become an auto-buy author for me. It has that timeless and otherworldly sense to it. In this book, all the Norse lore that was mentioned and introduced in Northern Wrath is explored on a grander scale and the Nine worlds are also opened up further. I loved that we got more of the Nordic tales and for me the experience was exceptional. While the first book dealt with Vikings, their traditions, cultures, and their lifestyle, this story delves deeper into the mythology and lore of the world. The nine worlds are opened up for the readers with exquisite detail and descriptions that made me feel as if I was right there experiencing it with my own eyes. We got to see the different realms, Gods, Goddesses, mythical creatures and so much more.
For those of you who have read the first book earlier and want to refresh your memory, there is a story so far section on her website for the Northern Wrath. Please make sure to check it out. I think it would be really beneficial. I will be talking about minor spoilers or events from book 1 and so I would highly recommend avoiding this review if you haven’t read the first book yet.
In Shackled Fates, Buntrugg brings Einer to Asgard. Despite Einer being in the presence of his Gods and warriors and also having been finally offered a place in Valhalla, he still searches for Hilda. Meanwhile, Hilda is on a search for her Runes. She wants them back and during her journey, she learns some surprising things about herself and also the truth behind the Runes. She chooses to follow someone she shouldn’t have and now we will have to see if she will pay a heavy price for it. Ragnar is trying to stop Ragnarök from happening while being detained in. the Darkness. The more he stays the more he understands what is happening. He realizes the power he has, and is determined to make the right choices to save the worlds. Siv and Tyra are on their own path and Siv wants to prevent Tyra from falling into the same fate as her other children. The fate of the Nine Worlds is hanging by a tremulous thread and with each event that takes place, the more closer the world is to Ragnarök. Alfather has his own motivations to stop the world from ending and he has influenced all of the creations to get his own way. All the characters have their own motivations that drive their actions and it was fascinating to explore how they dealt with each predicament.
This book was the perfect sequel to Northern Wrath and builds upon the already established characters and worlds and makes them several times better. The lore and the world that gets unveiled in this book were simply mesmerizing. I loved seeing all of the panthea of Aesir & Vanir and also getting to experience the different worlds that were mentioned in the first book. The attention to detail when it comes to world-building is something I am a big fan of. I love that we got to explore more of this massive world Hilde has created and all of the world-building added greatly to the advancement of the story. Seeing the bloody plains of Ida, the massive hall of Valhalla, the icy shores of Niflheim, and meeting the Gods, Goddesses, and the Norns all brought about in establishing the otherworldly essence of the story.
The characters had so much more depth to them in this book and as we get closer to them we realize that nothing is what it seemed on the surface and there is a lot more clarity as to what their individual journeys convey. There are so many reveals for all of them and the twists and turns were well-placed to maintain the tension, uncertainty, and suspense throughout. The character arcs also progressed really nicely with some of them going on their destined paths and others actively trying to alter their fates. I loved how all of the characters have chances to prove themselves and also make massive fate-changing decisions. Each POV was executed with perfection, and care and you can also see that a lot of heart and love went into crafting those narratives. This time around for me, every character had a compelling, strong voice that I simply couldn’t get enough of and so I was very much invested in all of their journeys. Whether it’s their search for their loved ones or the great lengths they want to go to protect them or the simple joy of being around their idols, or the sacrifices they made to fight for their truth, all of it was portrayed effectively and in a believable manner.
The pacing was excellent and had the perfect balance of heart-pounding moments, battles, surprising twists, and turns to relatively quieter occasions. I love how the writing flows so effortlessly and makes it for an enchanting read. Despite the book having fewer battles and action when compared to the Northern Wrath, this book still managed to keep me hooked to the story and had me turning pages to figure out what was happening. It had highly engaging writing with vivid imagery that will keep you captivated and suspenseful events that are going to make you more curious.
There were so many scenes in this book that was cinematic in their execution and I loved all the imagery it evoked in my head as I was reading them. The scenes with Sigis, the ship, and the sea were spine-chilling. Finn’s scene was so horrifying that I had to make myself stop reading. It was so well-written. Einer on Ida’s plains and his scenes as he moves forward was cinematic perfection. Finally, the ending scene of Hilda, Norns, and the threads was so eerie and dark. It packed a punch and nailed that scene. Also, the beautiful and descriptive writing puts you directly in the story and helps in immersing yourself fully in it. Everything is grander and bigger and looking at the sheer magnificence of the story it is awe-inspiring to see that it was all accomplished without the loss of quality in characters, the plot, the world-building, and writing. This is truly a testament to the author’s expert crafting style. I love that we have a lot of bigger themes and questions this book raises. The themes of family, values, the importance of customs and traditions, how much influence fate and destiny have on a person’s life, and the sacrifices one has to make to attain what one dreamed of are depicted so well in this book. I am so ready to learn what really kickstarted all of this and how big of a role some of these characters have in bringing about world-ending events.
Overall, this is the perfect sequel with lore galore, perfect world-building, great character arcs, and shocking reveals. The character progression, the worlds, the twists and turns, and the exquisite writing all come together wonderfully to bring us a cinematic worthy masterpiece!! This was epic in every way that counts. Chef’s kiss??5 epic stars!! If you enjoy stories from Norse mythology or about Vikings, go pick this series now. Highly highly recommend it.
Thilde Kold Holdt is a Viking, traveller and a polygot fluent in Danish, French, English and
Korean. As a writer, she is an avid researcher. This is how she first came to row for hours upon
hours on a Viking warship. She loved the experience so much that she has sailed with the Viking
ship the Sea Stallion ever since. Born in Denmark, Thilde has lived in many places and
countries, taking a bit of each culture with her, and is currently based in Southern France where
she writes full-time.