I don’t know much about mythology but it didn’t take away from how much I loved this book. No, seriously, I read it in two chunks of reading that’s how gripped I was. This is a book for women, it’s so beautifully powerful. If you like retellings with gorgeous prose then you must pick up The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec. (And it’s already out in the US, and is coming to the UK on 4th May).
Star rating: 5 stars
After being burned by Odin for not sharing the future with him, Angrboda flees to a far away forest. There she is discovered by Loki, and love blossoms between them. Together, they have 3 children all who are unique – Hel who has dead legs, Fenrir who is born a wold, and Jormungand who is born a snake. Each have their own roles to play in the future that Angrboda prophesises.
Motherhood is a strong theme as Angrboda raises her unusual children all the while Loki travels back and forth to Asgard where he has another wife and children. Some of the book’s most emotional moments for me involved Angrboda trying to hard to do best by her children while Loki causes nothing but trouble. The children’s’ stories are traumatic with some really dark, hard to read moments. Love and forgiveness also feature in all forms, between family, friends and lovers. Mostly I can say I was captivated by the strength of women in this story, whether it be from characters I liked or characters I disliked but empathised with. Skadi, who befriends Angrboda, is definitely my favourite though!
In terms of writing, one of Genevieve Gornichec’s strengths is in the dialogue. I found the interactions between the characters to be so engaging that the pages just flew by. I also really liked the pacing – the book really took its time to pack emotional punches while progressing the plot. There’s no doubt that this is an impressive piece of work.
Overall I can confidently say this is the best retelling I’ve ever read. It now has a place in my favourite books and I can’t wait to read what Genevieve Gornichec writes next because this one was sheer brilliance on paper.