11.30.2023 | Thursday

The Witch’s Heart

category: Book Reviews

The Witch’s Hearttitle: The Witch's Heart
author: Genevieve Gornichec
published: 30 November 2021
publisher: Ace
genre(s): fantasy, historical
pages: 347
source: library
format: hardcover
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

the blurb

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive national bestselling debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

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.

  • a few notes
  • mini review in 5
  • full review
  • read this if…

content warning: ❗some graphic violence❗

POV: 3rd person
keywords/phrases: magic, witches, gods, folklore reimagining
spice: 🔥
language: 0🤬
cover notes: The cover is gorgeous, perfect for the story within.

awards: Goodreads Choice Award: Nominee for Best Fantasy (2021)

  1. This novel puts women in all the places mythology and history have ignored.
  2. Angrboda is a strong and complex character, powerful.
  3. The relationships in this story are truly the core of it.
  4. The world comes to life, vivid descriptions and writing.
  5. Some of the dialogue felt out of place, too modern for the setting of the novel.

This is a beautiful book that fills the woman-shaped gaps in Nordic history and mythology. This is so much more than a love story between Loki and Angrboda; it’s a love story between Angrboda and herself. It’s a story in which she finds her own automony against even the gods.

Angrboda is a powerful witch who once was coveted by the gods themselves until she refused to give Odin what he demanded. But she isn’t so easy to destroy, and she finds her way back every time. During one of these lives, she crosses paths with Loki, the trickster god who is torn between his love for Angrboda and his family. With him, she finds love and bears three children, each of whom has their own destiny within the history of the world.

This was such a vividly created story within a world of mythology and magic. The characters are well developed, compelling and interesting. Angrboda, especially, is a fabulous character, uncompromising in her love and loyalty, strong in the face of any adversity, but also very loving. She has complicated, but deep relationships with Loki and Skadi, as well as with her children. It is those relationships that are really the core of the story. The writing is descriptive and well paced, driving the story forward with every page.

My only quibble with the novel is that some of the dialogue feels too modern. Instead of the more formal speech one might expect, there is quite a bit of phrasing and idioms that feel more casual, things we’d use in conversation today. That could be a bit jarring sometimes.

Read this if you love folklore, reimaginings, and epic fantasy with a historical twist.

About Genevieve Gornichec

Genevieve Gornichec sometimes hops on here to yell about books she really likes. She earned her degree in history, but she got as close to majoring in the Norse myths and sagas as she possibly could, inspired by her Swedish grandfather. She lives in Northeast Ohio, where she has been known to haunt local coffee shops and also pretend to be a tenth-century Scandinavian weaver on the weekends.

::spread the love::

Leave a Reply