Rating: 4.75 stars
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Yngvi is a warrior in the army of Thor. He is skilled, arrogant, and charming. When he meets a stranger calling himself Shara, Yngvi is stunned. The man is beautiful and captivating and everything Yngvi wants in a lover. But when Valhalla is suddenly attacked by Loki and his army of monsters, Yngvi and Shara find themselves thrust into a battle for survival.
When the dust settles, Shara must reveal the truth to Yngvi. He is on a mission to stop a rogue deity from destroying a host of godly realms. With Yngvi’s help, Shara manages to stop the destruction of Valhalla, but there are other worlds still at risk. With Yngvi at his side Shara must confront his heritage and stop a seemingly unstoppable evil.
I doubt Jay was shocked when I snapped Echoes of the Gods up for review. Any mythologically based story is going to make me squee with delight. And in most ways Echo of the Gods manages to please.
It’s easy to break down Echoes of the Gods by the mythological realms that are predominately featured: Nibiru, Midgard, Egypt, and Greece. Each of these are well detailed and rife with strongly researched mythology. Some of the classic information has been altered or somewhat re-imagined, but for anyone who has a working knowledge of myth, these places and Gods will feel familiar. Yngvi and Shara are both compelling characters and their slow romance is a strength of the book. It’s harder to like Yngvi at times because he has a wandering eye and despite his devotion to Shara, he doesn’t try to hard to resist the advances of others. He eventually manages to redeem himself, but there are times you want to shake him for squandering Shara’s affection. Shara is sweet and somewhat naive and he has something of a nihilistic view of his task. And for good reason. It’s an impossible challenge and Shara is no fool, but as a reader it was rewarding to see him taking advantage of joy where he could find it.
The action in Midgard and Nibiru is well written and suitably tense. The author does a good job of setting the time and place and making the stakes palpably high. But Shara and Yngvi’s journeys to Egypt and Greece are more chaotic, less focused, and frankly a bit boring. One involves chasing a riddle and the other a hedonistic orgy. Both Egypt and Greece still have enjoyable moments and they are critical to the wider story, they just aren’t as strong as Midgard and Nibiru.
The resolution of the godly threat at the end of the book feels a bit forced and out of step with the rest of the story. It certainly made sense and resolved some of the obvious lingering questions, but it felt like a weaker than expected resolution. These scenes are also a bit chaotic and disorganized when compared to the wider novel. Perhaps this was a choice on the part of the author given it was the book’s climax. It just didn’t feel as smooth or well integrated as the rest of Echoes of the Gods.
The issues with Echoes of the Gods are mild and offer only minor distractions from an otherwise well-paced, well-written, and adventure-packed story. The characters are engaging and the author’s use of mythological constructs creates an inventive and engaging plot. If you enjoy fantasy or mythology, you’re probably going to enjoy this one.