Book Review #5: Challenge of the Gods by Michael Siddall

Another day, another book! I had a nice day off work today, and my husband and I raided two different bookstores. So, hopefully, I’ll get to actually dive into my seemingly bottomless bookshelves here soon!

Today’s review though is for an action-adventure fantasy novel rooted in Norse mythology and an epic journey for immortality.

Every hundred years, the greatest warriors across the land gather for the chance to compete in The Quest—a grueling set of tasks dreamed up by the gods.

Fafnir is one of five warriors embarking on this century’s Quest. If he wants a chance at immortality and fame, he’ll have to face challenges he never dreamed of.

The gods are fickle beings, though, and they won’t always be on his side. With Loki lurking in the shadows, a deathly entity awaits Fafnir. Can he survive, or will the challenge prove too much for even him?

Style:
Siddall’s style is surprisingly descriptive. The world he’s built is rich and vivid, leaving very little room for the imagination when it comes to landscapes. I prefer these long, beautifully written descriptions. It’s laid out so wonderfully that it makes it easy to picture where the challengers are traveling through their journey.

Landscapes aren’t the only well-described part of Siddall’s writing. He also does a wonderful job of painting scenes—whether it be a fight, a new creature appearing, or a character enjoying his or her triumph (or paying greatly for their loss). I was able to visualize every character as we went, along with the many creatures that I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with. I don’t know a lot about Norse mythology and the creatures/places in that world. But surprisingly, that didn’t matter. Even I could follow along.

Length:
Challenge of the Gods is an average length novel. At about 200 pages in my Kindle, it took me four days to finish.

I’ve talked before about how long it takes me to finish books. Michael contacted me Saturday and asked when I might be finished. When I said, “Give me a week.” He proceeded to tease that it was good he hadn’t asked me to read War and Peace. I honestly can’t imagine how long that book would take me to read. 😂 I say all this to get here: I finished in under a week, because, regardless of the length, it was a fantastic read. Action from start to finish! I never wanted to put it down.

Character development:
So, this story follows an omniscient narrator and all six POVs— Fafnir, Iona, Danzigfeld, Brung, Yolaf, Griswold, and Loki (with the occasional Thor and Odin himself). Because of this, there’s not a whole lot of room for individual development. Not all characters live through the Quest, though, if that counts.

Fafnir and Iona really get the main focus throughout the Quest, and I believe that Fafnir really does develop slightly. In the beginning, he really hungers for wealth and immortality. All the challengers do. But once he faces the death of someone close to him, he learns that it’s not worth it. I appreciated the decisions he made towards the end.

My favorite character was Danzigfeld, a wise, puzzle solving dwarf who rhymes almost every other sentence. His wit made me laugh out loud at times, and I was genuinely scared that we’d lost him at one point. Resurrection of a character never felt so good. Haha.

Another character I have some qualms about is Iona. I love that we have a female challenger. But… eh… she uses her femininity at one point to trick someone, then she really just acts kind of cringey at times. I still liked her strong, willful personality. There were just some iffy moments about her. I’d give her a solid 6/10, a low high.

Plot:
As far as adventure/action/fantasy stories go, this one has it all. Huge, monstrous beasts, fairies, dragons, a Sphinx, giants, odd creatures that I honestly don’t know the name of. The Blackhawks (the Quest challengers) face literally everything, even Loki himself. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again— PAGE-TURNER. I didn’t want to put this down. The fights, the struggles, the wins! It was back to back plot points.

And this is all from someone who gets her Norse-knowledge from binge watching Marvel movies.

If you’re a fan of action, adventure, or fantasy, pick this book up. You won’t regret it.

Definitely a 10/10. You can purchase it at the link below.

Purchase Link

One Reply to “Book Review #5: Challenge of the Gods by Michael Siddall”

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