Review: A Gathering of Ravens

A Gathering of Ravens A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Know as a skraelingr to the Danes, orcneas to the English and fomoraig to the Irish. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. His name is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind. Driven by an centenaries old vengeance, Grimnir takes hostage a young Christan and drags them into this blood soaked and war torn world in order to fulfilled his oath.

I was very surprised when I found out Grimnir was an Orc. I've have never read a book with an Orc as an protagonist. Now don't think Grimnir is some goodie two shoes. Far from it. He's an a**hole! He does alot of questionable and doesn't think who he has to grin under his heel to get what he wants. So when he comes across as young Christan he drags them from the new world faith to the old world ways.

Oden weaves an incredible tale using the mythology of Norse and many others, taking pieces from Beowolf to Balor and it works completely. It flows and makes so much sense for Grimnir backstory and his "family" line of war-thirst monsters. The story can be very violent in a violent time of the middle ages where war of clans and new faiths are fighting for dominance, the old magic giving way to the new faith of Christ words. The balancing act of this time showed not only the change of the world but the change of Grimnir himself. In all his acts of war and violent, he does keep his word, and had a honor he follows to the bitter end but he's part of a dying breed of warriors.

Many of the characters you meet along the way from the fae folk to the willow trees to the kings and witches. All have something to gain in this world where only the strong-will survive and each come with a big personality. None such as Grimnir "companion" who starts off as a hostage and later bears witness to the change of times at his side. In the end both Grimnir and the young Christan grew to really respect the other with a tale that reaches long after them both.

Placed in the age of change and violence and rich with history, Oden created an world with the last Orc and warriors of old and the birth of the new in a truly amazing tale.

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