“They say an old witch lived in the east, in Ironwood, and there she bore the wolves who chase the sun and Moon. They say she went to Asgard and was burned three times upon a pyre, and three times was she reborn before she fled.”
Ah, where to start with this gorgeously penned story centered around Angrboda, a giantess in Norse Mythology. Angrboda (Boda) is the most skilled at Seid, a magic that allows her to travel out of her body & divine the future. Odin, the greatest of the Gods had great interest in this knowledge & offered to teach Boda Rune magic in exchange for her knowledge of Seid. Against her better judgement, she agrees, skimming the surface of all the worlds & delving in to the darkest parts where there are things that should never be known. When she refuses to go to this place where the secrets are dark and terrifying, Odin burns her at the pyre, not just once but three times but she survives & seeks shelter in the forest of Ironwood.
It’s in Ironwood where she falls in love with the God, Loki, the handsome trickster with a flair for the foolish & together they bear three children that will play a huge role in Bodas prophecy to end all others, that of Ragnarök, the end of the world. Hel the keeper of the dead, Fenrir, the giant wolf & Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.
Boda’s story captured my heart & I followed her quest with great anticipation; sometimes I wept with her while other times I shared her joy. Every character brought richness & depth to the story that added to the complex nature of this Nordic tale. The author captures the complicated nature of Boda’s personality beautifully; her resilience & her quiet strength despite her hardships is both inspiring & heartbreaking. The exploration in to the other Gods & their relationships are equally fascinating as is the world she creates. I found reading about Boda’s life & experiences, especially the day to day to be intriguing & the exploration of her relationships/friendships that led her to each choice equally compelling.
This is a story of a mother’s love, of betrayal, of heartbreak, of friendship and hardship. It’s also a story that sometimes wrenched my heart right out of my chest. There were times during this story that I cried for Boda but in the end, the skillful narrative had me feeling satisfied with the way things ended.
My thanks to @berkleypub and @netgalley for and Advanced DRC.