- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted September 14, 2012
MythReaver grabs ahold of you and drags you along on its berserker charge from beginning to end. Just when you think you know the direction the story is going to take, Josh Unruh throws twists worthy of Odin himself. From Finn's humble beginnings to his meeting with Thor and beyond, the characters leap off the page fully formed so much so that you can nearly smell the salty sea air and their mead encrusted beards.
I couldn't recommend this piece more if you are a fan of Fantasy, Vikings, or Norse Mythology. Josh Unruh blends all the elements together in a gripping, well-written piece worthy of Five Stars. I can't wait for the sequel and will be watching for more books by this author.
Posted September 11, 2012
I had the privilage to be an advanced reader of “Myth Reaver,” and Josh Unruh has got some quality stuff here.
Myth Reaver is...unique. As many readers might already know, “ending/un making” and “everything wears out” are overarching themes throughout Norse mythology; Unruh has realized parallels exist in hardboiled fiction, and builds a plot and cast of characters around these themes with hardboild sensibilities. There is, of course, more to it than that, but Finn is always wearing out his welcome in ways Raymond Chandler would appreciate.
Especially when Finn starts lipping off to...famous Authority Figures, shall we say?
A word of warning: genere fiction fans expecting Tolkien-eque length are going to be disappointed. The novel is by no means short, but there's no way one could prop a door open with it either.
Likewise, though the dialogue itself feels very Norse, the writing on the whole owes more to Chandler than Tolkien -with some sutibly awesome exceptions.
I enjoyed the writing immensely (several of Finn's boasts had me laughing out loud, as did Finn's brother attacking a dragon with a hammer), but heads up for those of you who are Jordan and Martin fans.
Myth Reaver is one of those books that, upon finishing, I found myself thinking “it works so well, and makes so much sense. Why hasn't anyone done this before?”
Read it. Because passing on this would be a damn shame.
Posted September 6, 2012
I am not a fan of Epic/Hero/Saga tall tales and certainly am not well-versed in Norse mythology. However, I found this book to be a relatively interesting read. "Downfall" is an imaginative novel drenched in legends, references, and allusions straight from the "Edda". Its swarthy, epically strong hero, Finn Styrrsson, the youngest son of a Norse king, leaves home and sets out to prove his worthiness as a thane/warrior. In the process, he battles a huge wolf, an enormous wyrm (dragon), and the mighty Thor himself—all for the sake of his own aggrandizing pride and glory. Finn's quest for personal glory, to be eventually honored in Valhalla, becomes his flaw and, eventually, his downfall.
Unruh writes in a somewhat grandiose, saga style, with all the accoutrements of overly detailed, descriptive blood, guts, and gore. The plot is straightforward and well-constructed without the frivols of sub-plots. However, his protagonists are flat and one-sided, without any deep psychological insight into their character. I found Finn to be shallow, brutish, pompous, selfish, and vain. Although, I guess, he has every right to be, having earned the legendary title of Myth Reaver by slaying a wolf bigger than a thatch-roofed house. In addition, not familiar with any of the referenced mythical names and places, I had to constantly stop to look them up to understand the gist of the story as well as the belief-system underlining Finn's quest. While I learned a lot about the Nine Worlds, their inhabitants, and Scandinavian legends, this interrupted what otherwise could have been a fast-paced read.
Another reviewer compared this to a modern-day Gilgamesh. But Gilgamesh sought glory not for himself, as Finn does, but for the revenge and glory of his slain best friend and brother. And, unlike "Downfall", Gilgamesh's story is an enduring hallmark of very early heroic, redemptive literature. Finn's story certainly is not as heroic and lacks the redeeming qualities of unselfish sacrifice. However, it is an action-packed, imaginative saga that will slake your quest for blood-thirsty and often blood-curdling mythical adventure.
This review was written by June J. McInerney, author of "The Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont".
Posted September 6, 2012
I had never read a Viking-noir saga before "Downfall," but I think I like it.
The book features Finn Styrrsson, a Viking with the strength of thirty men [sic] in each hand who travels the world slaying monsters with the hope of a glorious death that will see him to Valhalla.
I like that the book has a consistent voice, and it's not a voice that I'm used to hearing. Unruh brings together Norse mythology, modern language, and an enjoyable protagonist with few seams. Finn is compelling -- I care about his mission even though his Viking values have very little that is connected to my own, and I believe that he has the voice of a berserker. I also enjoyed the bits of cunning and political diplomacy mixed in. In that sense, it was very much like a modern (and Norse) version of "The Odyssey." Also, I am used to tolerating books with unassuming beginnings that pick up a few chapters in, but "Downfall" captivates from the start with a superb first page and first chapter.
Stylistically, my one main issue with the book is that some of the fights are so epic as to be unimaginable. I can suspend disbelief that the protagonist is mythically strong, but it often seems like, at the start of a battle, the enemy is literally the size of a house, and midway through, Finn is able to throttle its neck (which would be moderately impossible with something that big).
Also, I was reading an ARC, so more editing will be done before it is published, and this critique is totally unfair, but I felt that the writing lacked a certain meticulous quality. There were a few sentences interspersed throughout the book that I would have to read twice to completely understand because they were slightly less clear or more ambiguous than they should have been, which is something that you can only really get rid of by spending a very long time editing everything.
While it was an enjoyable read, I didn't feel like I gained any insight into the human condition from reading it, an expectation I hold even of fantasy works. As a result, it only gets 4 stars rather than 5, but if you're looking for a fun Viking novel, I strongly recommend it.