The Shadow of the Gods - John Gwynne
This was my first Norse inspired Fantasy read.
I actually put this book off, despite the positive word of mouth and incredible cover art, because of the set up.
Having made my decision not to read this, I then tried gamely to ignore any mention of its existence. Alas, it was an impossible task. Every blog sites seems to have a review and they're all glowing [deservedly I might add].
Despite the book being deified as Norse Fantasy perfection it was the commentary on how great the characters were that broke my iron-clad willpower and forced me to pick up the novel.
Orka is now singlehandedly my favourite female, Norse Viking, mother of one, murderess in all of fiction.
Varg was also a wicked read, however doesn't climb the heights of being my favourite slave turned warrior [I got your back Kaladin]. He is part of a really good war band however, the titular Bloodsworn, who have the potential to be one of my favourite 'teams' of all time.
Other than the great characters, the story moves at a great pace, there is plenty of action and just enough magic to safely categorise this as Fantasy.
All in all it's a great read and I recommend it for anyone who loves the fantasy genre.