Review: Trollgrave by Alex S. Bradshaw

Trollgrave by Alex S. Bradshaw

Liis reviews Trollgrave by Alex S. Bradshaw, A Windborn Saga standalone.

An ARC was received directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Series:Windborn Saga standalone
Genre:Norse-inspired fantasy
Publisher:Amber Feather Publishing
Date of Publishing:May 24th, 2024
Trigger Warnings:n/a
Page count:466

Possible fit for The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2024 prompts:

Joker prompt that goes with anything: Now We Are Free

Anywhere Away From HereKiss My Ass
HandwrittenYou Are My Home
PsychoSummer Jam
AddictedNew Song
The MysticSay It
Queen of KingsThe Legend of Mother Swan
Accidentally in LoveThrough Glass
White FlagRoad to Joy
Sob StoryGive That Wolf a Banana
Always HalloweenKill Your Conscience
TherapyGhosts & Monsters
Low LifeChasing Stars
Book Blurb
Trollgrave by Alex S. Bradshaw

Something stirs in the Forest of Broken Trolls…

Despite all his skill in healing and runecraft, God-Speaker Alvir Einarson could not save everyone.

In the wake of failure, he seeks aid from an old mentor and witnesses a wave of darkness sweep over the land that, for a single moment, extinguishes all magic.

In the capital, he discovers a fellow god-speaker is missing and the streets swarming with Windborn – resurrected warriors gifted with supernatural powers by the gods’ enemies.

Answers await in the Forest of Broken Trolls, but within its sinister depths even the gods’ protection may not be enough, and no more so than now, when the gods’ strength may be fading and dark powers are on the rise.

One thing is Alvir Einarson would rather die than let the gods fall.

Trollgrave is a standalone Norse fantasy filled with fanatical outlaws, strange magic, and vicious monsters.

Quote of the Book
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“By skating your awareness across your patient’s, their ailments crystallised in a way that was clearer than any description, but the skill had its limits. Limits that ended in flesh and blood. What, though, were the wood and sap but the flesh and blood of the forest? My mind pushed against the bark. Its hard texture scraped my spongy skin. My breath filled and left my lungs. Too fast. A tree inhaled with the sunrise and exhaled as the sun set. My heartbeat was like a stampede against the arboreal thrum of the forest that was the tree’s pulse. Its sap flowed like a glacier to my blood’s tumbling waterfall. I took a breath, slowed my heart to fall into the rhythm of the pines.”

Song of the Book

Review

Trollgrave… The most Norse of the Norse-inspired books that I’ve ever read, that is for damn sure!

It starts as something simple. A look at god-speaker Alvir’s life as a wandering healer, his troubles, his regrets, his work. But when Alvir accepts a request to go and check on another god-speaker, what he finds changes everything – himself, his beliefs and the world as he knows it.

There are some interesting conflicts in the book, both between the enemy and the people, the people amongst themselves, and additionally, the main character Alvir brings to the table not one but two difficult internal conflicts. Driven by his faith in Gods – and believe you me, Alvir’s faith is incredibly strong, indeed – I thought his personality tiptoes on the border of being very close to unreasonable with some things. I felt like we weren’t far off blatant prejudice. That’s one of the things that was well done about this story – the personal convictions of all characters were so full on strong, but as the story progressed and fate, or Gods, sent the most difficult of obstacles Alvir’s way, I became to realize that even if he is blessed by the gods and able to wield magic, he’s still human. Alvir displayed a lot of conflicting emotions and he felt rather lost, albeit with a strong purpose. I do enjoy a character who is a step beyond cookie-cutter.

Once the plot of the book explodes into epic proportions, there is no escape from the story. You’re in it for the long haul. There are twists and unexpected enemies, as well as multiple battle scenes worthy to be blown up on a big TV screen. Which brings me to the writing.

My goodness, Bradshaw can deliver. The detailed descriptions in this book? Wow. Trollgrave took me right into the time and place. It’s all pine needles, moss, fern, and mushrooms. It’s God-speakers and Windborn, and rune-magic, it’s trolls and spirits and the very nature.

Overall, admitting that whilst the pace was on the slow side for my tastes, Bradshaw really made up for it with his skill to deliver atmosphere. Particular favourites of mine were, as you can tell by the quote I chose, the forest scenes and the rune-weaving magical scenes. To die for! *chef’s kiss*

Get yourself immersed in this magical adventure with high stakes, for in the end it will all be oh, so worth it!  

Our Judgement
Let Their Deeds Be Noted - 4 Crowns

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