#SPFBO Review : The Hammer of the Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.

This week and next I will be posting reviews for the ten books I rolled forward to read fully.  Hopefully five reviews this week followed by an update and cuts and semi finalist announcements on Saturday.  I will then repeat this format the following week. I won’t be posting a rating for the books at this point.

TheHammerThe Hammer of the Gods is a tongue in cheek adventure that pokes a little fun at many well known characters, myths and gods from the fantasy genre.

The author provides a warning to readers before the book begins so that you know exactly what to expect in terms of the raucous nature of some of the content and just to be on the safe side I will reinforce that message here.  This contains plenty of cursing and colourful language and can be rather crude in places.  Perhaps not to everyone’s taste in that respect.  By the same token humour can be difficult to pull off and can be affected by mood but I think the author, in keeping this story reasonably short, manages to maintain the tone consistently and I have to admit that pulling off this type of story is probably a lot more difficult than it at first appears so I have a lot of respect for the author and the effort involved.

I’m not going to elaborate too much on plot for The Hammer of the Gods.  Essentially the two main characters are Gudleik Sigbjornsson and Rosmerta O’Ceallaigh.  Both dream of a better future for themselves and long for something more. There are an abundance of other characters and storylines, so many in fact that I’m not going to recount them here – although I will give a shout out to the Goblins because they stole the show a little for me.  If you’re looking for a traditionally structured story where all the plots and threads eventually weave together then this might not be for you.  This is much more chaotic and perhaps in some ways speaks more to the author enjoying himself and going off into side stories that are not intended to further the plot or lead into anything specific.

The setting.  Well there is mention of King Arthur and an overall mediaeval feel to the world but at the same time it’s not really possible to pin this to anything too specific.  We have Gods from many different pantheons – even those of a tentacled nature (which feel almost Lovecraft-style).  Thor makes an appearance as does Loki and, well, you can barely chuck a stick without coming upon another fantasy character that you’re already familiar with.

The writing style is easy to get along with.  There is no pretension or purple prose although there were a few instances (only minor) where noticeable chunks of information were dropped that felt a little clunky.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I don’t want to give anything away here by way of spoilers so I’m going to be brief.  I think I enjoyed the start of the book more than the ending.  But, I also recognise that’s a personal need in myself as a reader and says more about the way I wanted things to go rather than the way the author had planned. For me, it felt a little rushed and in some ways a bit flat.  Again, I think more works are planned and so this is probably more an introductory piece in the series.  There is a certain busy/chaotic feel to the story which, again, I think I enjoyed more as the book began but then hoped would become a bit clearer as things progressed but again, that’s not really the style here.

Overall, this was a quick read and pretty much achieves what it sets out to do.  It provides a darkly humorous and slightly irreverent tale of adventure with bawdy jokes and creative cursing scattered throughout.

I would like to thank the author for providing a copy for review.  The above is my own opinion.