Review of The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Hello hello everyone

Today it’s my stop on the Titan Books Blog Tour for the wonderful The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec!

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
 

The Witch’s Heart is wonderful story of Angrboda, it’s woven into 3 interestingly laid out parts, each with their own distinct feel. The first has a loneliness to it as Angrboda starts to make a life for herself outside of Asgard, despite the often solitary existence though she makes a comfortable life for herself until it is turned upside down by the presence of Loki turning up mainly whenever he wanted something from her, but whilst he is not there Angrboda is joined by the wonderful Skadi and what starts as a reciprocal relationship born out of necessity turns into a wonderful friendship. The story progresses into one with a lovely homely feel to it as Angrboda and Loki’s dynamic develops into one which is more and their children and members of Skadi’s family come into the fold.

What really made the book for me was the opportunity to see a different side to Loki, whilst he is still the trickster, its the softer and more vulnerable side to him that he only lets slip outside of Asgard that was wonderful to read. His dynamic with his children was so interesting, even though I felt that often his attitude towards Angrboda left a lot to be desired in my mind. This then leads me onto Skadi who is probably my favourite character in the book, she is stalwart in her relationship with Angrboda, their friendship built over many years of respect and reciprocation, I adored how their characters developed together.

The story was so cleverly written that it went from being a wonderful, if not a little unconventional, family existence to one where a sense of unease began to be woven within. It snuck up on me, the feeling of apprehension as we got closer to the time of Angrboda’s visions, I had spent so long with these characters going about their daily lives that I suddenly wasn’t ready for what was inevitable, I felt a joy with being with them and they had been so carefully wrapped up in their world that I was troubled by the underlying tone. The cruelty that Angrboda suffered is still present in Asgaard and it starts to seep into Angrboda’s existence through unwelcome guests, troubling dreams and ultimately betrayal. I was so emotional at what she then goes through and how the story changed again to one still of loneliness but also one of redemption and forgiveness.

As the story hurtled towards it’s inevitable cataclysmic conclusion I was also left feeling uplifted by how in a way whilst one cycle was broken, one started anew but this time with a new hope and an ending that felt comforting and as it should be.

If you are are a fan of Norse mythology but are looking for a different take on an old tale then I really recommend that you pick up The Witch’s Heart.

4.5*

The Witch’s Heart is available now through Titan Books

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