Narrative and Plot
In my review of Persuasion by Jane Austen, I talked about the folklore style of narration. Wherein Persuasion was a classic, here the style works well for a prehistoric fantasy. The first-person narrative by Brennus gives us a deeper insight into his thoughts and worldview. It makes us part of the story as we, too, are listening along with the bard.
It took me a minute to figure out the characters and settings. Once I was in, however, I was engaged and wanted to know more. The pacing of the story was even and almost never slowed down. The ending surprised me a bit, but it made sense with the overall theme of the story.
Characters and Conflict
The entire story revolves around Brennus, since he is the narrator. Brennus is just a member of a clan caught in a situation that gets beyond his control. However, he cannot help but carry the guilt of possibly being the origin of the chaos around him.
The ensemble characters were mostly well-rounded with an arc for themselves except for Myrnna. As a reader, it is hard to empathise with the fate of a character that you barely got to know. Myrnna barely voices her opinion, save on a few occasions. Perhaps it is hard to give her perspective with a first-person narrative. It limited her role as a plot device and quite an important one, for that matter, with no agency.
For someone who has no idea about Celtic history, this was quite the fast-paced and adventurous fantasy tale. Hag of the Hills surely has a lot to unpack. It keeps you hooked throughout and would require a re-read to fully grasp the story.
About the Author
Joseph Thomas Thor Ryder is an archaeologist and author of the heroic fantasy novel HAG OF THE HILLS, book 1 of THE BRONZE SWORD CYCLES duology. He is a published author of Viking archaeology, and a doctoral candidate specializing in the Viking Age and Celtic Iron Age. He resides in Norway where he conducts archaeological research and writes heroic fantasy set in historical periods.
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I received this book in exchange for an honest review for TheWriteReads Blog Tour.