Hall of Bones — Tim Hardie
Full transparency: I had never read Norse-inspired fantasy before. TV-wise, I haven’t even seen Vikings; the closest I’ve come would probably have to be How to Train Your Dragon and uh, Norsemen.
That said, I really enjoyed Hall of Bones! What struck me the most was how comfortable it felt from the first page. Okay, maybe the prologue wasn’t exactly the happiest, but it reminded me a bit of Skyrim, with the character starting in a cell instead of on a wagon. Maybe this feeling of comfort is because we sort of grow up with young Rothgar, with that familiar feeling of childhood, so I feel like I slipped into the world. It was a calm, peaceful beginning.
That, well, ended. Suddenly, THINGS were happening left and right. Axes were thrown, hells broke loose in different directions, and the reader accompanies Rothgar as he starts this new and vastly different chapter in his life. I loved how the first half set up the worldbuilding before launching the reader into a snowball effect of things going wrong, lol. Halfway through Hall of Bones, the direction changed completely, and I loved how the reader is swept along for the ride!
I really enjoyed Hall of Bones and am looking forward to digging into the sequel, Sundered Souls! The author opened the door to Norse-inspired fantasy for me, and for that I am grateful.
Keywords to help you decide: Norse-inspired fantasy, clan politics, political intrigue, epic fantasy, first-person perspective, betrayal, SPFBO finalist