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Review: The Witch’s Heart

The Witch's Heart book cover

Title: The Witch’s Heart
Author: Genevieve Gornichec
Genre: Historical Fiction-Fantasy, Retelling, Paranormal
Page Count: 368
Published by: Ace Books
Date Published: February 9, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


After refusing to divulge information to Odin regarding her visions of the future, Angrboda’s heart is removed from her chest and she is burned three times at the stake … this is where her story begins.

Escaping Asgard to the farthest reaches of the Ironwood forest, she finds she is not alone. Loki has followed her and bears a great gift – her heart, which he recovered from her pyre. They begin a great courtship resulting in three unusual children, but this time of peace is not to last as Odin continually hunts her and her information. As her powers gradually return to her and new visions appear, Angrboda must decide if she will continue to hide or accept the fate she fears and fight for her family. Aided by unique friends – a great she-wolf and Skadi, a powerful Huntress God – her incredible powers will be tested to their limit as she risks it all to save those she loves most.

A story of hope, betrayal, friendship and the power of a mother’s love, The Witch’s Heart is a modern day retelling of age-old mythology.

Overall Thoughts

Forget what you thought you knew of the Norse gods and Marvel superheroes – Gornichec’s tale of monsters, gods, and myth brings a uniquely fresh, wholly engrossing, new spin on the popular Norse stories, doing an absolutely masterful job organizing individual legends within a compulsively compelling fictional plot. Her characterization is breathtaking, with characters that shine in their fascinating humanity – arrogance, pain, humour, love, motherhood, friendship, failures – while, and most surprisingly, maintaining individual voices (a true feat in a novel that includes so many characters of mythology). While I wish the pacing had been a bit steadier (especially through the courtship/marriage phase with Loki), this is an exceptional feat of work that maintained an air of folk-story retelling spun together with a modern, feminist look at a powerfully compelling heroine. Doing for Angrboda what Madeline Miller did for Circe, fans of the retelling/fantasy/historical fiction genres are going to want to pay attention to this one. My heart and imagination were equally swept away.

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