Echoes of the Gods (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)


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Title: Echoes of the Gods
Author: Gaia Sol
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 25, 2017
Genre(s): Fantasy Romance, Mythology
Page Count: 316 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Blurb:

Peace reigns in Midgard and with no wars to fight, Yngvi, soldier and fancy-free charmer, craves danger, excitement and adventure. He finds all that and more in a mysterious stranger whose arrival in Midgard coincides with an unexpected attack on Asgard’s pantheon by the fiendish armies of Loki, renegade god of the Underworld.

Shara has pursued a killer to Midgard and can’t afford to be distracted by the charismatic Yngvi, not when the fugitive has eluded him twice already. But Yngvi is like no one Shara’s ever met—annoyingly tenacious, but also brave, loyal and inconveniently attractive. A single night together shouldn’t change anything. But it changes everything, and Shara finds himself giving Yngvi his body, his trust and much more.

Caught in the riptide of Shara’s shocking secrets, Yngvi joins him on a quest for vengeance that takes them across the stars, onto new worlds and into battles with gods, monsters and their own unfamiliar, conflicting feelings. Disloyalty breeds distrust, threatening to destroy their new, fragile bond, but they must each choose between heart and life when they finally uncover the startling past that will change the future.


Fascinating Worlds

This title leaned heavily on Babylonian, Greek, and Norse mythology although the rest of the well-known pantheons are acknowledged if not explored. I enjoy mythology and especially enjoy it when it sneaks into a storyline like with Mia West’s serial saga Storm’s Edge (beginning with Thrust) and her related serial series Sons of Britain (beginning with Marked by Fire), which initially appear to be Roman-era historicals but ultimately and craftily begin to entwine with Arthurian legend. This one was a little more blatantly in-your-face with the mythological aspects, but I still enjoyed it.

I loved the cover, too. It tickled some sci-fi-ish art bone and reminds me, loosely, of the ‘aliens’ in the movie The Abyss in shape if not in color. Maybe that’s why it appealed to me. That was a fantastic movie wink. I just dated myself. Ha! That said, the MCs in this one were great, too. They were a little too physically perfect to be believed, but given what I know of mythology and who the gods generally selected to be their closest mortal companions, it was at least an accurate approach even though inhuman perfection in humans generally isn’t my thing. Real life is a lot more messy. Then again, this wasn’t really representative of real life, so …

The typical miscommunication or lack of communication theme is present here, definitely not my favorite, but the innocence of one of the MCs kept it from going over the line to infuriating. In a way, some of the relationship misadventures just served to reinforce and validate the true connection between the two, so while I spent a little time pissed off at the MCs, I got it.

The worlds-hopping adventure was fun. The plot was fun. I adored Shara and liked cluelessly earthbound Yngvi a great deal despite the idiocy he brought to the table sometimes. His character reminded me a little bit of TJ Klune’s knight character, Ryan Foxheart, from his Tales from Verania series (beginning with The Lighntning-Struck Heart), just without the buffoonery. I found Yngvi endearing, if infuriating at times.

The relationship development was believable given the mythological framework; things were theoretically different in that world when it came to love and relationships so I didn’t find it hard to scrap modern conventions on those aspects in this title. I notice a lot of reviewers sometimes have a hard time ditching modern ideas of love and relationships when reading titles that don’t fit a contemporary mold and it tends to color their opinions. I tried not to do that here. For example, insta-love/lust tends to grate on my nerves unless we’re talking about shifters, but in this title, in this world, it was forgivable.

Despite Yngvi’s constant state of denial and one MF scene—yuck—I thought the book was pretty damn hot when taken in sum total, regardless of the fact that not all the sex involved was between the MCs. I think the author did a good job of conveying the intimacy of their relationship which, quite frankly, saved this title from DNF after certain events I won’t spoil any further here.

The pacing was great even though I would have liked to spend a little more time delving into the different worlds, the taste we got of the ones represented seemed authentic enough. I would have liked a better idea of what Yngvi and Shara will do going forward or if there are any more adventures in their future, but we didn’t get that. I also would have liked to see what happened with Yngvi’s particular pantheon when he returned home as in, if there was any reaction at all, if he was missed by his patron Thor, if there was any repercussions to Asgard from events that occurred in the beginning of the story or to the quest he and Shara completed, but we didn’t get any of that either.

Maybe more is forthcoming, maybe not, but even as a standalone this title was entertaining, fascinating, and heartwarming in many ways. I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

This review cross-posted at Goodreads.
Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.


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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Echoes of the Gods provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

Author

I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents’ full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates.

Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don’t have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it’s any device with a Kindle app.

I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I’ve surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital.

I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there’s not much out there I won’t read.

I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that ‘smut’ as she called it. I’d already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn’t be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom.

~~wink-wink~~

My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It’s served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there’s nothing at all I’m unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.

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