Book Review: Skeins Unfurled by @KmVanderbilt

Skeins Unfurled by K.M Vanderbilt – 3 stars

When the murder of a god shatters a thousand years of peace, chaos reigns among the known worlds. Even the Norns, blinded and stripped of their powers, cannot see how it will end.

Left without guidance, some gods choose to make their own fates. Others cannot. Old ties are torn apart while new ones are forged. And amidst that tenuous balance, ancient secrets emerge. War looms on the horizon.

In a struggle where battle lines constantly shift and allies just as quickly become enemies, nothing is sacred. For some, the end comes sooner than Ragnarok.

This book is aptly named. The threads of the plot, all tightly woven at the beginning, unravel until it’s unclear what matters and what doesn’t, and what the central conflict is. The writing itself is rich and delightful. The plot is somewhat confusing. it follows several characters, many of whom are obviously modeled on their namesakes from mythology, and all of whom are trying to push their will on some part of the multiverse.

I had a very difficult time determining who to feel sympathetic for, who the actual main characters are, and who should be labeled a bad guy. This is a story with flexible and gray morality, which is appealing in itself, but makes the characters challenging to suss out. I further found it confusing that the place labeled Midgard had little in common with Viking era Earth. Obviously, this is a fantasy tale, but with it using Earth-sourced religions, I expected it to use Earth as the basis. Dodriki is clearly not Earth.

The book felt like it would have made much more sense had the Breadth Key series come first and this been offered afterward as a backstory for the world. As a minor point, it amused me to see that a prequel had a prologue.

Overall, I recommend this for people who enjoy fantasy but have only basic/minimal knowledge of any of the involved mythologies, as advanced or in-depth knowledge will probably only cause the types of confusions I suffered.

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