A Gathering of Ravens Book Review

a gathering ravens book

A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden is a dark and captivating story set in a world that blends history and mythology during the Viking Age. It’s a amazing book in the Grimdark style of storytelling. At the heart of this dark and gripping tale is Grimnir, a character unlike any other, defying traditional notions of a protagonist. He is a creature of immense power and brutality, a wight on a quest for vengeance and redemption, in a realm where gods, men, and beasts coexist in a tapestry of ancient lore.

The novel’s plot is a masterpiece, seamlessly merging historical fiction and dark fantasy to create a narrative that is both evocative and immersive. As readers embark on this literary adventure, they find themselves transported back to the Viking Age, a time of conquest, exploration, and epic clashes of cultures. Oden’s storytelling prowess shines through as he weaves a story of vengeance and destiny.

The heart of the tale revolves around Grimnir’s relentless pursuit of his sworn enemy, Etain, a Christian warrior who becomes central to the story’s development. As Grimnir’s pursuit unfolds, readers are taken on a harrowing adventure that is replete with battles, magic, and the rich tapestry of ancient Norse mythology.

The characters

The characters are far from the usual heroes and villains we encounter in stories. Scott Oden, the author, has created a cast of characters who are intricate, layered, and often morally uncertain. Let’s take a closer look at two of the central figures:


Grimnir, the heart of the tale, is not your typical hero. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. He’s a wight, a creature born from darkness and chaos, and he’s on a mission for revenge and redemption. Grimnir’s character development is a prime example of Oden’s talent in storytelling. At first glance, Grimnir might seem irredeemable, but as the story unfolds, Oden peels back the layers of this enigmatic character. We delve into Grimnir’s past, understand his motivations, and witness his inner conflicts. It’s a journey that transforms Grimnir from a mere monster into a character with surprising depth and relatability.


Etain, the Christian warrior who stands as Grimnir’s adversary, is equally captivating. Her unwavering faith is pitted against a world that is harsh and unforgiving. It’s this stark contrast that adds layers of complexity to the narrative. Etain’s character undergoes a significant evolution throughout the story. She grapples with her faith in the face of darkness and uncertainty, and her resilience becomes a guiding light in a world filled with chaos. The interactions and tensions between Grimnir and Etain create a compelling dynamic, adding depth and intrigue to the overall narrative.

In A Gathering of Ravens, these characters, with their intricate personalities and moral ambiguities, challenge traditional notions of heroism and villainy. Their development and the complex interplay between them make the story a rich and engaging read. It’s a testament to Scott Oden’s skill in crafting characters that are both unconventional and deeply compelling.

Writing Style

Scott Oden’s way of writing is truly captivating and draws you into the story in a profound way. He has a unique talent for making the past come alive, and in A Gathering of Ravens, he skillfully transports us to the harsh and mesmerizing world of the Viking Age.

A World Brought to Life

Oden’s words vividly paint a picture of the Viking Age, a time of both brutality and breathtaking beauty. You can practically feel the biting cold, smell the smoky longhouses, and hear the clash of swords. His descriptions are so rich and detailed that they immerse you in the very essence of the story. You’re not just reading about the Viking Age; you’re living it through the pages of the book.

The Raw Realism of Combat

Oden’s portrayal of combat is nothing short of raw and brutal. He doesn’t hold back in depicting the intense and often gruesome battles that take place in the story. As a reader, you can sense the adrenaline, the fear, and the ferocity of each clash. It’s as if you’re right there on the battlefield, witnessing the blood-soaked struggles firsthand.

Ancient Norse Beliefs and Mysticism

The mysticism of ancient Norse beliefs is another aspect where Oden’s writing shines. He skillfully weaves these beliefs into the narrative, adding an extra layer of intrigue and authenticity to the story. You’re introduced to a world where gods, spirits, and ancient rituals are very real and play a significant role in the characters’ lives. This mysticism adds depth to the narrative, making it more than just a historical tale.

A Masterful Blend of History and Fantasy

Oden’s dedication to research is evident on every page. The historical details are seamlessly integrated into the story, and this attention to authenticity elevates the reader’s experience. It’s as though you’re not just reading a fantasy novel but a piece of historical fiction. This blending of history and fantasy creates a unique and credible world where even the fantastical elements feel entirely plausible.

In “A Gathering of Ravens,” Scott Oden’s writing style is a key element that makes the novel truly remarkable. His ability to evoke the Viking Age with vivid descriptions, depict the harsh reality of combat, and infuse the mysticism of ancient Norse beliefs sets this book apart. It’s a masterful blend of history and fantasy that pulls you deep into the narrative and keeps you there, captivated by the world he’s created.

What Sets It Apart

One of the main reasons is its unconventional protagonist, Grimnir. Unlike the typical heroes we encounter in stories, Grimnir challenges these traditional ideas. He’s not a shining knight but a creature with a dark past. This challenges readers to rethink their ideas of good and evil. It’s a story that makes you question the standard notions of heroism.

The book seamlessly merges real history with dark fantasy, and that’s quite rare. It creates a world that’s not quite like any other. The historical accuracy adds authenticity to the tale, while the elements of dark fantasy make it utterly captivating. It’s a combination that’s not easy to achieve, but in this novel, it’s done masterfully.

The exploration of Norse mythology is another standout aspect. This world of ancient gods, spirits, and rituals adds depth and intrigue to the story. Additionally, the clash between pagan and Christian beliefs is a thought-provoking layer. It raises questions about faith, destiny, and what it means to be human. The narrative becomes more than just an adventure; it’s a journey into the essence of our beliefs and existence.

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