Book Review, Books!, NetGalley, Signal Boost

NetGalley Review: Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long

Hey all, Dani here.

How are you doing today? You know, I don’t ask that question enough. I hope you are having a lovely day. My day wasn’t too bad. I did a little bit of reading, enjoyed a nice hot bath to relax my overly sore muscles, and then spent most of the day binge-watching shows on Netflix and Disney+. But I also did some work for the blog, prepping up my posts for next week. I like to set up the basic layout, schedule the post date and time, add in the categories and tags and all that, plus of course the book cover and summary. Then, it is so much easier to just log in, type up the intro and the review, and then hit schedule or publish. It’s a pretty decent set-up. So right now I have the layout done for my posts for the next ten days, which is pretty awesome.

Anyway, today I’m back with yet another long overdue review. I was very excited about this book, and I read it quickly…and then just didn’t type up a review. That has happened to me quite a bit honestly in the past nine or ten months and it makes me a bit sad and upset. But I’m trying to do better now, and I’m also trying to balance some of my newer reads as reviews with some of my review backlog, so we’ll see if I ever manage to catch up.

Enough chatter already. Let’s just jump into the review.

Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long

Epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses, and fickle gods at war, for readers of Brian Staveley’s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne.

Epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war, for readers of Brian Staveley’s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne. Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller and atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour. 

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.
Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.

My Thoughts:

Rating: 4 stars

This is a Viking inspired story, and it definitely intrigued me from the beginning. Then again, I am usually a fan of characters who speak to deities or gain power from them. I attribute this interest to the fact that I mostly play clerics in D&D. Hessa is a warrior priestess of a Goddess of War, which I found interesting. I also found it interesting that from the beginning, Hessa is having issues in her relationship to her goddess due to not following a command.

A village raid occurs, leaving Hessa’s friends and family gone…and Hessa is left alone, now facing the task of seeking out the person she let live when her goddess tasked her to kill them, and seek atonement so that she can be with her loved ones in the High Halls after death.

There is action and intrigue and religion in this story…and being Viking inspired and following a warrior priestess of a war deity, yes there is some violence involved. There is also some ritualistic self-harm, so be warned if that is something that might trigger you.

I’ll be honest…I read this book what feels like last year, even though it was early this year (thanks pandemic and reading/blogging slumps) so I don’t remember it all that clearly, but I can say that I did enjoy reading it, and I will likely read it again before it’s companion novel is released next year. However they are both simply standalone novels set in the same world, so it is not wholly necessary to read them in a particular order.

I wish I could have a better review written up for this book, because I did like it. I do own a finished copy of it as well, because it is a book I liked. I do recommend it if you like a good blood-soaked adventure story with a number of characters (seriously there’s a glossary of characters and terms in case you get lost in all of it). This is definitely a book I will read again, perhaps even multiple times throughout the years.

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All right, that is all from me for today. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.

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