Narrator: Jayne Eniwistle
Published by Penguin Audio on February 9, 2021
Length: 12 hours, 4 minutes
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Angrboda's story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin's all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life - and possibly all of existence - is in danger.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she's foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
Sometimes you just want a good standalone novel. It is nice to know that you can jump into a world and read the story beginning to end in one book. The Witch’s Heart is not a retelling of any tale I know. It is a new tale steeped in Norse Mythology following the second life of a witch Odin destroyed because she would not tell him what she saw when the end of the world comes.
Angrboda is in hiding, after being burned alive three times by Odin. She has found an old forest to live in and rebuild a life in secret and quiet. Loki appears one day and brings her back the heart he found on her pyre. From that a friendship starts and later a romance. The children of a witch and Loki, the shapeshifter and trickster god, were never going to be normal. The three children will be pivotal in the end of world, Ragnorok.
Okay so this is not an action packed tale. The life of Angrboda is for the most part quite and strange. She is a witch but one who made healing potions and salves for the people in neighboring villages. She lives a mostly quiet life except for the people who come to see her in her grove. Skada , a trader who is her best friend, and a few others find their way to her hidden home. The best parts of the story are Angrboda’s interactions with the quick witted Loki. He has a quick tongue and can talk himself out of just about anything. Angrboda’s sorrow is that she has seen the future and knows how many she loves are going to die. She can try to save a few but will she be strong enough and have the heart to do it.
I enjoyed most of the story. It may be a little boring to some who are looking for something with action scenes throughout. Also, Loki doesn’t come across like the Marvel villain he has been made into and is probably more true to the actual lore. So if you are looking for the Tom Hiddleston version you may be disappointed. I enjoyed the story and even the ending when we see Ragnorok. The journey, and then the sacrifices at the end, were well built and I usually appreciate that in a good story.
I can’t believe,” he went on, “that you would besmirch my good name by implying that I’m an oath-breaker-”
“I would have to know your name in order to besmirch it, would I not?”
“You’re besmirching the idea of my good name.”
“The idea of your name itself, or the idea that it’s a good name?”
He blinked at her and mouthed the word Oh.”
Jayne Entwistle is a new to me narrator. She took a little time to get used to her narration; it seems subtle. I sped up my normal listening speed from 1.5 to 1.6x to make it more palatable to me. She does well but it took some time to get used to her style of narration.
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