THE JÖTUNN WAR #1 REVIEW
After reading Ian Sharpe’s first novel, The All Father Paradox, I became invested in the world he created. The Vikingverse is more than a novel, but a vision of a larger scope of entertainment. Not too long after The All Father Paradox was released in the fall of 2018, we got the announcement of the Vikingverse heading to the graphic novel format to expand the universe he crafted from the novel. The Jötunn War provides us with a new story set inside the Vikingverse where, “the Norse rule the stars with restless fleets and an iron will.” Issue number one was released digitally on May 28, 2019 for Kickstarter backers.
The story begins with gorgeous artwork by Devmalya Pramanik. The first few panels show you the dire situation of The Jötunn War and give you a sense of what is to come in this issue and beyond. If you read The All Father Paradox, you will notice that the writing doesn’t skip a beat giving you that captivating feel of being inside this world. Imagine Vikings and Star Wars colliding in a unique original story! You follow a war-torn man questioning the reason of Odin and death, as he trudges across a bloody battlefield leading him toward what the Norns would consider destiny. However, is destiny and duty one and the same? You witness the beginning of war with the Jötnar as they splash on the page with their massive size and their chilling appearance. The Vikings in this story don’t just fight with swords…
The Vikingverse proves that it can work in novel and comic format. The themes of Norse and sci-fi blend strangely well together creating a great comic book to read and look at. I am very much anticipating the next issue to see where the story goes. Like all great comic books, the first issue leaves you wanting more. Any comic book reader will thoroughly enjoy picking this up and reading it. Whether you like Vikings or not, The Jötunn War was destined to be a fun and extraordinary graphic novel.
For more information go to http://www.vikingverse.com/
You can purchase The All Father Paradox on Amazon HERE
Ian Sharpe was born in London, UK, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. Having worked for the BBC, IMG, Atari and Electronic Arts, he is now CEO of a tech start up. As a child he discovered his love of books, sci-fi and sagas: devouring the works of Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and George MacDonald Fraser alongside Snorri Sturluson and Sigvat the Skald. He once won a prize at school for Outstanding Progress and chose a dictionary as his reward, secretly wishing it had been an Old Norse phrasebook. The All Father Paradox is his first novel.
If you like to consume everything related to Vikings or Norse mythology as I do, then put your horns of mead down and pick up your axes. Play as an old berserk, Kveldulver, in the dreary Norse lands of Midgard and Jötunheim as you battle trolls, Jotuns and Vikings in your quest to try and save Midgard during the event that proceeds Ragnarök, the Fimbulwinter. Fimbul is an action-adventure game with a comic book art style that can be played on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
The story is told through comic book panels that fits perfectly with the world created in Fimbul. It never leaves you outside of gameplay too long creating a good balance between fleshing out the character of Kveldulver and fighting with your sword and shield. Not to mention you can also pick up axes, spears and helmets to use to help in battle. The dark narrative is the game’s strongest aspect sending you on a journey that feels natural and appealing to Norse mythology and Vikings fan. The story is woven with traits of revenge, honor and courage, giving you flashbacks of Kveldulver as a child revealing a better direction of why you are on this journey. From beginning to end, the pacing of the story makes you want to continue to play through the three acts of the story. There is a slight RPG element with Fimbul, allowing you to change the course of the story by prompting options for you to choose after a boss fight. This provides playability granting you the ability to go back to certain parts of the game on the “Life String” to change your decision that you made to show a different result.
The combat was fun, simplistic and challenging at times. You are provided with the core mechanics of block, roll, light attack and heavy attack. As the story progresses, your character gains more special attacks from health regeneration to impactful moves to help when fighting more than one enemy at a time. There is a good amount of boss battles from beginning to end with lengthy fights to wet your appetite. Each boss fight is similar with the same tried and true formula, but still provides a difficult obstacle and to be honest, it is always fun bringing down an enemy ten times your size!
During the short campaign of Fimbul, approximately four hours, I wish I could have experienced more with Kveldulver. However, the technical issues became a nuisance throughout the game hindering the experience. For most of the game that I played on my Nintendo Switch, I wasn’t bothered by the brief loading scenes that would pop up occasionally when traversing the world. It is when I got to the final boss scene when I became irritated after the game crashed on me halfway through the fight causing me to start the battle over. The technical side of Fimbul was the game’s downfall with hindering graphics, slow frame rate and delayed fighting sequences.
Setting all of that aside, I still enjoyed my time with Fimbul and appreciated what they were trying to achieve. It was hard for me to put the game down as I was anticipating what the story was going to reveal to me next. Fimbul captured the harsh Norse lands with brutal Vikings and depicted the essence of Norse mythology very well. With some more polish and perhaps longer gameplay with added features, this game has the potential to be something even more.
Raven’s Feast (Hakon’s Saga Book 2) Review
A sequel in a series no matter the medium, whether that be a book or movie can be hard to pull off, especially when it follows a successful first entry. However, Eric Schumacher provides a gripping continuation of Hakon’s Saga in Raven’s Feast. It still contains that same realism setting of the Viking Age from God’s Hammer but builds on it with new characters and higher stakes. Previous characters are once again a forefront to the story adding more depth and range to favorites such as Sigurd and Egil. The action scenes continue to be a highlight of the series, making each battle different than the last.
Throughout the story we still see that same teenage boy that we want to cheer for, but now we witness a king that burdens a whole realm on his shoulders. With that comes responsibility beyond our comprehension, forcing Hakon to make some difficult decisions that leads into great storytelling. Nevertheless, not much time as passed since the battle with Erik, and yet Hakon becomes more ruthless, catching me off guard from his previous self. As a reader, I embrace the darker tone of characterization because it makes that character more complex and real. Hakon reached this point quicker than I anticipated, but it is understandable after the countless deaths from battle continue to consume his mind.
Religion plays a crucial role in Raven’s Feast giving the reader a constant tension between two different beliefs, the Christians and the Norse gods. Can they live amongst each other? After living your whole life embodied by one faith, how does one react to a foreign faith? Can Hakon continue his firm belief in the Christian God being surrounded by people who despise it? These are the type of questions that get answered as they unravel by the end of the book.
Raven’s Feast is an excellent book that makes this series a must read, although it’s difficult to match the perfection of the first book in the series, God’s Hammer. Going Viking gives this book 4 out of 5 shields!
You can catch this book as an audio version as well. Narrated by Shaun Grindell.
For more information about author Eric Schumacher and the other books in Hakon’s Saga, visit his website: www.ericschumacher.net
You can also follow him on Twitter: @DarkAgeScribe
God’s Hammer (Hakon’s Saga Book 1) Review
Have you ever wanted to be thrown into the Viking Age? Well, I believe this may be your closest chance when you flip open this book. The way Eric Schumacher brings the characters and the environment to life is captivating. The supporting characters stand out on their own due to how well each character is written. They don’t just serve as a background piece in the story but are well-thought out with depth and purpose. Each character plays a role in shaping the man Hakon becomes by the end of the book.
If you’re a fan for origin stories like I am, it doesn’t get much better than this. You begin following a child’s journey that is emotional and raw. As the reader, you are connected to the character by sharing his life experiences with him to his ascension of becoming king. Hakon is a character that you can cheer for and relate to, making his trials and tribulations heartfelt.
If you do not know about this series yet, I would urge you to begin reading it as soon as possible! God’s Hammer will leave you wanting more, and luckily the next two books in Hakon’s Saga is available right now with Raven’s Feast and War King. Are you short on time? Listen to the audio version, read perfectly by Shaun Grindell.
God’s Hammer receives the highest praises from Going Viking with 5 out of 5 shields!
For more information about author, Eric Schumacher and the other books in Hakon’s Saga, visit his website: www.ericschumacher.net
You can also follow him on Twitter: @DarkAgeScribe
The All Father Paradox Review
If you’re a writer and you are trying to create your next big novel, what topics do you approach? Romance, fantasy, mystery, or action? Well, if you are first-time author Ian Sharpe, you take the ambitious path and do something that hasn’t been done before. What if, the Christianization of the Norse never happened? How does this affect history and present-day life? In this alternate reality, you see the way history is shaped from different time periods beginning in 782 and spanning to 2017. The story is masterfully crafted from start to finish providing good pacing, while giving the reader just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Let me just say that I have not been as invested in a novel for a long time, until I opened The All Father Paradox. The structure of the story is unique, allowing you to explore this new universe called the Vikingverse. Due to the authenticity of the names, to the places and how the characters speak gives you the sensation that you are truly living in this new reality. Multiple timelines in novels can be tricky to execute because one story may be exciting, while the other story may be a little lackluster. However, each timeline is important and interesting, and keeps you engaged in each. You get the privilege to meet well written out characters like Churchwarden Michaels, Botulfr, Askr, Ellisif, Olaf, Trumba, and many more. He uses his well-written characters to tell us about the world, without stating blunt facts. Everything rolls out organically because the settings act as an additional character to the story. You can see just how different the Vikingverse is to reality by the tour you get to explore throughout the story in different years, with different characters and different locations.
I appreciate how the author sprinkles nuggets throughout his story to give you the scope of the world he has molded. For example, I took a quote that resonated with me due to the in-depth details that have been laid out across The All Father Paradox and what it means for this universe in future stories.
“They certainly predate the dragon fossils unearthed across Midgard.”
Everything you thought you knew about reality is flipped on its head in this story, and it is slowly revealed in a brilliant way. This sentence right here provides you with how this world has changed and gives you insight into what type of reality that has become. You can look at this sentence without context and realize that this story is larger than you may have realized. This is just one example of world-building that is used. Details like this gave me goosebumps because I started to feel tiny in this new world. You can sense that the author has a bigger overall picture in mind on what he wants to do with this new reality and that alone is exciting to see what stories will be told.
You are witnessing the birth of an original long running series. To put it metaphorically, The All Father Paradox resembles the Yggdrasil, and its branches extend with mythology and wonder into all the worlds. If you are a fan of Norse mythology or Viking history, I highly recommend this book! I am fully invested in the Vikingverse and very excited to see what is in store for the sequel. Once you flip open the cover, be prepared to jump into a foreign world where anything is possible.
The All Father Paradox receives the highest praises from Going Viking with 5 out of 5 shields!
Did you finish The All Father Paradox? Are you craving more of the Vikingverse? Maybe, you need to grab your sword and shield and raid the bookstore now to grab a copy. Have no fear, the link to purchase Ian Sharpe’s book and contact information is below:
Thank you once again to Outland Entertainment in providing me a review sample. Thank you to Ian Sharpe for The All Father Paradox.