Series: Legends of Asgard #3
Release Date: September 21st 2021
Publisher: Aconyte Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at Cymera Festival
Rating: 4/5 stars
In The Serpent and the Dead, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, the fearsome Asgardian warrior entrusted with conveying worthy souls to the heroes’ afterlife, stalks a battlefield finding only empty husks. Yet the souls are not already in Valhalla, or the lesser afterworlds—they have vanished.
She enlists the aid of the valiant Lady Sif, and together they scour Asgard for answers. Rumors abound of towns being attacked by a horde of soldiers who cannot be killed. Someone is building an immortal army and stealing Asgardian souls… A worthy challenge for two of Asgard’s mightiest champions!
The Serpent and the Dead is the third prose novel in the LEGENDS OF ASGARD line, which is set in the legendary realm of Asgard and rich in Norse-inspired mythology, follows The Head of Mimir and The Sword of Surtur. These fantastical stories centering on Thor’s daring companions celebrate heroism, adventure, fate, honor, and myth, bringing their stories to the fore. Raise a flagon of ale and enjoy tales of the extraordinary exploits of heroes and heroines from the Ten Realms.
The Serpent and the Dead is a fun and fast paced fantasy tale that follows Lady Sif and the Valkyrie Brunnhilde as they embark on a quest to discover why some souls on the battlefield are disappearing before they can be escorted to Valhalla. When they two arrive at a small town they hear about attacks taking place from fearsome creatures that cannot be killed. Determined to uncover what is going on and rescue the missing souls, Lady Sif and Brunnhilde must use every ounce of their strength to uncover this evil enemy.
I must preface this review by saying I know next to nothing about the Marvel universe. I’ve seen the movies and that’s about as far as my knowledge goes. I picked this one up because Anna Stephens is one of my favourite authors and I will read anything she writes. For me, I was able to enjoy the story and get to know the characters without having much prior knowledge. This feels so different to the books I have come to expect from Stephens, but I nonetheless had an excellent time reading it. The book is well plotted, full of action with a really engaging story.
One of the things I enjoyed most about The Serpent and the Dead is the relationships. Lady Sif and Brunnhilde are really strong, complex characters and I loved seeing their friendship continue to grow even under such difficult circumstances, and when there were times they weren’t sure they could trust each other. There’s also an established couple in the story – Brunnhilde and Inge and it was interesting to see them attempt to protect and look after each other on such a perilous journey.
Overall The Serpent and the Dead is an engaging, action-packed read. Anna Stephens writes incredible battle scenes and there are lots of really epic moments in this story. If you’re a Marvel fan or you’re looking for a gripping fantasy tale steeped in Norse mythology, definitely check this one out.