Review: The Children of Gods and Fighting Men (#1) by Shauna Lawless

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

The first in a gripping new historical fantasy series that intertwines Irish mythology with real-life history, The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is the thrilling debut novel by Shauna Lawless.

They think they’ve killed the last of us…

981 AD. The Viking King of Dublin is dead. His young widow, Gormflaith, has ambitions for her son – and herself – but Ireland is a dangerous place and kings tend not to stay kings for long. Gormflaith also has a secret. She is one of the Fomorians, an immortal race who can do fire-magic. She has kept her powers hidden at all costs, for there are other immortals in this world – like the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of warriors who are sworn to kill Fomorians.

Fódla is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann with the gift of healing. Her kind dwell hidden in a fortress, forbidden to live amongst the mortals. agrees to help her kin by going to spy on Brian Boru, a powerful man who aims to be High King of Ireland. She finds a land on the brink of war – a war she is desperate to stop. However, preventing the loss of mortal lives is not easy with Ireland in turmoil and the Fomorians now on the rise…

Reviewers on The Children of Gods and Fighting Men:

Highlander meets The Last Kingdom in this assured and captivating debut… I was hooked from page one’ Anthony Ryan<br/> ‘Gripping and beautiful. A Celtic Last Kingdom with wild magic and fierce heroines’ Anna Smith Spark<br/> ‘A beguiling blend of fantasy, history, and politics. A gripping start to this series’ D.K. Fields<br/> ‘An epic historical fantasy that weaves myth and history into a sprawling tale of magic, intrigue, and war. Absorbing and richly detailed’ Ian Green<br/> ‘With all the complex political machinations of A Song of Ice and Fire and the bloody battles of The Warlord Chronicles, it’s ideal for fans of both’ Stephen Aryan

Review

Thank you to Shauna/Paige for giving me a review copy of this – this is my review!

The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is an apt title because it is the summary of the entire story that is written in this novel. A novel about two female protagonists that shape and influence the world of men around them, and that has to deal with a lot more difficulty. This is a story about motherhood and childbirth, immortality, and death. This is a story about the lives of young men and young men brought into a world where the competing Kings of Ireland fight amongst each other, trying to claim all of Ireland under their rule while having to deal with Viking intruders who will one day become a part of the Irish culture and its history.

It’s a good backdrop to explain the conflict between two mythological institutions, the Fomorians and the Tuatha that once ruled Ireland now have to compete with the growing influence of Christanity and the growing decline of the Norse Religion. Gormflaith has a tumultuous journey within this novel, trying to grow her influence, make allies, and court betrayal all the while trying to make her son Sitric, the King of Dublin. Yet the conflict between the Fomorians and the Tuatha comes to a full circle at one point. Then we have Fódla who is trying to prevent a war from happening, but in my opinion, both the Fomorians and the Tuatha have used humanity for their own misdeeds while claiming to be the superior race.

This book will make you emotional many times, and it did for me. There were points that reminded me of my own childhood, and how a mother’s love is the most powerful thing a child can ever have. From the day her child is born, she does not stop loving him or her. Or, that depends on the individual herself. Even a father’s love for his or her child is strong. This book is about parenthood, as much as it is about being gifted the gift of immortality vs those that do not have that very gift. It’s part Sandman, part Lord of the Rings, and part Irish mythology all bundled into one novel.

I really enjoyed this, yet I feel saddened at the same time. The cycle of war will not end until the world is grown anew. It’s a 10/10 from me!

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