The Witch’s Heart

Ace: Berkley. Feb. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780593099940. $26. FANTASY
DEBUT At the beginning of the world, the Norse god Odin seeks to know how it will end. He finds a witch, Angrboda, who refuses to tell him and, as punishment, he burns her to death three times and takes her heart. Recovering, Angrboda manages to make a life for herself in the Ironwood, a place empty of all people. Loki, the trickster god, finds her and returns her heart to her. Eventually, Angrboda and Loki fall in love, marry, and have three children: Hel (who will become the mistress of hell), Fenrir (a great wolf), and Jormungund (a serpent). Angrboda knows through her visions that all three, and Loki too, will be present at Ragnarok, the Norse end of the world. She does her best to protect them until Loki’s other wife discovers Ironwood too.
VERDICT Angrboda’s love for her children shines passionately through this tale. A retelling of the Norse legend from the viewpoint of a woman often left in the margins, this book deserves to be a classic. For readers of Madeline Miller’s Circe and the Marvel version of Loki.
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