Review: The Hills of Home by T.L. Greylock

Shieldy McShieldface

I liked the first book in this series so much that I ended up making a Skyrim character named after one of its characters and went ahead and played that for like 3 or 4 more months than I was planning to.

The issue around getting to this volume revolved around taking on so many review requests in between book 1 and this one that I couldn’t get to it until now.

Well, we’re at now, now, so here we are.

A frozen lake raged with fire. The Valkyries descended from the stars, shattering the swords and minds of men. And two kings survived the battle of the burning lake. The war for Midgard will carry on. But a war on a much greater scale preys on Raef Skallagrim’s mind. 

The rule of the gods is unraveling and soon the giants will unleash their long-festering wrath. Raef, haunted still by the unknown face of his father’s murderer, has forsaken his alliance with Brandulf Hammerling, broken his oath, and looks toward home and his father’s hall. He cannot turn back the shadow of oblivion that will soon descend on the nine realms, but he can find justice for his father before the end. 

But Raef’s journey back to Vannheim is interrupted by unseen hands and he is set on a course that will threaten his home and test his will to survive. 

And yet his own life will matter little if the gods take everything from him.

“Loki’s children are all monsters. He would never father something so common as a man.”

“If you say so,” Vakre said.

Ahhhh Norse mythology. I love you so. <3<3<3<3

This book takes place shortly after the last. Raef and his companions are on their way back to Vannheim after the events of the first book. Raef starts this adventure out by being an idiot, and jumping into a lake in winter in vaguely-somewhere-in-Scandinavia fully clothed in pursuit of some bootay. Well, instead of bootay (and also somehow skirting hypothermia), he gets himself kidnapped, sedated heavily, and sent adrift on the sea. When he bumps up on shore, he finds himself in a strange place. Upon meeting one of the locals, who rides on a dragon-like-but-not-actually-a-dragon creature, he asks where the hell he is at.

Alfheim. Oh. Okay then.

As I said, I really like Norse mythology, so getting to explore more of the nine worlds than just Midgard was pretty awesome here. We meet some of the alfar, the light elves, and find that there is a bit of a rebellion brewing between the Guardians (the leaders) and those who don’t like those leaders. Raef agrees to help, as the leader of the rebellion has agreed to help him travel back to Midgard.

And there was much rejoicing, and shenanigans. Except he doesn’t get to Midgard after all… he goes somewhere else. Somewhere much worse. So, there’s a little bit of Norse world hopping here, and I was totally okay with it. But he does eventually make it to the hills of home, as one would expect. And once he gets there, it’s time to defend Vannheim from pretty much all the asshole neighbors one could possibly imagine (and I have asshole neighbors on all sides, so I can imagine a lot).

Vakre will always be my favorite character in this series, but I’ll admit that I started liking Raef more and more as this book went on, and it’s not only because Vakre is largely absent from this volume until the last 1/3 or so. Raef sometimes makes some poor AF decisions, but he has the best in mind, and I suppose that has to count for something. He grew as a character in book one, but I found that he grew on me in book two, so that was nice. This series is full of characters that I want to like, but I can never quite trust anyone that isn’t Raef, Vakre, or Siv. That said, things came to pass in this volume that made me quite happy, and then other things came to pass that were goddamned infuriating. I’m hoping for the best resolution to these things. The ending left me wanting more more more.

Just as well written as the first volume, with lovely prose, and fantastic characters that I can’t help but root for. I think it might even be time to dust off Skyrim again… 😀

Vakre is a sneaky bastard. He also has a mod so that Kristen can perform headshots properly in Skyrim’s otherwise-kind-of-awful third person mode. 😀

Well, I quite enjoyed this one, perhaps even a smidge or two more than book one, and I’m going to try really, really hard not to let 6 months go by in between this one and the final book in the trilogy, because I want to find out how this all ends! I’m going to bet that it ends with something that starts with R and rhymes with Bagnarok. 😀


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