This book was kindly sent to me by the lovely team at Gollancz in exchange for my honest review. This in no way my opinions on the book itself.
This book promises to blend magic, industry and revolution together in an intriguing mix. It certainly gained my curiousity as to what would unfold within this fantasy.
What followed was something novel and unique. This is the story of Garún, a rebel who is half-human, half-huldufólk and done with the prejudice that she experiences as a result. With a few others by her side, she has decided that it is time for lasting change and seeks to overthrow the corrupt city of Reykjavik. She wants to make sure that everyone is treated equally. Wrapped up in all of this is Sæmundur, often ridiculed as Sæmundur the Mad. He has been kicked out of the university for his experiments in sorcery and is life has slowly been unravelling since.
The two characters find themselves embroiled in dark sorcery, political deception and a desperate struggle for revolution. This was particularly engaging to me and I loved exploring the shadowy secrets of the city of Reykjavik. This city was intriguing and the perfect back drop for this story.
In fact, I loved Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson’s worldbuilding in Shadows of Short Days most of all. It was, in a word, epic. There was a fantastic blending of machinery, magic and strange forces that somehow also felt very modern. I could quite happily spend a lot of time in Reykjavik and the surrounding areas, devouring information on its history and mythology. I sincerely hope I will be lucky enough to do so at some point.
This is a complicated fantasy with lots of threads to tie together so it will require some concentration to fully enjoy it but trust me when I say it is worth it! The complexity is part of what makes it so wonderful and shows off Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson’s considerable talent as a fantasy writer.