The Serpent & The Dead
A Marvel: Legends of Asgard Novel
by Anna Stephens
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 28 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 13 Aug 2021
Aconyte Books, Aconyte
In the midst of a bloody conflict, Lady Sif, the valiant Asgardian warrior, watches her close friend die in glorious battle – but her soul is not taken to the eternal halls of Valhalla. Furious and petrified that the afterlife for her and all Asgardians is in peril, she enlists the aid of Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, the fearsome warrior entrusted with conveying worthy souls to the heroes’ afterlife. 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!
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Average rating from 28 members
You had me at Lady Sif and Brunnhilde the Valkyrie. As Stan Lee would say,”‘Nuff said!” In case you’re not so easily convinced, The Serpent and the Dead is an epic story of Lady Sif and Brunnhilde fighting Asgardian zombies. They’re not really zombies, but that’s a technicality left for the book to explain. As a fan of Sif, and someone still upset that the Journey Into Mystery series was canceled after the turn in focus on Sif, I had to read this book. As I started reading the book, I became pretty excited, because it was a blend of the old Norse myths with Marvel versions of the characters in a way Marvel doesn’t usually adhere to. Marvel tends to play fast and loose with the source material (Norse mythology, of course), and that’s fair, given how long Thor comics have been around, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I love a good Thor comic-especially the Walter Simonson run from the 80s. I do enjoy the Norse myths as well, having done much reading on the subject. The Serpent and the Dead gives a very grounded version of the characters. It has a lot of reference to parts of the myths, instead of being straight up Marvel fanfare. It’s great for someone who isn’t very familiar with the myths, and that basis for these Marvel characters. That being said, since these characters are Marvel characters in this book, I’m rather disappointed that the Valkyrie of this novel wasn’t the Valkyrie of the Thor: Ragnarok movie. I think it’s a missed opportunity, in my opinion. I thought the story was quite interesting and good, though parts of the story dragged on a bit for me. Again, this is a great story for someone who isn’t familiar with the stories, either the myths or the Marvel comics. There’s a lot of groundwork that the book lays out, but as someone who already knows the stories, I couldn’t help but be eager to get to the heart of the action. I did like that the novel subverted expectations a bit with the villain of the story. I was pleasantly surprised with the decision on that one, and that made the last 20% of the book extra interesting to me. I was also glad there was no men to save the day at the end. The book stayed Sif and Brunnhilde-centric, and I appreciate that. It would have been so easy to have Thor show up and save the day, but the story didn’t do that. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed The Serpent and the Dead, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an epic female-led fantasy adventure, even if you’ve never read a Marvel comic before. Thanks to NetGalley and Aconyte Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. About Marvel Entertainment Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media. For more information visit marvel.com. © 2020 MARVEL
I was really excited when I got the approval from #aconytebooks on #netgalley I love the Marvel movies, the Thor movies being some of my favourites. This story by @annasmithwrites did not disappoint! I am a sucker for a good battle filled fantasy and that is exactly what I got! The Serpent and the Dead pulled me in from the very beginning with its fast pacing and its intense action! The battle scenes were so well written, with great suspense building, that you could easily lose yourself in the writing and believe yourself to be a part of the fray! I found the characters immensely likeable and I loved the friendship strength building between Sif an Brunnhilde. I loved Inge's character and how she was so balanced even when surrounded by two stubborn hot heads! The individual relationships between the 3 badass heroines were all amazing and so much fun to follow. There was a great build up of history placed appropriately through the story's progress so it didn't feel like you were missing any details but also didn't feel overwhelmed being hit with the characters entire back stories before the book got going. All this made it an easy and highly entertaining read! One which I would definitely recommend to any Marvel fan or fan of action packed, peril filled adventures! The US paperback and global ebook is due to be published on Aug 3rd and the UK paperback is coming Oct 14th! Anna has a fantastic writing style that I thoroughly enjoyed and I'm now looking forward to seeking out and reading her Godblind series with high hopes! Once again thank you to @aconytebooks and @netgalley for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. About Marvel Entertainment Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media. For more information visit marvel.com. © 2020 MARVEL
I want to start by thanking Aconyte and Netgallery for kindly approving me for an Advanced Reader Copy of this title via in exchange for an honest review. I want to add that only four chapters in I ordered a physical copy as well. Anna Stephens has worked wonders at weaving together source material from the Marvel mythos and actually Norse Myth, tied perfectly together with her amazing knack for storytelling. I found the story engaging and enjoyable, so much so that I could hardly put it down! I don’t want to spoil the plot but I will say the characterisation was fantastic, Stephens makes the characters her own while keeping true to some of their main “standard" traits. The relationships, platonic and romantic, felt to build genuinely and never seemed forced or there just because. Each character was given chance to shine throughout as well with no one seeming to take favour. In short this book contains everything I love; strong female characters, an adorable relationship, friendship, magic, and battles. I would highly recommend for any fan of marvel, norse mythology or just a good fantasy with a strong female cast!
The Legends of Asgard novels have been a ton of fun; focusing on the more fantastical element of the Marvel Universe, where gods fight monsters and travel to different realms, they've read more as mythological fantasy than super hero books, and as such have really stood out against other Marvel prose novels. The third entry in this series sees the return of Lady Sif, who we followed in The Head of Mimir, who teams up with the Valkyrie Brunnhilde to find out who's been stealing the souls of the honoured dead of Asgard. Whilst battling forces encroaching on the borders of Asgard Sif sees one of her friends fall in battle. This is something that causes her grief, but she also knows that her friend will receive a heroes place in the afterlife, getting to go to Valhalla, so when the Valkyrie Brunnhilde tells her that her soul was snatched away before it could be escorted to the afterlife Sif in enraged. Determined to discover who is behind this awful crime, Sif asks Thor to allow her to investigate. He agrees, but insists that Brunnhilde must accompany her on her quest. Together with Inge, Brunnhilde's lover, they head to the very borders of Asgard, prepared to travel into the realms beyond in their search for answers. However, upon reaching one of the border towns they discover their task might be even more complicated than they first thought, as the three women learn that creatures called Deathless, hulking, unkillable monstrosities, have been invading the realm. Now Sif and Brunnhilde must fight through this army of monsters into the frozen wastes of Jotunheim in order to find out who's behind it. Are Sif's suspicions correct, is this the latest plot by the trickers god Loki? Or is there something much darker at play behind the scenes? One of the things that immediately felt different about this book to the other entries in the Legends of Asgard series is that the nature of the quest felt very different. In the first book, The Head of Mimir, Sif and Heimdal were setting out to clear their name after it looked like they'd betrayed their kingdom; and in The Sword of Surtur Tyr was engaging in his own quest to make himself a hero. Both of these stories saw our heroes working outside their regular bounds, one with them being fugitives, the other with is being a secret, unsanctioned mission. This time Sif and Brunnhilde are sent out on their quest by the rulers of Asgard, in a mission that is for the benefit of the entire realm. This simple change alters the entire feel of the story, and whilst the two of them do do a lot of sneaking around, like in the other books, this is only a small part of the story. It opens the scope of the book somewhat, and feels more like the stories we hear of knights and brave warriors being sent out on quests by their kings. The other big change that this book sees over the other two in the series is that the core cast is all female. Whilst this doesn't make too much of a difference on a surface inspection, the women of Asgard being just as brave and capable warriors as the men, it's in the small moments where we get to see how this plays out differently. There are moments where Sif and Bunnhilde's minds are being manipulated by their enemy, where they're being made to feel emotions that aren't their own. Instead of being stoic and keeping their feelings beneath the surface they admit to each other that they're frightened, that their emotions are all over the place. They discuss how their feelings aren't right, and this helps the two of them to watch each other's backs and overcome this magic. They admit that the men they know wouldn't be so open, and this shows how in this case an all female team actually ends up being the best thing for this situation. The story also has some great queer representation as Brunnhilde's partner is another woman, a shield maiden names Inge, and it's never once commented upon. Nothing is made of this same sex relationship by any of the other characters. There's no scene of them being looked down upon for loving another woman, and none of the issues or worries that queer people in the real world face are present here. Their relationship is treated as no different from a heterosexual one, and it's wonderful. This is how all relationships should be treated, but it's especially delightful to see it for a queer one. The Serpent and The Dead is also a comic book novel too, so it is of course packed with action sequences as our two warrior leads battle against hordes of enemies in their quest to bring this evil to an end. These moments are spaced throughout the book pretty well, and there's a good balance between the quiet, character driven scenes and the moments where Sif and Bunnhilde are battling for their lives. Overall this proves to be a great addition to the ever expanding roster of Marvel prose novels that Aconyte Books are producing, and might be my favourite of the Legends of Asgard line so far. The story is interesting and grand in scope, yet manages to stay focused on these two warriors and keeps the focus on their journey and the trials that they go through. An ideal read for any Marvel fan, and anyone who likes stories with powerful female leads.
I enjoyed this book as a separate entity. There was no explanation of how it fit into the MCU or if it is part of the MCU. I did enjoy the feminist vibe, Lady Sif and The Valkyrie didn’t need help from any man and that was great to read. #Marvel #MarvelEnt #Aconytebooks #review this book was given to me for an honest review. About Marvel Entertainment Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.
When Brunnhilde (aka Valkyrie first appeared) in the MCU, I thought she and Sif would get along well. But sadly, we didn't get to see them interact on screen. But this book filled that deficit. From the start to the finish, I was completely hooked. The story was written so fantastically fell that I easily fell in love with it. Plus I wanted to read an action packed adventure and this book was the perfect fit for that. It's an exciting read and I highly recommend it
Asgardians. Valkyries. Formidable ladies. Action packed. I'm sold. I enjoyed this book a lot! The plot is intriguing and we got to see more Sif, who is only appear for limited time in any Marvel Thor movies. I also love how this book explored more of the Asgardian world and lore! The fighting scenes keep me up on my toes. Such delightful, fast-pacing read! << Review copy received from Aconyte Books via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. Thank you! >>