Review: Gods of The Wyrdwood by RJ Barker





The northern regions of Crua are trapped in an unending winter, but according to prophecy, there will be a chosen child who will reign in the name of their God and bring warmth back from the South. Cahan du Nahere was brought up to be this chosen one, known as the Cowl-Rai, the savior. Taken away from his parents, he was groomed for his fate.

However, his time never arrived. At the age of fifteen, he became irrelevant. Another Cowl-Rai had emerged, a different chosen one, raised in the name of a different God. The grueling physical and mental training he had undergone, the sacrifices he had made, all went to waste. He was nothing.

Twenty years later, Cahan lives in secrecy on the fringes of Crua’s vast forests, concealing his identity and running from his abilities. But when he is compelled to reveal his true self, he sets in motion a chain of events that will uncover secrets capable of shaking the foundation of his world and exposing lies that have persisted for generations.


Gods of The Wyrdwood by RJ Barker is the first book of his Forsaken series and the author has invested considerable effort in constructing the world of Crua, featuring meticulous world-building and a compelling storyline. As much as I loved this fantastical world, oftentimes I found myself perplexed by the plethora of unique terms and jargon that were introduced without adequate explanation. Therefore my request to the author and the publisher is to include a glossary for this book which would make the reader’s life much easier.

I am no stranger to High/Epic Fantasy. I have fallen in love with many fantastic long high/epic fantasy series such as Mazalan Book of The Fallen, The Way of Kings, The Wheel of Time or The Black Company to name a few. I mention this because I don’t mind expansive books or thorough exposition, as it’s crucial in establishing a detailed fantasy world. However, while reading Gods of The Wyrdwood, I sensed that something was amiss. I am not even sure whether it was the terminologies, the names of places, gods or people, I felt kind of underwhelmed and most of the time frustrated reading the first half of the book. I think it was because, although the family system was really unique, it was never explained well and I had to spend time reading back and forth trying to figure out the hierarchy of military/religious/political statuses of characters. There were a lot of fantastical creatures and animals that were never described properly. Some were and others were left to reader’s imagination.

Unless I read the Goodreads book blurb I don’t think I would have ever guessed Cahan’s age and please take note in the Goodreads blurb his name is mentioned as ‘Cahal’ but in the book it is Cahan. In the Netgally Udinny is mentioned mentioned as a front runner but her character is revealed only in the second half of the book. I was very confused and was wondering who this character was or whether she was mentioned by mistake in the blurb while I was reading the first half of the book.

The plot was beautifully crafted and the author’s writing style was excellent. Cahan, Kirven, Venn and Udinny were great characters. However for some inexplicable reason I felt it was like a chore to pick up this book once I put it down after a reading session and at times I thought of simply not finishing the book too. I begrudgingly trudged through simply because I was intrigued by the plot and wanted to see how the character arcs progressed.

Gods of The Wyrdwood has a lot of potential going forward. I just would like to see adequate explanations for novel terminologies/animals and such.

Book Cover:

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