Book Review -- Hammer of Thor

Title: Hammer of Thor
Author: S. Evan Townsend
Genre: Urban fantasy/historical fantasy
Pages: Oversize paperback, 376
Published: 2011
Opening Lines: "I stood erect despite my fatigue, sweat forming a puddle in the small of my back, running down into my eyes, beading on my arms. I was breathing hard, sucking in the cool air, and grinning from ear to ear."

"They live among us. We know they are there. No government can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and used talismans to increase their power? The most powerful talisman in the world is The Hammer of Thor and Hitler stole it from its rightful owners, the Valkyrie. When American adept Francis Kader is reluctantly drawn into the effort to retrieve the Hammer from the Nazis, he begins a journey that leads him to a confrontation with Thor himself. Can a mere human hope to defeat an immortal god?
~ Jacket copy

Thoughts: I keep coming back to this trying to compose my thoughts, but everything is just jumbled. I guess, to start, I don't like Kader. While it seems to be his character -- and maybe the author's attempt to show the adepts feelings towards "lesssers" -- I found Kader to be extremely arrogant, an unsympathetic character, and an asshole. If the author really was trying to show the contempt adepts felt towards "lessers," I think he did an excellent job in Kader. That being said, Kader is a very strong character, well thought- and fleshed-out, and realistic. Even though I found him to be unsympathetic, I could easily see him a a real person. Of course, the rich landscape of the book also helped with this.

I don't know much about 1930s, 40s, or 50s San Francisco, England, France, Korea, Japan, Iceland, or Norway, but it was evident that the author did his research! He was able to paint a very rich picture of the landscape, culture, and the turbulent times.

The concept of adepts and the originals coming from Atlantis was a very neat idea! However, I wish he would have spent a little more time exploring that. In addition, the use of talismans to enhance pre-existing talent is something I really haven't seen before. The concept that an object, given enough time and proper stimulation, could become a talisman really made it more interesting. I liked the fact that Kader's letter from Meyoung held the potential to become a talisman.

The thing that caught me was the author's knowledge of Japanese. I studied Japanese as my foreign language at the University, so I was happy to see that the author appeared to take the time to understand the language and culture. I especially liked how he showed the Yakuza. I caught myself smiling when the Japanese lady said, "biiru"! It brought back fond memories of silly times in my class!

My biggest problem with the book is that it felt as though it just drug on. While I really enjoyed the story, at times I felt really bogged down in the details. However, since the book spans many years, that could contribute to the boggy feeling. Further, with a name like Hammer of Thor, I was sad that he didn't play a bigger role in the book. I found myself frustrated that he doesn't enter until about page 340 or so. Having a little more Nazi Germany would have also added another element to the book. Since the Nazi regime under Hitler has long since been known for their interest in the mystical, it would have been nice to see this side of the novel fleshed out. Even though I was bogged down in the details, I also felt like the book rushed through a lot of things. In some ways, the name and swastika on the front of the book is almost a misnomer.

That being said, I did enjoy the book. The author definitely spent a lot of time writing the book, fleshing out Kader, and the spaces where the book takes place. It is apparent that this is the author's first book, and I am very curious to see where he goes with the series and how he matures as an author.

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory and Ghost Trackers by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson
Current Pages: 22318
Current Progress:

62/50 books

Interview with author S. Evan Townsend

1. How did you start writing?
I can't remember a time I didn't want to be a writer except maybe when I was five and wanted to be a fireman. I started writing when I was 12 and taught myself to type (on a typewriter) using my sister's typing manual from school. I've been writing ever since so that's going on 40 years.

2. What was the inspiration behind the novel?
Hammer of Thor had a complicated beginning. I'd written a short story set in the near future with fantasy elements in it (something I'd never done before). It was there I developed the "adept" universe. It was about a wizard (or as I call them, "adept") who uses technology to fool another wizard. And I remember I was doing my two-mile walk and was thinking about World War II and I suddenly had the idea of putting these adepts into World War II. How would they handle the threat of fascism? And the story grew from there into a full-blown novel that covers 18 years from the early Depression to the Korean War.

3. I've always been interested in Nazi Germany and Norse mythology, so this was a clever mix. Why did you decide to tackles these two beasts in one book?
You never know when inspiration is going to come. Originally the book was going to be about World War II alone and that brought in the Nazis (First outlines it was going to be the Japanese but I found information about Nazis easier to come by than about Imperial Japan). But when I started writing Kader’s history (as I do when I develop major characters) I thought, “This would make a good beginnings of a story” and decided to add it to Hammer of Thor and decided on an ending. When I decided to bring the Valkyrie into the novel, that dipped my toe into Norse mythology. And it sort of snow-balled from there. As I did research on Norse mythology, I decided to have a Norse god as Kader’s ultimate enemy.

4. How much research did you have to do in order to prepare yourself to write this book?
A lot. I read a book on Norse mythology, a book on the Korean war, two books (fiction) about Korea during the Japanese colonial days, a book on Korean history (I was just going to read the parts pertaining to this novel but found it so interesting I read the whole thing), and did a lot of internet searches on the Nazis and mysticism. I’ve also, thanks to my father, have seen every World War II movie ever made. I found an oral history from a B-24 crewmember and that help describe Kader’s trip to England. I talked to a cousin of my father who was stationed in Japan during the Korean War and he gave me ideas for those scenes.

5. What was your favorite part of the book?
My favorite part of the book is the air chase over a fog-enshrouded San Francisco in Chapter Sixteen. It was a challenge to write because I didn’t know what buildings would stick out of the fog. I found a website that listed buildings’ age and height so I figured out which ones would have been around in 1943. But San Francisco is hilly so I had to find out what elevation the buildings’ bases were at. I found a topographical map of downtown San Francisco and used it to figure out the elevation and added in the height of the building to get the height of it over sea level (I used a spreadsheet to keep it all straight). Then I knew which buildings would protrude from the fog bank and where approximately they were. I used that information in writing the scene. The reader probably doesn’t know how much work I put into trying to make that scene accurate, but I think it paid off. Plus it’s was just a fun scene to write with lots of action. Where else to you get to write about a chase between a woman on a big black bird and a man on a flying carpet over a modern city?

6. What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The climax. It took me six months to come up with the climactic scene. Usually when I can’t write a scene, it’s because subconsciously I know there’s something wrong with it. Then I realized what the problem was: my protagonist was going to stand by and watch it happen. When I figured out how to make him part of the action, it finally worked for me. But still, I’d set him up with an almost insurmountable task. When I came up with the solution, I was finally able to finish the scene. The other difficult scene for me to write (but for other reasons) was the love scene in Chapter One. I wanted it to be sweet but not trite. I’m not sure I accomplished that.

7. What did you wish was different about the book?
I wish I could have traveled to Iceland to get it absolutely accurate. I had to use the internet and magazine articles to get the feeling of Iceland. One thing I’m torn about in the book is because it’s set in the first half of the 20th century, it’s not very politically correct. The language and the prejudices of the characters, including the hero, might grate on modern sensibilities. But I decided to be accurate with language and attitudes.

8. What are your favorite authors/books? How did they inspire you to become a writer?
My favorite author is Robert Heinlein. He was primarily a science fiction writer but did write some fantasy. When I first read his books (and I inhaled them in about a three year period, only slowed by not being able to find them), I thought, “If I could only write this well.” It became my goal to try and write as well as Heinlein (I’m sure I don’t, still). I read that he would type out his manuscript once (he did most of his writing before computers), go through it and slash out what he thought was unneeded, type it up again, and send it to the publisher. Think about that. It had to be spelled correctly, punctuated correctly, and have no typos. All that plus they were invariably great stories. His novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is still my favorite. My other favorite write if Poul Anderson. He was more varied and prolific than Heinlein. I’m still trying to get through his oeuvre. His Flandry stories and novels are great fun escapism but still intelligently written. Reading great writers inspires me to write and become a better writer. Sort of like a runner beating a personal best because he was trying to keep up with a faster rival.

9. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’ve always admired George Washington. In reading biographies of him, you find out he was not only a brilliant soldier, statesman, and politician, but he loved a good joke and was quite flirtatious with the women who were happy to chat with a national hero. We all have this idea he was rather dour because of his portraits. But his artificial teeth were probably killing him (they weren’t wood, by the way). I think it would be fascinating to talk with him about the Revolution and the formation of the country.

10. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Never give up. I’ve been trying to get published since I was in my 20s. I’m now 51 and a published author. As someone said, “What do you call a writer who never gives up? Published.” And while writing is a solitary, introverted activity, be sure to keep up with your friends and your friends’ friends, and co-workers and anyone else. You never know who might know someone. But perseverance will separate you from the herd.


No comments:

Post a Comment

I comment in the thread. Please subscribe to receive my comments and the things other awesome people have to say ^_^



'70s (1) '80s (1) '90s (1) 1 skull (7) 100 followers giveaway (2) 14 (1) 1980's horror (1) 2 skulls (21) 2011 in review (1) 2012 (1) 3 skulls (29) 3 stars (1) 4 skulls (33) 4 stars (1) 5 skulls (50) 5 stars (1) 50 books in 2011 (1) 5skulls (1) 80s nostalgia (1) a court of mist and fury (1) a court of thorns and roses (1) a local habitation (1) a perfect blood (1) a rush of wings (1) abuse (1) adam nevill (1) adam neville (1) adrian phoenix (2) adults only (3) after the ending (1) alice's adventures in wonderland (1) alien invasion (1) alien invation (1) aliens (3) aliens: earth hive (1) ally condie (2) alma katsu (1) amanda ashby (1) amy lukavics (2) anastasia (1) andrea cremer (1) ania ahlborn (3) annie walls (1) antarctica (1) antebellum (1) anthology (1) apocalypse (2) apocalypse watch 2012 (9) arc (2) ashfall (1) audio book (8) author interview (3) autobiography (1) award (3) bag of bones (1) batman (1) bdsm (5) beast fable (1) beautiful creatures (1) beautiful darkness (1) beauty and the beast (2) becca fitzpatrick (1) bentley little (1) best of 2011 (1) bethany griffin (1) beverly kills (1) biography (1) bird box (1) bisexuality (1) bite club (1) black magic sanction (1) blog award (1) blog layouts (1) blogoversary (2) blood rights (1) blood rights vampires kristen painter (1) blood rites (1) bloodfever (1) bloody mary (1) bob marley (1) Book Beginnings (2) book blogger hop (5) book challenge (7) book club (1) book review (146) book review suzanne collins (5) book review urban fantasy (2) book reviw (1) book tour (6) brenna yovanoff (1) brian asman (1) brian keene (1) brother (1) bullet for my valentine (1) business (1) c.e. murphy (1) caitlin r. kiernan (1) cameron dokey (1) cameron roubique (1) campy horror (2) Candace Welsh (1) cannibalism (1) carrie ryan (3) carrie vaughn (2) catching fire (1) catholic (1) catriona ward (1) cenobites (1) censorship (1) charlaine harris (2) charlene teglia (1) charlie higson (1) cherie feather (1) cherokee nattion (1) Chic and Sassy Designs (1) children of paranoia (1) china (1) chivalry (1) chris wooding (1) christopher moore (1) cinder (1) cinderella (2) civil war (1) claimed by the wolf (1) claire thompson (1) classics (3) clive barker (1) cold (1) comedic horror (3) comfort food (1) comfort foods (1) comic (2) coming of age (1) commenting (1) contagious (1) contemporary (3) conversation (1) cooking (1) courtly lover (1) Courtney Crumin and the Night Things (1) courtney summers (1) coyote (1) coyote blue (1) craig johnson (1) crime fiction (1) crime thriller (1) crossed (1) crossover (1) crow (1) cuckoo song (1) cyborg (1) D/s (1) dan wells (1) dana fredsti (1) Daniel Volpe (1) dante (1) dare (1) dark fantasy (2) darkfever (1) dathan auerbach (1) daughter of smoke and bone (1) daughters unto devils (1) David Clement-Davies (1) david hahn (1) david oliver relin (1) david tischman (1) days of blood & starlight (1) dd barant (1) dead (1) dead beat (1) dead light (1) dead on the delta (1) dead until dark (1) deadly night (1) dean koontz (2) dearly departed (1) death masks (1) deliverance (1) demon hunts (2) demon possession (2) demonic (1) demons (3) devil (1) diana rowland (3) DID (1) dirty little secret (1) disaster (1) disco deathtrap (1) discount armageddon (1) discussion (1) disliking a book (1) disqus (1) DMC: Devil May Cry (1) DNF (1) dnf skull (2) dreamfever (1) dresden files (3) duncan ralston (1) dust and decay (1) dying bites (1) dystopian fiction (7) e-book (1) e.l. james (3) eat slay love (1) edgar allan poe (1) education (1) elissa wall (1) elizabeth reuter (1) ellen potter (1) Emily Lloyd-Jones (1) England (1) erin a craig (1) ernest cline (1) erotica (10) even white trash zombies get the blues (1) exorcism (1) extreme horror (1) f. paul wilson (1) fae (6) faefever (1) faeries (2) fahrenheit 451 (1) fairies (1) fairy tales (3) fantasy (5) feed (1) female protagonist (1) fiction (8) fiction with zombies (5) fifty shades darker (1) fifty shades freed (1) fifty shades of grey (1) fighting to survive (1) film tie-in (1) final girls (1) fire baptized (1) first days (1) first days: as the world dies (1) flds (1) flesh and bone (1) follow friday (36) following (1) fool moon (1) Fragile (1) frances hardinge (1) FrankenDom (1) frostbitten (1) frozen (1) funny (1) furiously happy (1) gabriel's inferno (1) gabriel's rapture (1) game reboot (1) gargoyle (1) garth ennis (1) garth nix (1) geek (1) georgina kincaid (1) gerald's game (1) gfc (1) ghost hunters (1) ghost shadow (1) ghost story (4) ghost trackers (1) ghost walk (1) ghostland (1) ghosts (1) giveaway (7) godsmack (1) google reader (1) gothic (3) government (1) Grady Hendrix (3) grant wilson (1) graphic novel (8) grave peril (1) graveminder (1) greg mortenson (1) grim (1) guest post (3) gypsies tramps and thieves (1) halfway to the grave (1) Halloween (1) hammer of thor (1) haunted asylum (1) haunted house (4) heather blake (1) heather graham (2) Heather Morris (1) heavy metal (1) hellraiser (1) henry james (1) high school (1) hillybilly (1) historical (1) historical fiction (4) history (3) holiday (1) Holocaust (2) home before dark (1) horns (1) horror (37) horror/urban fantasy reading challenge (12) horror/urban fantasy reaing challenge (1) horrorstör (1) howard chaykin (1) humor (1) hush hush (2) IKEA (1) imm (1) in my mailbox (1) in the blood (1) infected (1) internet blackout (1) irresistibly sweet blog award (1) isaac marion (1) islam (1) isolation (1) it takes a witch (1) jane was here (1) jason hawes (1) jaye wells (1) jeaniene frost (6) jeff hirsch (1) jeffery deaver (1) jennifer blood (1) jenny lawson (1) jesse petersen (3) jim butcher (10) jodi lynn anderson (1) joe hill (2) jonathan maberry (3) joseph spencer (2) josh malerman (1) jrr tolkien (1) juneau (1) k (1) kami garcia (2) karen marie moning (5) kate williams (1) Katherine howe (1) katie alender (1) kelley armstrong (1) kenya wright (1) key west (1) kim harrison (3) kindle (1) kitty and the dead man's hand (1) kitty and the silver bullet (1) kitty thomas (1) kresley cole (1) l. frank baum (1) laini taylor (2) Lale Sokolov (1) late night (7) Laura André (1) Lazy Sunday (1) leaving (1) lee hunt (1) lee roland (1) lesbian (2) lia habel (1) liebster blog award (1) liesel hill (2) limerick (1) Lisa Unger (1) lit rpg (1) little red riding hood (1) living dead in dallas (1) lolita (1) longmire (1) lost and forgotten languages of shanghai (1) lovecraftian (1) madeline sheehan (1) mages (1) magic (1) malice (1) man fuck this house (1) margaret stohl (2) marilyn mason (1) marissa meyer (1) mark of the demon (1) married with zombies (1) masque of the red death (1) matched (1) matched series (1) matt baglio (1) matt shaw (1) MC (1) Melissa Marr (1) mental illness (2) meteor (1) Michael Vey the Prisoner of Cell 25 (1) middle east (1) midnight blue-light special (1) mike mullin (1) mike pace (1) mira grant (1) Mockingjay (1) monstrumology (1) monthly wrap-up (2) moon called (1) motorcycle (1) movie casting (1) movie review (1) muisc (1) my book boyfriend (3) my life as a white trash zombie (1) my wishlist saturday (1) mystery (11) mythology (2) naomi novik (1) native americans (1) nazi germany (1) necromancy (1) neil gaiman (3) nerd (1) new adult (2) new blog (1) new orleans (1) new year (1) night huntress series (1) nightlife (1) nightshade (1) non-fiction (4) nos4a2 (1) nyc (1) old kingdom series (1) on my wishlist (1) one grave at a time (1) opinion (1) order of the gash (1) pakistan (1) pale demon (1) parallel dimensions (1) paranormal (2) paranormal romance (11) partials (1) pass slowly (1) patricia briggs (2) paul kane (1) percy jackson (1) persistence of vision (2) peter clines (1) peter straub (3) philippa gregory (1) pinterest (1) plague town (1) podcast (2) podiobook (1) poison princess (1) police (1) political thriller (1) post-apocalyptic (10) post-WWI (1) promo (2) promo blitz (3) proven guilty (1) PSA (1) puppy (1) quote (1) r (1) R.A.K. (1) rachel morgan (1) random acts of kindess (1) ravenhurst (1) ray bradbury (1) ray chen smith (1) re-read (1) reading challenge (2) ready player one (1) red-headed stepchild (1) resident evil 6 (1) retelling (6) retellings (3) review (7) rhiannon frater (3) richard paul evans. 3 skulls (1) richelle mead (3) rick riordan (1) rick yancey (3) riley sager (1) rob thurman (1) robbie dorman (1) Robin L Rotham (1) rockabilly (1) romance (2) rosamund hodge (1) rosemary and rue (1) ruiyan xu (1) rumpelstiltskin (1) rusty fiischer (1) ryan c. thomas (1) s. evan townsend (1) s.g. browne (1) salem witch trials (1) sandman (1) sara gruen (1) sarah j maas (2) sarah kernochan (1) schools (1) sci-fi (7) scott sigler (2) sean mcdonough (1) seanan mcguire (4) seether (1) serial killer (1) sexuality (1) shadowfever (1) shaman (1) Shawn Sarles (1) sherlock holmes (1) sight (1) silk (1) simon holt (1) sinnful 2¢ (3) slasher (4) slasher horror (2) slavery (1) slippage (1) smallpox (1) song (1) SOPA (1) Soulstice (1) soundtrack (1) speculative fiction (1) spinning silver (1) stacey jay (1) stacking the shelves (1) stalker (1) steampunk (2) stephanie meyer (1) stephen ayers (1) stephen king (3) Stephen King project (1) steve perry (1) stolen innocence (1) stop online piracy act (1) storm born (1) stylish blogger award (1) submission (1) succubus blues (1) succubus on top (1) summer knight (1) summer reads (1) supernatural (1) supernatural suspense (1) susan beth pfeffer (3) susanne winnacker (1) suspense (3) sylvian reynard (2) T (1) taking on the dead (1) tami jackson (1) TAPS (1) TBR pile (1) tears don't fall (1) teaser tuesday (39) technical difficulties (3) ted naifeh (1) texas chainsaw massacre (1) the auction (1) the babysitters coven (1) The Bone Collector (1) the car thief (1) the cold dish (1) the dark and hollow places (2) the dead and the gone (1) the dead girls of hysteria hall (1) the dead-tossed waves (2) the demon of renaissance drive (1) the divine comedy (1) the donner party (1) the eleventh plague (1) the enemy (1) the forest of hands and teeth (2) the game (1) the haunted (1) the hobbit (1) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (1) the house of salt and sorrows (1) the hunger (1) the hunger games (2) the isle of blood (1) the jazz cage (1) the kneebone boy (1) the lady of the rivers (1) the last house on needless street (1) the monstrumologist (1) the other life (1) the physick book of deliverance dane (1) the replacement (1) the rite: the making of a modern exorcist (1) the sandman (1) the sight (1) the summer i died (1) the taba convention (1) the taken (1) the talisman (1) the tomb (1) the vampire of new york (1) the women in the walls (1) the wonderful wizard of oz (1) theme song saturday (65) Theme Thursday (15) theodore weesner (1) theories (1) this is not a test (1) this world we live in (1) three little birds (1) thriller (6) tiger lily (1) toby venables (1) tomb raider 2013 (1) tomes of the dead: viking dead (1) top ten tuesday (1) trevor shane (1) trickster god (1) truth or dare friday (2) twilight (2) undead (1) undeniable (1) underneath (1) unrate (1) update (6) updates (1) urban fantasy (54) vacation (1) valentine's day (1) vampires (10) vanyel ashkevron (1) versatile blogger award (1) vicki pettersson (1) video game review (3) video games (1) vikings (2) viper moon (1) vladimir nabokov (1) volcano (1) voodoo (1) waiting on wednesday (1) war of southern independence (1) war of the roses (1) warm bodies (1) water for elephants (1) werewolf (1) werewolves (4) western (1) what maisie knew (1) whispered truth (1) white night (1) winner (2) winners (1) witch (2) wrong turn (1) wyoming (1) YA (17) YA adventure (3) ya comedic horror (1) YA contemporary fiction (1) ya dark fantasy (1) YA dystopia (1) YA fantasy (6) YA fiction (22) YA historical fiction (1) ya horror (6) ya issues (1) YA mystery (1) YA paranormal romance (2) ya post-apocalyptic (14) ya retelling (1) ya retellings (1) YA romance (4) ya sci-fi (1) YA series (14) YA supernatural (1) YA supernatural romance (2) YA suspense (2) YA urban fantasy (2) ya with zombies (1) yellowstone national parl (1) zombie month (12) zombie music and movies (1) zombie queen of newbury high (1) zombies (24) zombies don't cry (1)

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Grab my Badge

Sinnful Books

Follow Me!

Follow on Bloglovin
Follow on Bloglovin


Linky Followers

Reading Addiction Blog Tours


My Photo
"If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish. Registered & Protected