You Die When You Die by Angus Watson

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You Die When You Die by Angus Watson

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: James Donald
Reviewed by James Donald
Summary: An interesting historical fiction/fantasy novel with a clever premise and a lot to say about the modern world.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: June 2017
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356507569

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Finnbogi the Boggy and his tribe of mushroom men (Vikings) must take a road trip through hostile territory whilst being hunted by the greatest fighting force ever seen (Amazonian Native Americans). Vikings meet Native Americans in a clash of cultures and potentially the end of the world. When the Queen of the known world says your tribe has to be exterminated then your immediate future may not be so rosy.

I really did not know what to make of this book to be honest. Angus Watson has a great writing style that engages, intrigues but ultimately frustrates. The plotting, most of the characterisations and the action are all extremely well executed. The dialogue (in places), the character names and many of the characters themselves just don’t quite hit the mark for me.

Finnbogi is our entry-point for this work. As a lead character he is deeply unlikable. Finn is a stroppy teenager with typical sullen mood-swings, crushes and dark fantasies. Ultimately as this book series progresses I fully expect that Finn’s journey will be very satisfying but for now I just want rid of him every time it is his chapter. Finn is, however, an extremely real character who, like most of the cast, jumps off the page. Finn is far from a crappy creation I simply just do not wish to spend any time with him.

At times we could be reading Mathew Harffy or another dark fantasy/historic writer but Watson can’t maintain this style for too long without meandering into Piers Anthony territory as he takes this further he even jumps almost to Pratchett-level silliness.

The use of modern language doesn’t grate that much after you get used to it but there are the odd bits (like the ‘not quite right’ names of the Norse Gods) that get to be frustrating. Equally frustrating is the gratuitous swearing and crudeness at times. Some of this comes from a tribe that believes swearing is sacred but it is all over the story. It feels very much like the occasional crudeness in Spider-Man: Homecoming – shoehorned in unnecessarily as if to deliberately raise the rating. Without it we’d have a great all-age/teenage book.

Action-packed, intriguing and fun but just not for me. This book still deserves tremendous success and it will appeal to many.

Further reading: The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy

Buy You Die When You Die by Angus Watson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You Die When You Die by Angus Watson at

Buy You Die When You Die by Angus Watson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You Die When You Die by Angus Watson at


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