Freya and the Magic Jewel: Thunder Girls, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Freya and the Magic Jewel: Thunder Girls, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Fun read, troubling message for girls to be peacemakers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

An introduction to Norse mythology, with plenty of adventure, insight into characters many young readers don't know about.

Positive Messages

Freya's world puts a focus on doing what's right and the importance of family, but there's an iffy message about how girls should behave toward boys who like them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Frey and Freya are a tight brother-sister duo, and their Gullveig is a strong, caring grandmother figure, much like all the adults in their world.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Freya and the Magic Jewel: Thunder Girls, Book 1, by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, authors of the Goddess Girls series, is meant to be a fun, breezy take on Norse mythology, and it does an OK job there. But the book's slow pace and convoluted writing aren't the only problematic elements. In order to save the tree that holds together all nine worlds, Freya is pressured to give her heart to a boy she isn't interested in, just because he asked in front of the whole school. She's left to find a way to smooth over everyone's feelings, to agree to things she doesn't want just to keep the peace.

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What's the story?

In FREYA AND THE MAGIC JEWEL, young twins Freya and Frey are asked by the mighty god Odin to join girl goddesses and boy gods from all nine worlds at the Aasgard Academy as a way to build unity after a five-year war. Already not wanting to leave home, Freya is devastated when she loses her beloved jewel, Brising (a jewel that Freya thinks is the reason she can see into the future), and more upset to be disliked by a few of the students. She tries to make friends, and, as the girl goddess of love and beauty, attracts attention that she sometimes doesn't want, complicating her life at Aasgard Academy. While searching for Brising and a friend who has gone missing, Freya discovers the truth about her powers, and the magical world she lives in.  

Is it any good?

While this book tries to be fun and casual, it starts off slow, and falls flat when it describes events as "totally fun," trying to imitate the way young readers speak. Loosely based on Norse mythology, Freya and the Magic Jewel is an introduction to the gods and goddesses most readers don't know about. Freya's adventures require courage and strength, which she most certainly has, but her most talked-about attributes are her looks and her clothes.

All of this could be fun; the trouble comes when Mason, a boy god, asks Freya for her heart in exchange for building a wall that can save all nine worlds. Freya doesn't want to give him her heart, but feels she has to, and spends the rest of the book worrying that she'll have to keep her promise. The moments when Freya wonders how he'll react if she tells him she doesn't want to give him her heart offer a particularly troubling message for young readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes the Thunder Girls in Freya and the Magic Jewel special. Why do they seem to be a closer-knit group than any of the other pods?

  • What do you think of Freya's response to Mason asking for her heart? Do you think she honored her promise, and was it a fair request in the first place?

  • What other books about mythology have you read?

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