Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
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Thrilling epic for experienced fantasy readers.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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


Lots of fantasy violence, some a bit gory. A man is beaten into unconsciousness, hit in the shoulder by a crossbolt, stabbed, and slashed; a wolf rips out a man's throat. The characters experience gruesome visions of torment in the Underworld.


"Bitch" and "bastard" used infrequently; "bulls--t" is said once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to drinking and drunkenness, pipe smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story has, like the Norse mythology upon which it's based, moments of rather grim violence. There's also some swearing and references to drinking, drunkenness, and pipe smoking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 and 9-year-old Written bypeony April 4, 2009

For strong readers who are Norse myth fans

For those with an interest in Norse mythology, this could be a lot of fun. For others, it may be just a bit too long and insufficiently engaging. To my taste,... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 19, 2013

awesome book

I Think it was a good book to read but it had some language . this is a good book to learn about the old Norse gods and there language.
Kid, 11 years old August 18, 2010

An amazing story!

I have just found a personal favorite!!! Totally AMA-zing!!!! Maddy is an incredibly real character, I can't believe this isn't a biography -- only... Continue reading

What's the story?

"Five hundred years after the End of the World," Maddy is growing up an outcast in her small village, where magic is present but forbidden and ignored. But in her friendship with a one-eyed vagrant, she first discovers that she has magic of her own, and then that she is at the center of a battle among the Norse gods, resurgent powers, and the Nine Worlds for control of the universe, a war that didn't end when the world did. Includes maps, character list, and list of runes.

Is it any good?

You have to admire an author who can think big. As armies clash and worlds collide across the infinite plains of Hel, you'll be reminded of other great epic fantasies: Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, or Pullman's His Dark Materials. This may not be on quite the same level as those classics, lacking their propulsive motion along a clear path, but it has their epic scope and exciting grandeur.

Every mythology has its own unique mood and consciousness. If Greek myth has the clarity of the Aegean light, and Egyptian myth the shifting aspect of desert sands, Norse myth has the fuzziness and confusion of the bleak, cold darkness of northern wastes. Readers will get more out of this if they have some familiarity with Norse mythology, but even so, as the worlds of Dream and Chaos impinge on Order, much is left unclear. Still, it's a wild ride with an appealing protagonist, and this post-Ragnarok mash-up will have experienced readers gleefully buzzing through its more than 500 pages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Norse myths upon which this book is based. What is Yggdrasil? How are the Nine Worlds organized? Has the author stayed true to the myths, or has she changed them? See the recommended list section below for some places to start.

Book details

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