What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk 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.