Parents' Guide to


By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Thrilling epic for experienced fantasy readers.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

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, less would have been more in terms of using fewer of the Norse gods but developing their characters more -- as it is, there are lots of the gods but only a few get enough time to get much of a feel for their characters, and the rest just end up seeming like rather irritatingly quarrelsome flat figures. So while interesting, I didn't find the book fully satisfying. But there's where more familiarity with Norse mythology would probably aid in enjoyment. There's not much to be concerned about for ages 9 or 10 or so: the most bothersome aspect being the extensive visions of the torments of the dead in the underworld -- that does get pretty nasty. Other than that, the violence is not too much -- fairly typical for fantasy. And I hardly noticed the drinking or smoking the CSM reviewer mentions. So I'll say okay for ages 10+, though I think at the younger end of that range it would be only readers with particular interest who'd enjoy it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

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.

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