Friday, June 7, 2013

Read - Loki's Wolves

Loki's Wolves
by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr
2013
358 pages

"The runes have spoken. We have our champion...Matthew Thorsen."

Matt hears the words, but he can't believe them. He's Thor's representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents...or the world ends? He's only thirteen.

While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendent of Thor, he's always lived a normal kid's life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.

But now Ragnarok is coming, and it's up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor's hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.

In their middle grade debut, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr begin the epic Blackwell Pages series with this action-packed adventure, filled with larger-than-life legends, gripping battles, and an engaging cast of characters who bring the myths to life.


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the whole Viking thing.  I put it back on the shelf though because it was 'a kids book.'  But just like the online community has opened my eyes to how many people read graphic novels, it has also shown me how many people still love so-called kids books.  Heck, didn't Harry Potter start out as a kids series??  (It got much deeper and darker as the series went on though.)  So yeah, I bought this Loki's Wolves next time I had the chance. 

This is a 'middle grade' book, meant for ages 12 and up, or something like that.  There are several black and white illustrations throughout the book.  It was also kinda cute how there is a lot of learning going on while reading the story.  It reminded me a bit of The Magic Treehouse books, where kids are learning bits of history or science or whatnot without realizing because it's just all part of the story.  There are a lot of quick and easy references to many Norse things, but also things about Mt. Rushmore and some other South Dakota/old west things.  Of course it was all Viking related things that had me thrilled.

I quite liked this book.  It was quick paced, which kept it interesting all the way.  I loved all the talk about Thor, Loki, Odin, and even Balder.  There were wolves, Norns, Valkyrie, mara (nightmares), and trolls.  I learned about the wolves Skoll and Hati chasing Sol and Mani (the sun and the moon), and about Ragnarok ... all on an informative but easy to follow level.  Reading this book made me want to go back and watch the History channel's Vikings show again!

The three main characters are Matt, Fen, and Laurie.  All are likable but Fen's constant 'I have to protect Laurie at all times' got old fast.  Matt learns fairly early in the book that he will have to be a key player in stopping Ragnarok and saving the world as we know it.  He must find and gather the rest of the kids who will be part of this battle, and he must find several items that are needed.  This sets up the series, as I'm guessing each book will be about the search for the next person and object.  In this first book we have met the key players and found the first object.  We also found out that perhaps not everyone wants Ragnarok (end of the world) to be prevented after all ...

There is some violence in this book and there is a death, leaving the book ending on a shocking note, but I think Loki's Wolves is a really interesting read for kids and adults alike.  It seems everyone knows or writes about Greek mythology and other ancient stories that have been done a million times, so taking on the lesser known Norse mythology is an exciting breath of fresh air.  I highly recommend this book, and am very much looking forward to the next one in this series.

(And I think it would make a fantastic movie, hehe.)

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