Looking for a middle-grade mythology fix? Try this series!
In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters–wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.
The gods died a long time ago.
Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history–because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.
However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids–led by Matt–will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.
This was a really fun read–reminiscent of the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books, definitely, though with Norse mythology instead of Greek and Roman–and it has really piqued my interest. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but that’s not the only reason I’ll be picking up the second book. There’s more than a few questions left unanswered at the end (What was up with Laurie’s salmon “dream”? What the heck is up with Odin/Owen’s so-called girlfriend? Was she even his girlfriend?) that hopefully will be addressed as the series continues. The action is virtually non-stop, making you want to keep going right to the end.
It’s fun to see a different mythology explored in children’s lit–if you’re not up on the Norse legends, that’s not a problem since they do a decent job of explaining without it feeling like a lecture. (Though if you’re looking for something to occupy your time before reading book two or while waiting for book three to be released, check out the Norse mythology portions of Don’t Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned to prepare. It’s a fun read, though parts of it are definitely NSFW–and probably NSFK(ids), either. Those gods and goddesses had some interesting…um, appetites.)
Armstrong and Marr have written an interesting set of characters here–Matt (descendant of Thor) and Fen and Laurie (cousins, descended from Loki) get off to a rocky start but quickly form a bond when faced with adversity. As their quest continues, they find–or are found by–other descendants and characters from the legends who draw you in as well. (Valkyries!)
The audio version is nicely done, with three different narrators reading the parts of Matt, Laurie, and Fen. Hopefully the same voice actors will be used throughout the series, because I thought they each did a great job of portraying their characters.
Rating: 4 stars / B+