But what if the champion doesn’t want everything in the present world destroyed, doesn’t want a one-way ticket to Valhalla? What if he’s just 13?
Yep, Norse mythology’s end-times playing out now…in South Dakota…with a junior high kid as Thor‘s stand-in! Since the gods themselves are long-gone, it’s up to their generations-down-the-line descendants to fill their places in the big battles.
Oh, you wonder why the authors didn’t use their full names on this co-written venture? As they noted in a talk I attended at the Texas Library Association Conference in April, they wanted to make sure that middle-grade/junior high readers weren’t thinking that their “more mature” books (like Melissa’s “Wicked Lovely” series or Kelley’s “Darkest Powers” series) were the same sort of young teen fun-action-adventure books.
Will Ragnarok battles begin soon?
My book talk: Matt studies Norse legends at school and knows them by heart. But his family history takes on new meaning when he’s chosen for Ragnarok battle – now! And if he and his buddies can’t change this conflict, the end of the world as humans know it is assured.
Everyone in Blackwell, South Dakota, is a many-times-removed descendant of Thor or Loki, so they expect town gatherings on Norse holidays to harken back to their heritage. No one expected that the Seer would pick thirteen-year-old Matt as their champion against the Midgard Serpent. But no one can deny the signs that Ragnarok is coming, when Thor must defeat those attacking the World Tree or the world itself will end… and Matt Thorsen is the closest thing to Thor that the modern world has.
Clever Loki-kin Fen defaults on a promise to the Skulls gang and discovers that they’re shapeshifting wolves being directed by evil forces. Brekkes and Thorsens are usually at odds with each other, but when Matt asks cousin Laurie to help on his quest, Fen figures that getting out of Blackwell alive trumps old grudges.
The friends must collect Thor’s Hammer, shield, and feathers from Odin’s ravens if Matt is going to defeat the Serpent, so off they go across South Dakota. Away to Mount Rushmore hunting for the weapons, into the Black Hills searching for the descendants of Thor’s allies, and skulking through Deadwood to stay ahead of the Skulls gang and Thor’s enemies in this era.
Can they find current-day Odin and Baldur in time?
Can Laurie keep her cousin Fen clear of the shapeshifting Skulls?
Can Matt truly defeat the Midgard Serpent and save humanity?
In their first middle grade novel, bestselling authors Armstrong and Marr have created a believable slice of Norse mythology playing out in the here-and-now as Thor’s many-times-greatgrandson must decide which parts of history he doesn’t want repeated in this cycle. Book two of the Blackwell Pages trilogy, Odin’s Ravens, is scheduled for 2014 publication. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.