Authors: K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 368 pages
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.
Protagonists: This book is told in three third-person perspectives, Matt, Laurie, and Fen. Matt is the undisputed leader of the descendants of the gods, but he has doubts about being a leader and the pressure to not lose face can get in his way at times. Laurie, while being a descendant of the god Loki isn't the one destined to take his place when Ragnarok arrives. This fact makes her, at times feel less special than the other members of her group, but she also knows that she's as important to the stopping the end of the world as the rest of them, and between just you and me, I think she'll possibly take the place of a Norse goddess in the end. Finally we have Fen, the tough, gruff, and stand-offish cousin of Laurie and the boy who's supposed to take the place of Loki come the final battle. At first he seems to be a possible antagonist but as the story goes on it's evident soon enough that beneath his hard exterior is the heart of a hero.
Bromance: With this being a Middle-Grade series I knew going into it that there would be little to no romance, in fact this book had exactly zero actual romance and any hope of a possible romance in the future between certain characters was pretty much squashed, but this book did have a couple really awesome bromances. For those who may not know a bromance is in no way romantic, but is just a deep friendship built between guys, or bros, that develops over time. This book pretty much had two. The first is Matt and Fen, like I said at first Fen seemed to be a possible antagonist, in fact he and Matt get into a fight in the very first chapter, but when they are forced to come together to overcome Ragnarok they slowly start to trust and depend on each other and a real friendship starts to form, and these guys just have great bro chemistry. The next is between Baldwin and pretty much everyone. Baldwin, the descendant and champion of Baldor, is an extremely lovable character for good reason, his role, Baldor, was the god most loved by the other gods and a friend to everyone. This makes Baldwin not only extremely likable but a true friend to anyone he comes across.
World-Building: With the hype of all things mythology, the one major mythology that hasn't been explored that much is Norse mythology. I believe there are two reasons for this, One: Rick Riordan has yet to write a series revolving around Norse Mythology (but it's coming) and Two: Norse mythology is fairly complicated. When I first began this book I had a moderate knowledge of Norse mythology and at first I wasn't sure these authors could really pull off the whole Ragnarok's coming but the gods are dead thing, but they did it very well. I think even coming into this you have no prior knowledge to Norse mythology you'll come out with at the very least a remedial to moderate knowledge and by the end of the series, even though it's too soon to tell, you may have an adept, though not advanced knowledge. Just know though that every mythology has multiple version of the stories so if you're coming into this with a fairly large knowledge of Norse mythology just know that this may have alternate version to fit the authors' story.
Predictability: Sadly this book was fairly predictable, there's a very large twist towards the end that while I couldn't really see what was going to happen, I could easily see that something was going to go down and the closer the moment came the clearer it was. There were also small things that were incredibly easy to see coming from the get go, in fact there weren't too many surprises in this book. I'm not sure if it was the authors in general or their Middle-Grade age genre writing that made things so predictable. The good news is though that even though I could see a lot of things coming it only hurt my enjoyment of the book microscopically.
Ending: This ending is just... wow. Usually the first book in a series will wrap up the main conflict and leave things feeling settled in case the series doesn't get picked up for very many books than things can be easily wrapped up in another book, but this one is having none of that. There is absolutely no plateauing going into the end of this book in fact it's all high stakes as it ends in a very crazy cliffhanger that is the perfect excuse to pick up the next installment ASAP.
This was a really hard book to rate because while I really liked it there were a few things that just felt off or I just didn't enjoy about this book. Not to worry though they are fairly small by four stars really only seems to be the right rating for this book for me.