Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Review: Odin's Ravens (The Blackwell Pages #2)

Release Date: May 13, 2014
Authors: K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 342 pages

Seven kids, Thor's hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world.

When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right?

But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and stop the apocalypse--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

Authors K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr return to Blackwell in the epic sequel to Loki's Wolves with more explosive action, adventure and larger-than-life Norse legends.



Protagonists: Once again this story follows the adventures of Matt, Fen, and Laurie as they go to rescue their friend Baldwin from Hel and prepare for Ragnarok. However, unlike the previous installment, we get a couple chapters from the third-person POV of Owen, the descendant and champion of the king of the Norse gods Odin, and he, out of all the currently known descendants, is the most mysterious. The character development for our three main protagonists, as well as the "side" characters such as Baldwin, is incredible. First off, there's no backslide from the previous book, which is always a plus, and how they manage and, at the very least, attempt to overcome their obstacles in their journey is astounding. I loved how easy it was to see how these characters grow over the course of this, albeit short, novel.

Romance: So, unlike the previous installment, this book did have the slightest bit of romance and a bit of romantic tension. Of course I'm not even sure it's enough to warrant including this section, but I figured that it was something that needed to be addressed. Since there's barely any romance it of course takes in no way overshadows the main plot, but the romances that are formed, and even hinted at, just added another layer to this world and these characters that left me interested to see how everything ends up by the end of the series.

World-Building: So it's no secret that I love all things mythology, especially when it comes in the from of one of, what I like to call, the Big Three; Greek, Egyptian, and Norse. This series of course focuses on the Nordic myths and just like the previous installment expertly weaves Norse mythology into the adventure that these characters are going on. I'm not just referring to the fact that these kids have to take the place of the Norse gods during Ragnarok, but also the myths and legends surrounding the gods and Nordic culture. Add to that a richly described settings and it's hard to be disappointed.

Predictability: Like the previous installment, this book was also fairly predictable. Though there were moments when I was genuinely surprised at how things went. In the previous book there was a lot that was established that changed a lot of my predictions and well, let's just say that things change in this one. There were a few theories that I had that I had given up on, only to have them come true in this book instead. However I don't think anything could have prepared me for the twist that came at the very end.

Ending: So like I said, the ending had a crazy twist and left things off on a cliffhanger, however before I delve into that just a bit more I wanted to touch upon the final climax of the novel. In it there's action, fighting, magic and one of our heroes finally and fully accepting his or her own role in the upcoming battle. It was fantastic and led into one of the most intense endings I've ever read. Let's just say that I'm chomping at the bit to find out how our heroes are going to work their way through the repercussions of that ending.


So it's easy to see that I loved this installment more than the previous one. Not that the first book in this series was bad, on the contrary I really liked it, but this book just felt a lot more sturdy that the previous one, if that makes any sense. Something about the first book, either how it was written or something about the plot, just seemed off to me, but this one was definitely 100% on.


1 comment:

  1. Just like you I loved this book, the first book was good, but the sequel was great. And the character devlopment in this book was doen so well and I agree that the scene at the end were one of the characetrs finally truly accepts their place was done really well. I am normally not a fan of mythology, but I liked how it was woven into this story. Great review!