Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: Thor's Serpents (The Blackwell Pages #3)

Release Date: May 19, 2016
Author: K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 368 pages
Source: Purchased Book

For fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the thrilling conclusion to The Blackwell Pages, written by New York Times bestselling YA authors, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr.

Thirteen-year-olds Matt, Laurie, and Fen have beaten near-impossible odds to assemble their fellow descendants of the Norse Gods and complete epic quests. Their biggest challenge lies ahead: battling the fierce monsters working to bring about the apocalypse.

But when they learn that Matt must fight the Midgard Serpent alone and Fen and Laurie are pulled in other directions, the friends realize they can't take every step of this journey together. Matt, Laurie, and Fen will each have to fight their own battles to survive, to be true to themselves, and to one another - with nothing less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance.



Protagonists: Picking up soon after the shocking, and a bit annoying ending of the previous installment, our heroes have everything they need to fight at Ragnarok, but now, with Fen trapped by wulfenkind magic to lead a pack of Raiders into a fight where they're best bet is to fight against his friends, things aren't looking so good. Matt and Laurie work to fight off monsters and find the battleground of Ragnarok before it's too late and they can't save the world. Things are looking bleak but these characters know how to get out of a tough spot. I really enjoyed how these characters interacted with the world around them, while there is still a bit of growing and developing for each of them to do, what I enjoyed most was how they were able to figure things out in a realistic way that didn't feel too much like a Deus Ex Machina, and I'll get to it in a bit, but there are a few moments that didn't work so well.

World-Building: Going into this final book Ragnarok is immanent and these final battles will begin, however, there is still much to learn about this world before we get to Ragnarok. There are characters that resurface, and origins that we have yet to see. There are many intricate things going on that all lead up to the final battle. There were a few things that did bother me, and I'm not quite sure if I even should be. Without giving too much away there are moments when certain things are hinted at, that it would have left a stronger impact if they were just flat out acknowledged otherwise they should have just been left out entirely. Granted, I could have misconstrued things or put too many dots together that weren't really there. And I know it's a middle grade novel, but some of these things can totally be handled by an average Middle Grader. Overall, I did really enjoy the revelations and new content added to this story as our time in this world was wrapping up.

Predictability: There were quite a few things that I was wrong about. First off, there was something that I thought was confirmed in the previous installment, that turned out not to be true and I just misinterpreted the information, which kind of bummed me out. Though I will say I wasn't 100% wrong, just a good 99.5%. Secondly there were a few things that I thought there was foreshadowing in this book for that I just totally missed. Don't get me wrong, there were a good bit of twists I called, it's jut that all the good ones slipped past me. And I will say that all but a few I really enjoyed being shocked by.

Ending: I've talked before about my newfound fascination with endings of standalones or series and the idealistic factor attached to it. The ending of this book is Ragnarok, and if you think that's a spoiler you're crazy, anyway since the ending is Ragnarok I expected some serious fallout and for the ending not to be too idealistic, even for a MG novel, and granted it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, but there seemed to be quite a few Deus Ex Machina moments where even things that felt planned and plotted out, came off as some last minute shot to make things work out right. Like I said the ending not 100% idealistic, but it did feel like things fell a bit too much into place.


I love this series and even this specific installment a lot, too cheery ending aside. Anyway, these authors did a fantastic job at creating a fun and adventurous tour through Norse Mythology. If you're waiting in agony for the next Rick Riordan book, whichever one that may be, give this series a try if you haven't already!


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