Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Odin's Ravens

Odin's Ravens
 (image from
K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Trigger warnings for death and violence

If you want an original summary, I'm afraid you're out of luck. Sorry about that. Here's the one off goodreads:

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.

A bit of backstory. This is the second book in the Blackwell Pages series. You may feel duped of the review of the first book, but more backstory- I never read the first book. I was so excited to see a book on Norse mythology (and I had heard of the series before) I bought it right then and there in a little airport bookstore. It took about fifteen minutes for me to notice the little yellow banner on the spine that read "Book 2". So thank you, authors, for having this book make sense for all of us that never read the first. That is a talent. A flower crown for the two of you.

I'm sure my readers are getting just a little tired of Norse mythology. I can see you scowling and pointing to the book I just reviewed that was also the second book of a Norse series, raising one unamused eyebrow. To that I'm sorry. Norse mythology is my special interest, and most people in my life probably feel the same way you do. I'll try and keep it short.

Ahhhhh, characters, characters. Loved the characters, and it was multiple POV so we got to read from 4/5 of the important POVs. No Baldwin sections that I remember. Disappointing, I know. Baldwin was the only person who was mildly HAPPY. Not to say that the others were bad, just not Baldwin. Can you guess my favorite character?

There were pictures. That's all you need to know. There were PICTURES.

A few things left me wondering if they were added in for plot convenience. For instance, the bags that Helen gave the kids. Those were just really... Convenient. It took out an element of urgency. Though, this could be swept under the rug by the fact it's MG. I suppose I'm a bit older and than the target audience.

Also, names. I need to decide if I hate or love the names. I mean, I like meaning names, but Helen. As Hela. And Ray and Reyna being Freyr and Freyja. Reyna and Freyja even have the same name meanings. But Ray means 'counsel protection' so, ya'know, we're not completely following a pattern here. I'm so confused. I love and hate the names.

The ending. THE END. HOLY CRAP. Now I need book three, which isn't out yet. It joins the ranks of the three other books that are coming out in 2015, but I want now. Let me tell you, if you feel at all bored (why would you?) while reading, give it until the last few pages. Holy goats.

If there was one problem I had, it was just how white the cast was. No diversity whatsoever. I know, I know, they're the descendants of Norse gods, and most people in Scandinavia are white. However, it's not like they're descendants on both sides (unless they were, in which a case, sorry, missed that), so they could have mixed race. Or something. And it so straight. No, I don't care that it's middle grade, if there can be straight romance, there can be gay romance. One is not more taboo than the other. Copy this over for disability, class, and anything else you can think of that I can't.

And the romance seemed a little unnecessary, too. Or, I think it's unnecessary because I'm worried Laurie will end up in a love triangle. Or, I think it's unnecessary because the chemistry between [Spoilers we have heard on high] Owen and Laurie [sweetly spoilering o'er the plains] is next to nil. Or, I think their chemistry is next to nil because I didn't want romance. It's cause and effect, but I'm not sure which is which.

(This review is a MESS)

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