Saturday, 6 October 2012

Runemarks- Joanne Harris

‘Seven o’clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the End of the World, and goblins had been at the cellar again.’

That first sentence had me hooked. I have always enjoyed a good fantasy read, and the balance of humour and everyday ordinariness, contrasted with fantasy elements promised me a really good read.

And this book is a good read. It is the story of Maddy Smith, a girl with a strange rune mark on her hand, growing up in a town where nobody likes the idea of magic. She is quite miserable until she meets One-Eye, a strange man that passes through the village, and seems to have all the answers that Maddy seeks, if only he would tell them to her.

Sent by One-Eye on a strange quest, Maddy begins an adventure, in which she meets all sorts of gods, and encounters vague and frustrating prophecies, and tangles with the ultimate Trickster, Loki himself. Twists and turns abound in this plot, and you can never be quite sure who is telling the truth at any one time, or whose side each character is on. Although the plot does drag a little in places, it was the twists and turns that kept me reading as I could not predict how the story would end.

Runesmark is very much based on Scandinavian legend, which appearances from Odin, Loki, Thor and other gods that you may be familiar with. Rune stones and marks play a great part in the story, again drawing from that background. I particularly like these legends, so I found the book engaging from that point of view.

Joanne Harris is a bestselling author of adult titles, and this is her first foray into the young adult market. As a result the text is quite dense, but the strong plot should encourage young readers to keep reading. She has also written a sequel to this book called Runelight.

Celia @ Narre Warren


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