May 7, 2013

Book Review + Giveaway - Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr


Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Pages: 368
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Series: The Blackwell Pages #1
Source: Borrowed ARC from Amy at Book Loving Mom!


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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.


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Review: I have been talking non-stop about this book prior to the release date.  Thanks to my constant whining and social media, I was lent this book by a wonderful blogger. 

I felt almost happy with this book at times.  I do not set out to compare books side by side, but Percy Jackson fans will be thrilled with this book.  It was adventurous, fresh, and downright fun. There is a lot to cover, so I’ll break it down into little bits.

Character:  The modern counterparts to the Norse gods were a nice touch.  I did enjoy Matt’s overall growth as a stronger character, looking to take charge of his destiny.  Fen and Laurie were a little more difficult to pinpoint.  I ended up having a very high respect for Laurie, and my opinion of Fen fell as the book continued.  Baldwin was just flat out awesome.  The authors got it right on this reincarnated God.  I hope that the next book covers the twins in a little more detail in the next installation.  All in all, it was Matt and Laurie who really carried the entire storyline. 

Plot: Middle Grade books usually run on team work, and this one was no exception.  A trio of young teens set out to overcome an obstacle.  The storyline was a bit muddy, and the audience had to wade through quite a bit of info dumping about the Brekkes before the story took flight.  The first few chapters are a wreck, but the storyline really picks up and sets up a great adventure when it finally starts to roll.  I do love how each of the main characters struggled to find their place in the team.  This helps reach a wider range of young children and teens struggling with the same issue in real life.  Where do I belong? How can I ever fit in? How can I ever become anything? Throughout the book, we see the three center characters start to develop a stronger sense of what it means to be a part of a pack, and the message that friendship can develop in the most barren places was a nice, sweet touch.

Writing: Not the strongest part of the book.  The authors seemed to repeat some of the major elements over and over.  Repetition is no big deal, but you can only read about Fen loving Laurie like a sister so many times before you wish to rip your own hair out. I also felt that the authors wanted to rush some parts of the book, and never fully explained some of the characters.  They treated some of the plot devices as extra baggage and expected the reader to just accept the major gaps in the story line.

Connection to Norse Mythology: Here is where my nerd reflexes come into play.  I was super picky over the Nordic aspect of the book.  I will admit that I learned something new, however.  I was under the impression that Odin’s Horse, Sleipnir, was the reason we have “nightmares”.  I was mistaken after I looked it up.  I liked the wolf portion of the book, and how the author’s wound Loki and the Wolves into a modern day retelling.  The story of Baldr was also a major portion of the book.  I was a little unhappy with the handling of that particular myth.  The treatment of two of the characters who represented two of the main gods also riled me up.  They were major gods, but the book just pushed and shoved them throughout the storyline.  However, this was a story about Thor and Loki, and I could see similar threads in this book that corresponded with the mythology.  The one, big huge thorn in my side was the treatment of Laurie by the other two guys.  Vikings and Nordic ancestors were HUGE on female rights, but Laurie constantly battled the male egos of the two other characters.  No no no.  If you write about Norse mythology, then your females are kick-ass awesome.  End of story.

Overall, I think this series is going to be wonderful.  This book had some of the hiccups of a first tome in a series, but I believe that the story is strong enough to carry a larger arc throughout the entire story line.  If you like middle grade adventures and an ongoing series, you’ll like it.  Norse and Vikings lovers: give it a chance.  It is a nice way to finally add some rivalry to the Greek and Roman mythology that is highly popular in middle grade fiction at the moment.

4/5 Stars

Buy Loki's Wolves on Amazon

Giveaway:

Like what you see? Do you want to win this book? Fill out the Rafflecopter form below!
This giveaway starts on May 7th, 2013, and will end on May 21st, 2013 at midnight.

  • It's International because we will ship from The Book Depository!
  • You must be 13 years or older to enter
  • One email address per household. One Twitter account per entrance. Cheating the system will be monitored.
  • You will have 48 hours to respond to the winner's email or else someone else will be chosen. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 comments:

  1. This sounds completely different to what I usually read but it sounds FUN! And I'm glad it was so good and lived up to your expectations :)

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    1. It was a nice change of pace.

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  2. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it!! Fen did totally drive me nuts at times. I loved Laurie though. She was my favorite character of all of them. I wish we got to know a bit more about the twins too, but hopefully in the next book. I don't know a lot about Norse Mythology so a lot of stuff that you noticed, I didn't since I wouldn't know what's right or wrong either way lol!! Awesome review chick!!

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    1. Fen made poor Laurie come across as a Mary Sue at times, you know? She was the ONLY thing that mattered. Ugh. I hope that this issue is addressed in the next installment.

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  3. I'm taking an educated guess that this book would be a wonderful gift for my 14yr old grandson... He blazed through Harry, and did the same for Percy. I'd love to win this for him...

    I wouldn't mind reading it either since I collect books with Old Gods themes.

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    1. Yes - I think he would LOVE it!

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  4. I love Norse mythology! And I've been a little disappointed in the last two books I've read where there was Norse mythology involved. I have great hope for Loki's Wolves, though - and I really, really would love to win.

    Thanks for hosting a great giveaway!!

    Lexxie

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    1. What books did you read??

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  5. Oo, so the description pulled me in, it sounds like it's set in an alternate reality ya? And I love Norse mythology (and you're totally right that we need more Norse myth-based books to battle all the Greek and Roman ones, haha), but I think I might be sad by all the hiccups D: In any case, I might have to see if the library has this one and then buy it if the series gets more amazing, haha. Thank you so much for the review and giveaway!

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    1. This one is set in present day, a lot like Percy Jackson.

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  6. I just got this ARC at the TXLA conference a couple of weeks ago--looks great! That cover will sell it to my readers for sure!

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  7. I heart Kelley Armstrong so I'm definitely wanting to read this one. I know she can write great characters both in YA and Adult so I have no doubt she does a good job with MG, too--even though it was a team effort. Norse mythology is nothing something I really know of though. I only read maybe 2 books with Norse and from what I remember it was about rock people and very weird shit. But like, I don't know anything about Odin’s Horse or anything else you mentioned here so do you think I'll get this book at all? Guess I could Wiki it >.<

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    1. I think you could still enjoy it! Since it is grade level, the authors work to make sure nothing flies over the heads of the readers. I hope you like it, Giselle!

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  8. Norse mythology does fascinate. I haven't read any stories about Norse mythology for a very long time.

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    1. This is a nice way to introduce a young generation to the Viking era mythology. If you get a chance, pick it up! :)xx

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  9. Ahhh! Kelley is one of my favorite writers EVER, so even though I don't read a lot of middle grade, I'm psyched for this one. I don't know a lot about mythology, but I do dig it. Yay that you liked this one, Lyn! I definitely want to give it a chance, and hopefully things will smooth out with the second one.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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    1. This is a good one to pick up!

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  10. I have seen so much about this book, I think I'm going to have to get it! Even Alyssa Day got it for her son.

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    1. Awesome! I think it will be VERY enjoyable!

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  11. I've always loved middle grade! This sounds like a fun read with mythology involved :D

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! I thought it was pretty good.

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