by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr
(The Blackwell Pages #1)
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: May 2013
Page Count: 358
Source: Netgalley (thank you!)
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.
GOODREADS . AMAZON
Review: This is my first middle grade read in quite some time (in fact, I can't remember what other middle grade books I have read, if I'm being honest...). I thought that the cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded intriguing, so I thought that I would go ahead and give it a try and see what I think. Overall, I think that I did discover that middle grade is probably not for me, but I did think that the actual story was very fun, so I did enjoy reading it for the most part.
I have not read any of the books in the Percy Jackson series, but I do think that this would probably be similar to those. Enough so that people would probably compare them, at least. However, this book talks about Norse mythology, which I think is an interesting change because it is not something that you see very often. Instead of the usual Greek gods, the main character, Matt, is a descendant of Thor; the other two main characters, Fen and Laurie, are descendants of Loki. As the Avengers and all of those movies are so popular, it was fun to see things in this light.
Overall, I liked how we had more than one POV in the story. I am not sure if that is something that happens often in middle grade, but I think that it definitely added a lot to this story. We get the perspective of all three main characters, which makes things quite interesting as they are all very different. They all had very different voices in the book as well, which I think is very important when trying to write in multiple POVs. If they all sound the same it does not have the desired effect, but that was not the case here.
Of course, nothing about this book is realistic, and that's okay. I had to keep in mind that this book was written specifically for children in the middle grades (which was not too difficult for me since I do teach middle school). It's the kind of adventurous, battle type storyline a lot of them would love to read about. I do think that the ending was a little sudden an abrupt, and there was a definite cliffhanger, but I know that was just done to leave it open for the next book in the series.
Overall, I do think that the book was enjoyable. It was nice to step out of my normal reading comfort zone and read something that I probably would not usually read. I do think that I would be interested in reading more books in this series, but I am not sure that I will read much middle grade in the future.
Rating: 3.5 / 5.0