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Title: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Notable: Book #1 in the Sea of Trolls trilogy
Jack is the unnoticed son of an Anglo-Saxon farmer, until the Bard singles him out as his apprentice. Jack begins to learn how to harness the life force and use magic. Though life is looking up for Jack, it doesn’t last when Vikings invade his town. Jack and his sister Lucy find themselves in the middle of an epic adventure involving magic, trolls, Vikings and dragons. Can they survive and will they ever return home?
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book! The action is a bit slow in starting, but once Jack leaves his homeland, the pace quickens and the story becomes more cohesive.
Jack is a main character whom I really like. He’s down to earth, unassuming, and has a knack for blundering his way through all situations. There are many other likable characters, though they all have their weaknesses and foibles–Olaf, Thorgil, the Bard, Bold Heart, and more. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of the Bard, but perhaps he’ll feature more in the other two books.
Norse mythology and some historical facts are interwoven into The Sea of Trolls. I certainly didn’t take it as a historically accurate tale, but it’s fun to insert fact into fantasy stories. For those of you who are fans of Norse mythology, Vikings, or European history, this story will give you a kick because it makes reference to all of those things. Personally, I don’t know a lot about Norse mythology or the Vikings, but I’d like to learn more about them now.
I’m really looking forward to starting the next book in the series and hope that many of the same characters make a reappearance. Since the adventure seems to have been fully resolved in this book, the next two should have their own independent story lines. We shall see.
I recommend The Sea of Trolls to elementary-age children or even teens. (In fact I just recommended it to my picky 11-year-old.) It’s an entertaining adventure story that is free of bad language and not too descriptive in its violence. This mama gives it a thumbs-up.
- Some violence
Rating: 4 Stars
Until next time…
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