ages: 13 and up
grades: 7 and up (Years 8 and up)
on sale: now
copy from: library
title: The Sea of Trolls
author: Nancy Farmer
Jack was eleven when the berserkers loomed out of the fog and nabbed him. "It seems that things are stirring across the water", the Bard had warned, "Ships are being built, swords are being forged."
"Is that bad?" Jack had asked, for his Saxon village had never before seen berserkers.
"Of course. People don't make ships and swords unless they intend to use them."
The year is A.D. 793. In the next months, Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his fierce young ship-mate, Thorgil. With a crow named Bold Heart for mysterious company, they are swept up into an adventure-quest in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings.
Other threats include a willful mother Dragon, a giant spider, and a troll-boar with a surprising personality--to say nothing of Ivar the Boneless and his wife, Queen Frith, a shape-shifting half-troll, and several eight-feet-tall, orange haired, full-time trolls. (---A Junior Library Guild Selection. Hand-typed right now by me from the book's flap. You're welcome :D)
There are many reasons to love this book. The rich Norse mythology with somewhat historical accuracy, the quest, the magic, the mythical creatures and thrilling adventure...it's a perfect recipe! The storytelling is brilliant, and I love the allusions to Beowulf (tied in with the book's characters) and the way the Norse Saxon/Viking culture is brought to life. I've read about Yggdrasil in Michael Scott's The Alchemist, and I'm familiar with Jotuns and Jotenheim from the movie Thor (with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston), as well as countless other terms. I'm also familiar with a bit of the mythology that the characters talk about to each other from interviews with Mr. Hiddleston and the picture books I'd read when I was very young. Yet Ms (Mrs) Farmer weaves together all these fragments of my knowledge into this seamless, unforgettable story. There wasn't a second when I thought "This is boring, lets skip a few pages..." The book was gripping and thrilling. I felt like I was alongside Jack and Olaf and Thorgil...in an amazing adventure.
I feel like I'm repeating so many things, because I've just completed it and am that slobbering mess of "Ohmygosh, I can't believe this happened" (meaning my reading such a great story) So I will simply say this: whether you are a young adult or an adult, this book is for you. Because though this is such a fantastically brilliant story, I don't think I can give it a five tree rating until I've finished all the other books. And because it doesn't strike me directly in the heart, but still thrills me nonetheless. You know?