Viking Myths by Thor Ewing

Viking Myths:

Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses

By Thor Ewing

Genre: Mythology, Religion,

Five stars

From the surreal tales of the beginnings of everything to the humorous antics of the gods, people, and creatures, anyone can enjoy Viking Myths: Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses. Whether you like heroism or bizarre pranks, this collection has something for everyone. Does Loki shave a goddess bald? Why yes. Does he fix it in a fantastic manner? Of course! Thor dresses in drag, Loki becomes the mother of a horse, and Odin trades his right eye for godly wisdom. Grab a really big glass of ale and enjoy Viking Myths. Thor Ewing presents a straightforward telling of the intricate and bizarre myths of the Norse gods. He uses plain language and tells the stories in an understandable progression, considering the wildness and interconnected nature of the stories. I enjoyed the inclusion of the plain translated names of people, creatures, and objects that shed more light on the deeper meanings of the names. The bizarre symbolism of so much of it makes me want to know more about the unique way of thinking of the culture. Thor’s retelling truly kept the magic of the tales alive while bringing clarity to their meanings. I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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War of Odds by Linell Jeppsen

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War of Odds

by Linell Jeppsen

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Mythology

ThreeStars

Sara has just moved twice because of her father’s job, and ended up in a tiny mining town in Eastern Washington. Since the death of her mother, she and her father hit emotional hard times. Now it feels like things are finally looking up for them. Though she feels like she may have seen a few strange, unexplainable things, it doesn’t dampen her hope. Sara even makes two new friends at school in Nate and Chloe. They give her immediate acceptance, something she hasn’t met with lately.

When the strange things Chloe sees turn out to be real, Sara must call upon her new friends to help her. An earthquake signals the beginning of a war between the Human world and the Magic world. A Sprite, and a talking cat inform her that she is a healing witch. They introduce her to a wood nymph named Muriel who confirms.  Sickened and possessed, the Unseelie King, Timaron needs the healing gift of her human magic to bring him to his right mind and call off the war. The success or failure of her mission will determine the fates of both kingdoms and the Earth itself. Can they succeed?

Linell Jeppsen has crafted a lovely mix of imaginary and real in a sweet adventure tale. Adventure, high fantasy, romance, and a message of natural conservation carry the reader through a touching tale. Her characters are sweet and likable with some youthful doubt tossed in from time to time. Their guilt and desire to redeem their evils drives them toward a battle for peace and into your heart.

I felt that the voice of the story wavered a bit between a desire to be contemporary and an old fairy-tale voice. It would have been more consistent and smooth to stick to one or the other. At times, telling about a scene over showing through dialogue stole some of the drama. There were many times I would have liked to read more about what the character thought or felt about during the tale, but their emotions were left a mystery, taking away from the emotional impact of the scene.

Linell doled out some of the characters’ quirks and personal descriptions in a somewhat haphazard way. She treated the reader to big personality revelations in a sentence or two during a scene in which I felt they didn’t really fit. I would have liked to see her main characters struggle a little more with the upturn of their reality at the beginning of the story too. They seemed to reflect a little and then accept all manner of supernatural creatures.

Linell’s story withstood the few challenges and I really enjoyed her imaginative tale. Her characters’ relationships gripped the reader like real relationships, peppered with guilt, doubt, self-consciousness, yearning, and hope. I loved the variety and description of her characters and places, not too much and not too little. War of Odds is a lovely read!

I received this book from the author for the purposes of unbiased review.

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Into The Mist: Silver Hand by Steve Finegan

Into The Mist: Silver Hand

by Steve Finegan

Genre: Children, Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology

Gabe is a young teen under pressure. He has just moved to a new town, facing a new house, a new school, and all the trouble that comes with it. In addition to his regular stresses, he lives with an epilepsy disorder resulting from a head injury when he was little. Strangely, his affliction initiates a connection to something fantastic. After meeting the perky neighbor girl, Ellie, supernatural things begin to happen to Gabe. A strange wood full of old trees, a ruin, a witch’s ghost, and a creepy legend all lead into the Mist.

Steve’s story is packed with action, fantastic scenes, and heroics. Gabe’s calling and unique challenges flavor this story with realism alongside the supernatural. All the awkwardness of life as an early teen, coupled with that knowledge that somehow he is different from everyone, inferior, makes Gabe a compelling character. The amazing things he has to do to overcome his fear and doubt to set things right make me want him to succeed.

I did feel that sometimes the flow of the story was interrupted by excessive description. I sympathize with the author’s love of his scenery and ceremony, but I think he would have achieved better flow if he had left it to the reader to imagine some of the setting.

The ending left me wanting more, which was intentional. Themes of honor, trustworthiness, consideration, and responsibility made it an excellent read for kids. I particularly liked his themes of redemption and how it wasn’t an easy fix. Gabe had to suffer to make things right when he screwed up. I can’t wait to see what happens in the continuation!

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13541938-into-the-mist