Series: Thrones and Bones #1
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on August 5th, 2014
Genres: fantasy, middle grade
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Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.
Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.
When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.
This was my sixth middle grade book of the year, and it’s not one I picked out on my own. I offered to review book two of this series for Random House, but before I could do that, I had to read the first book. Luckily I received an ARC of Frostborn at BEA last year. It was one I never got around to until now, but here I am.
I don’t generally read books with Norse settings or mythologies–they just aren’t my thing. But I took a chance on this one because it was a middle grade fantasy and I love those. I’m always looking for MG novels that suck me in the way that one famous series we all know and love did. And I’ve gotten pretty close. This one missed the mark a little in that it didn’t invoke that same passion and love of the characters that I have had before, but the world building and writing was pretty decent.
The land of Norrongard is snowy, mountainous, and full of giants, trolls, humans, wyverns, and one big dragon called Orm. Karn is a human that’s descended from a long line of farmers, and he is next in line to inherit the farm. He has no interest in that, though. He wants to explore–adventure–and see the world. Thianna is half Frost giant, half something else, and is very unhappy in her village since she’s only 7 feet tall and everyone else is 13-15 feet. She is mercilessly teased and doesn’t ever feels like she fits in. When they meet each other, random circumstances happen, and then they are running for their lives.
This book was a start to a fun series (no idea how many books it is) that’s a great escapist book. That’s pretty much why I read middle grade anyway. For the fun of it. Because I love the adventure. This book was totally that, with delightful touches of comedy throughout. Not to mention, it was just plain exciting. I love chase stories. I love knowing there are bad guys pacing the protagonists through the woods and over the mountains and up in the skies. It makes my heart beat fast.
Basically, I had a tough time putting this one down. It sat on my shelf after BEA and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. I fully expect it to get even better–the next book will up the stakes for sure.
So what didn’t I like? Like I mentioned at the beginning, I was just lacking that connection to the characters. With books that extend into a series, though, sometimes that takes time. Characters are everything for me. If I don’t relate in some way, feel that they are fully developed, then I am going to probably like your book but it’s not going to make me LOVE it.
I really liked the writing, at any rate. The descriptions and imagery were spot on without being underdone or overdone. This was a promising start to a series and I’m happily pushing on into the next book.