Seven oclock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again. . . . Not that anyone would admit it was goblins. In Maddy Smiths world, order rules. Chaos, old gods, fairies, goblins, magic, glamours all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. The ruinmark she was born with on her palm proves it and makes the other villagers fearful that she is a witch (though helpful in dealing with the goblins-in-the-cellar problem). But the mysterious traveler One-Eye sees Maddys mark not as a defect, but as a destiny. And Maddy will need every scrap of forbidden magic One-Eye can teach her if she is to survive that destiny.
In Runemarks, the Norse gods come alive in all their bickering glory, but not until quite late in the tale, after we've had time to get to know Maddy and her strange itinerant friend, One-Eye, who turns up for a few days each year and trains her in the use of glamours (an archaic word for magic spells or enchantments). What starts as a potentially simple story, quickly builds to one of considerable complexity when Maddy leaves the Middle World of men for the goblin-infested tunnels that lead to World Below.
A great choice for almost any young reader who enjoys fantasy, but also with great 'cross-over' potential for adult readers. We read Runemarks as a family (it's a great book to read aloud!), and all of us from 12 to 48 enjoyed it immensely. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The Los Angeles Times - Sonja Bolle
Just as Bugs Bunny, the most familiar trickster to us, is a short-form character, Loki shouldn't carry a novel, though he's good for relieving tension and speaks with an irreverence that will make readers of all ages laugh. The crosses and double crosses pile up until it's hard to keep it all straight. (There is a reason why drama came out of Greece, not Iceland.) But Harris keeps it all spinning with luscious detail and a firm grasp of the mythic implications of all the shifting relationships.
A mini-course in Norse mythology for the tween set.
Harris demonstrates a knack for moving seamlessly between the serious and the comic, and her lengthy book moves swiftly.
School Library Journal
[F]antasy enthusiasts will find much to enjoy in this complex tale.
The Guardian - Kathryn Hughes
Harris's great skill lies in pulling back every time her creation veers towards the portentous, that is to say the Tolkienesque .... So Runemarks has a narrative nonchalance which just about evens out its ponderous infrastructure.
The Times - Nicolette Jones
Especially enjoyable are Harris’s aphorisms, her satire of joyless piety, and the comically irreverent vernacular spoken by a dissolute goblin and the trickster god Loki
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Anonymous Good at the end, okay overall, but not worth the time The book was exceedingly slow up until the very peak of the climax, very near the conclusion. After all the buildup and back story, I felt disappointed that there wasn't much meat after all the hype.
The majority of the book deals with a... Read More
Rated of 5
by Danielle Young at Heart? One of the enduring paradigms in publishing is the categorization of a book to focus publicity and marketing efforts and give booksellers a clear spot to shelve it. What is frustrating about this inevitable classification is that often a book goes... Read More
Norse mythology is the best preserved version of Germanic paganism,
sharing the same essential pantheon with Anglo-Saxon mythology. Both have
their roots in a hypothetical Indo-European mythology that is believed to be at
the root of most pre-Christian religions in Europe and India (including
Hinduism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism) because they all share significant
commonalities. For example, Zeus, Jupiter, Thor and Indra are all thunder-gods
and all are associated with the same day of the week - Thursday: English derives
Thursday from Thor, while the French Jeudi and Italian Goivedi
come from the Latin Jovis (or Iovis) Dies meaning Jupiter
Norse mythology is a collection of believes, not a set doctrine. Originally orally
transmitted, most of our knowledge of it comes from a few medieval texts
Edda (Poetic Edda), and
Edda (Prose Edda), which were written down between 1000 and 1300 AD.
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