BookBrowse Reviews The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Sea of Trolls

by Nancy Farmer

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer X
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 480 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A clever intermingling of myth and history, set in the age of the Vikings. Ages 11+

Comment: Jack, a Saxon farm boy, has recently been apprenticed to a druid who is teaching him to do magic by drawing on the power of the life force. Unfortunately for Jack, he's living in what is now the North East coast of England in a time-period that is fascinating to look back on but must have been terrifying to live through (as that supposed Chinese curse says, "may you live in interesting times!" - see sidebar for more on this).

Before Jack's training is complete the Vikings invade and kidnap him and his sister. They're taken to the Norse homeland, to the court of Ivar the Boneless and his terrifying half-troll wife, Queen Frith, who fancies Lucy as her next sacrificial victim. Only Jack can prevent this terrible outcome by completing a dangerous quest across the Sea of Trolls to Mimir's Well in Jotunheim, the heart of Troll-land.

Farmer cleverly intermingles myth and history in The Sea of Trolls. For example, her description of the first Viking invasion of the British Isles (at Lindisfarne on June 8th, 793) is taken from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:

"A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter. Siga died on the eighth day before the calends of March.

All reviewers wax lyrical about Sea of Trolls, with all four major USA pre-publication review sources giving it starred reviews. For example, Amanda Craig writing for The Times (UK) says, "every so often something comes along which should instantly be added to the list of those books which leave an indelible mark on the imagination....Nancy Farmer's The Sea of Trolls is such a book.... I have no hesitation in recommending it as the best children's novel of 2004."

If that isn't enough of an endorsement I can also add the opinion of one of our own in-house reviewers (then 11-years old), who summed it up quite simply saying, "it's amazing!"

Nancy Farmer is the author of seven books for children and and some short stories. She has written books for almost all age groups of children, from 4 years right through to the mid-teens, usually set in hot climates. I first discovered her books on a Virgin Airways flight some years ago. Each child was presented with a substantial goody bag which included a copy of The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm (1994). I assumed that anything offered for free was likely to be of low quality but out of desperation for something to read I requisitioned it from my then 3 year old son (who, unsurprisingly, had little interest in it). I can still remember the story (set in Zimbabwe in the year 2194). The next book I read was The House of The Scorpion (2002), another thought provoking, futuristic tale - about a boy cloned from a wealthy drug lord in order to guarantee the latter 'eternal life' (recommended for ages 11+).

This review was originally published in February 2005, and has been updated for the May 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Courting Mr. Lincoln
    Courting Mr. Lincoln
    by Louis Bayard
    19 out of 21 of our First Impression Reviewers rated Louis Bayard's latest novel, Courting Mr. ...
  • Book Jacket
    Transcription
    by Kate Atkinson
    Over her two-decade-plus career, Kate Atkinson has reinvented herself as a writer several times by ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhalation
    Exhalation
    by Ted Chiang
    Exhalation is an assemblage of nine short stories and novellas written by Ted Chiang, a computer ...
  • Book Jacket: Disappearing Earth
    Disappearing Earth
    by Julia Phillips
    On the remote peninsula of Kamchatka—tucked away on the far eastern corner of Russia and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Guest Book
    by Sarah Blake

    "An American epic in the truest sense…"
    Entertainment Weekly
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Women Rowing North
    by Mary Pipher

    The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of Reviving Ophelia.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Her Kind of Case
by Jeanne Winer

A highly-recommended emotion-filled legal drama with three starred reviews!

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Miracle Creek

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I T S Form O F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.