BookBrowse Reviews Runemarks by Joanne Harris

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


by Joanne Harris

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 544 pages
    Oct 2009, 544 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book



An epic of Norse mythology by the author of Chocolat for readers aged 12+

Joanne Harris has already proved her versatility with her books for adults such as Chocolat (1999), Five Quarters of the Orange (2001), Holy Fools (2004) and Gentlemen and Players (2006); now she breaks new territory with a novel for teens - and what a great read it is!

500 years after Ragnarok (the end of the world according to Norse mythology), Maddy Smith lives a quiet life in a sleepy village a long way from the center of power at World's End. So far away that even the Examiners of "The Order" rarely visit; so while the "ruinmark" on Maddy's hand and her inquisitive nature have caused her to be set apart from the others in the village, who believe imagination to be a sin, with some even mumbling "witch" behind her back, at least she has been saved from the Cleansing which would definitely have resulted if the Order were aware of her ...

The Story Behind The Book
Joanne Harris first full-length novel was a sprawling 1000- page monster called Witchlight, written when she was nineteen and rejected by every publisher; but before that Joanne doodled her way through school creating complicated comic-strips inspired by Astérix but starring the Norse Gods who she found "more attractive somehow, funnier and more human and hugely more dramatic" than the Greek and Roman gods. The only problem was that there weren't enough stories, so the young Joanne busied herself writing more, all set in a post-Ragnarok world in which the gods did not die as was prophesized, but instead survived with reduced powers.

A few years ago, she dragged the manuscript of Witchlight out of its drawer and read it aloud to her daughter, Anouchka, who loved it so much that Joanne started another story just for fun, and just ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and "beyond the book" articles are part of the many benefits of membership and, thus, are generally only available to subscribers, including individual members and patrons of libraries that subscribe.

Join Today

Member Login

Library Patrons

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.