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Runemarksby Joanne Harris
"Novelist of Chocolat fame, Joanne Harris is a fine storyteller. Runemarks...is her first novel for kids; some passages may be too disturbing for very young children, but what makes this novel special and appealing to readers young and old is its retelling of classic Norse tales, its gifted prose and captivating dialogue." Danielle Marshall, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Seven o'clock 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 Smith's 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 Maddy's 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.
Joanne Harris has created an epic romp into the heart of the old Norse tales, imagining a world after the end of all things, and the ancient forces that must be unleashed in order to remake the world yet again.
"In Norse myth the whole world ended with Ragnark, the last battle, at which the gods were defeated and after which eternal winter descended. In her highly successful first children's novel, however, the author of the bestselling Chocolat tells readers what happened next. The supposed end of all things is now centuries past and the Middle World is ruled by the Order, a repressive theocracy reminiscent of the Magisterium in Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. Maddy, born with a rune of power on her hand, is deeply unpopular in her backwoods village. Thorny and imaginative, she is believed to be a witch by the locals who would have cast her out long ago if she didn't have a convenient talent for controlling the goblins that infest their cellars. Such creatures are thick in the village because of its proximity to Red Horse Hill, a place of ancient power. Then Maddy's life is transformed when she meets first One-Eye, a mysterious traveler who agrees to train her in the ways of Farie, and then Lucky, the trickster captain of the goblins under the hill. Throughout, Harris demonstrates a knack for moving seamlessly between the serious and the comic, and her lengthy book moves swiftly. Playing fast and loose with Norse mythology, she creates a glorious and complex world replete with rune-basedmagical spells, bickering gods, exciting adventures and difficult moral issues. Maddy's destiny, readers realize, is to remake the world, but to succeed she must first remake herself into someone worthy of that fate. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Harris] brings a lot of wit and scholarship to this endeavor and delivers an adventure that will please a wide array of readers, especially those who appreciate a fantasy saga that actually resolves itself satisfyingly in a single volume." San Francisco Chronicle
"This epic-strength novel may bring as much attention to Norse legends as Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series has to their Greek neighbors, and fantasy enthusiasts will find much to enjoy in this complex tale." School Library Journal
"The Lightning Thief meets The Sea of Trolls in this well-executed, if rather plodding children's debut....A mini-course in Norse mythology for the tween set." Kirkus Reviews
"Harris keeps it all spinning with luscious detail and a firm grasp of the mythic implications of all the shifting relationships....So my advice to Harry Potter addicts is: Give yourself over to other books....Runemarks wouldn't be a bad place to start." Newsday
"What will appeal is Harris' down-to-earth portrayal of the deities, whose peevish squabbling and casual, sometimes profane language could have been lifted straight from a high-school cafeteria." Booklist
This major fantasy debut from bestselling author Joanne Harris is a magical and epic romp — a fresh, funny, and wonderfully irreverent new take on the old Norse tales.
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.
About the Author
Joanne Harris's books, which include Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange, have been published in over 40 countries and have won numerous international awards. She lives in England with her husband and daughter.
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