Saturday, January 19, 2013

Runelight by Joanne Harris (book 2)

Yabba dabba doo! While there is no Fred Flintstone some of the Norse gods are painted in a cartoonish way. While I found the ravens with their Scottish accent enduring, the anachronistic wolfmen with their dude-speak was quite annoying. You'll have to read the book to decide for yourself who ye like and who ye dinnae like verra much (raven-speak). Actually you need to read the first book before this one because the author doesn't spend much time explaining the world she created in book 1. I had forgotten how the runes worked and who the Whisperer was before getting some glimpses on page 200 to jar my itty-bitty memory. But I like Norwegian mythology so inspite of the flaws, I did enjoy the tale and the author's twist on the creation story.

Maddy, the protagonist from book 1, Runemarks, is back and discovers that she has a sister, Maggie. The two have new runemarks that the gods want to use to build Asgard once again. As Maggie is used by one powerful god, Maddy is used by another. Neither blindly follow the gods and as they make friends they learn that trust can always be betrayed.

Maddy doesn't show up in the story until page 100 and like a dip I didn't figure out that Maggie was not Maddy until then. I have not read book one in a couple of years and had problems putting two and two together. Maggie's character is not as engaging as Maddy in book one and that was my biggest problem. I just couldn't buy Maggie and Adam as a couple. I kept thinking her strict upbringing would not have caused her to act as she did, although the author tries to show that it was loneliness that made her choose Adam. Perhaps if the Whisperer had revealed some flaw or some hint of a love in his past, then I think I would have enjoyed the character development more. The threesome was a bit flat and I never got sucked into their story like Maddy's tale in book 1.

Loki is the most interesting character for me and again I found him fascinating. The author does a great job making him a complex web of good decisions and bad decisions. I found his wife annoying at first but her unconditional love is used in an interesting twist at the end that I didn't see coming. The Loki/Maddy interest in each other is dropped completely in this book.

The prophecy was yabba dabba dumb. I'm not usually that harsh but it was a lazy Fred Flintstonish way to not foreshadow the plot and with the rock-a-bye baby nursery rhyme I found myself gritting my teeth and skimming it so I didn't have to read it. I realize mythology is full of oracles and prophecies, but I wish the author had handled it differently. The ending suggests a sequel but I'm not sure. It would be just another reworking of the same plot. Book 1 and book 2 are basically saving the world from destruction. Book 3 would be saving the world from  Maggie's Bamm-Bamm. Or would it?

Young Adult
3 out of 5 Smileys

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