Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.L. Marr: Book Review & Giveaway

by Mk

in Children,Events,Fantasy & Supernatural,Fiction,Fiction Bookshelf,Giveaway

Loki's WolvesWe’re participating in the Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop and wanted to host a giveaway for a very special book, Loki’s Wolves. Bestselling fantasy authors Kelly Armstrong and Melissa Marr have teamed up to create this new novel for ages eight and up that has its roots in Nordic mythology, but with a 21st century twist. It’s Book #1 in the Blackwell Pages trilogy. Neither one of these authors needs an introduction, so let me just say that they’re even better as a team. And fantasy fans of all ages will enjoy this one, so it’s one you can read with your kids – a definite plus. I’m delighted that one of you who enter our giveaway will win an advance readers copy (ARC)!

Blackwell, South Dakota only has a population of about 2,200 people. Possibly the most striking thing about Blackwell is that most of its people are of Nordic descent, and they take their lineage very seriously. Nordic festivals, Nordic traditions, Nordic names, Nordic…well, you get the picture. There’s even a rumor that some of them are descended from two mythical Norse gods, Thor and Loki.

Thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen knows all about the legends. As a supposed Thor descendent, they’ve been drummed into him from an early age. Still – all that stuff is just myth and fairy tales, right? Wrong. The Thorsens have the power of Thor’s hammer ingrained in them, making Matt quite a bit stronger than your average thirteen year old. Instead of trying to build muscle, Matt has had to learn to curb his strength so he doesn’t hurt or kill someone accidentally. Since his dad is the sheriff in town, his behavior is under constant scrutiny. Matt can also sense any evil creature who’s nearby or when something bad is about to happen. He wishes it were a little more accurate but still it’s come in handy.

“Controlling his temper – and Thor’s Hammer – seemed especially hard around the Brekkes. It was like the Hammer knew they were related to the trickster god Loki. The cousins didn’t know that, but Matt did, and he could feel it when he looked at them.”

As descendents of Loki, thirteen-year-old Fen and Laurie Brekke should be sworn enemies of the Thorsens. The two of them are more like twins than cousins. Fen is always getting Laurie into trouble but he also watches out for her and protects her from the worst that the shape-shifting Brekke family dishes out – and that can get pretty nasty. Fen shape shifts into a wolf but he’s not sure what if anything Laurie will shift into because her gift hasn’t manifested yet. She doesn’t even know he can shift, and he’d like to keep it that way, at least for now.

“Matt started to turn. As he did, he heard a growl like a dog’s, and saw Fen lunge, eyes glinting yellow, teeth bared. Matt wheeled. The heat of the amulet flared in a wave of fury that turned his world red.
He felt the power surge down his arm. Heard the crackle. Saw his hand light up and tried to pull the power back.
Too late.”

Fen has been shuffled around a lot, and doesn’t really fit in anywhere, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that his attitude wouldn’t win him the model citizen of the year award. Laurie is almost his exact opposite, always wanting to see the best in people and being in some ways an eternal optimist – although she does love a good prank…so there’s definitely some Loki in her genes.

“Laurie helped Fen up from the ground. Her cousin wasn’t ever good at accepting help, and being knocked on his butt by Matt Thorsen of all people wasn’t helping matters.”

Matt is shocked when he discovers that the signs heralding the Ragnarok that his family has been talking about since long before he was born are finally showing up in the runes. Not only that but, and this is the biggest shock to him, he has been foretold to be the Champion of Thor. He is to lead the battle against Loki’s forces in an attempt to stop Ragnarok (the end of days). Something must be seriously wrong with the seers and the runes if they think a thirteen year old is equipped to win an epic battle like that one!

“Granddad’s voice came back on the speakers. ‘I know this may come as a surprise to some of you. Matt is, after all, only thirteen. But in Viking times, he would have been on the brink of manhood. The runes have chosen Matt as our champion, as the closest embodiment of Thor. His living representative. And they have chosen others, too, all the living embodiments of their god ancestors, all children born at the turn of the millennium…They will come, and they will fight alongside our champion. And…’ He pointed at the mosaic of Thor’s death. ‘That will not happen, because they will win and they will live.’”

Ah, but that’s just it. He overhears his relatives saying he isn’t expected to win. He’s expected to die trying to win. No way. If he’s going to fight a battle, he’s going to win it! To do that, he’s going to have to gather together the other Nordic descendents. The seer told him the only way he has even a slim chance of winning is if he can gather the others to his side, to battle with him…and that includes Loki’s descendents.

Since Matt and Fen do not like each other, that is not going to be an easy task. Luckily, Laurie likes Matt so she convinces Fen to come around. Now all the three of them have to do is find the others and prepare for the battle to end all battles, all while avoiding the other Loki-descended wolves, trolls, and various other mythical monsters – piece of cake, right?

Matt is a stand-up guy who’s caught between a rock and a hard place. All he wants to do is what normal kids in middle school do. He didn’t sign on for the hero role but if he’s put in it then he’s going to give it all he’s got. Laurie is just doing her best to keep her cousin out of trouble. She’s like a mother hen in training in that way. Seriously, she’s a great kid with a huge heart – and she’s got some amazing powers of her own that show up along this road trip to gather the gods’ descendents. Fen, well, let’s just say that Fen came off at first like a juvenile delinquent in training; however, as his back story unfolded and the depth to his character began to appear, it became clear that there’s much more there than his bad boy act.

I’ve always loved Kelly Armstrong’s and Melissa Marr’s books, and they make a dynamite team on this novel. According to their web site, they plotted the novel together. Then Kelly wrote Matt’s character and Melissa wrote Fen’s and Laurie’s characters. However they handled it all logistically, it blends together beautifully into a fun, action-adventure filled with mythology – gods, monsters, supernatural gifts, oh my! I had a great time reading Loki’s Wolves. It makes mythology come alive in a way that middle school kids can relate to – Whoot! It’s completely clean and none of the violence is over the top. And someone is going to win a copy!

Book #2, Odin’s Ravens, will be released in 2014 and Book #3, Thor’s Serpent, will be released in 2015…and I can hardly wait!

Can’t wait to read it?

Loki’s Wolves was published on May 7, 2013, so it’s available from your favorite online bookseller below. Just click the button to go there to get it.

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I’d love to get your comments on Loki’s Wolves, Kelly Armstrong or Melissa Marr, and/or this review.

If you like this review, please contribute to our Reviewers’ Caffeine Fund in the right-hand column. Just a cup a day, that’s all we ask.

 

 

Children's Book Week Giveaway Hop

Our Giveaway:
One lucky reader will win an ARC of Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr!

Once you’ve entered our giveaway, click on the link below the Rafflecopter form to check out the other book-related giveaways in the Children’s Book Giveaway Hop!

Giveaway Rules:
1) The deadline for entries is Sunday night, 5/19/2013, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 13 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form.
5)  If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you. Please allow 4-6 weeks for book delivery.
6) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!

If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before to enter a giveaway, here’s a little 45 sec. video on how to do it:

How to Enter Rafflecopter Giveaways from Rafflecopter on Vimeo.

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Click here to go to the other giveaways in the Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop!

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