Nancy Farmer – The Sea of Trolls
40. The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer (2006)
Sea of Trolls, Book 1
Read By: Gerard Doyle
Length: 13h 54m (480 pages)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Started: 18 March 2009
Finished: 14 April 2009
Kidnapped by Vikings,
Jack must face trolls – and worse – in
order to go home.
Summary: Jack thought he was just an ordinary farm boy until he became an apprentice to the local bard – who is teaching him music, but also the magic of the Life Force. When his village is attacked by Viking berserkers, and he and his little sister are taken as thralls, he doesn’t know the perils in store for him – in order to survive and maybe get home, he’ll have to learn to deal with the Northmen, face down dragons, brave the perils of troll country, and learn more about magic than he ever thought possible.
Review: This book’s got an excellent blend of fantasy, mythology, epic hero’s quest, magic, morality, and coming of age story. I’m not sure exactly what the target age is – Jack’s twelve, which would usually indicate mid-grade, but there’s enough mythology, character development, plot complexity, and generally more mature feeling to the storyline that it reads as more of a young adult. Norse mythology is something I came to only very lately in my reading life, so it’s interesting to see it worked into fantasy in a new way, and it would be a very palatable and memorable introduction for someone who doesn’t know the myths themselves. Plus, there’s some very interesting blending with Saxon magic/mythology, including a different perspective on the story of Beowulf that will probably be taken in stride by younger readers, but made me go “Wait, Beowulf?!?” All around, this is a solid, and solidly entertaining, piece of fantasy adventure, and my only real complaint is that the pseudo-romantic storyline that kept getting hinted at never went anywhere… although the kids *are* only twelve, plus there’s a sequel – which I’ll definitely be reading. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Original, well-crafted, and enjoyable young adult fantasy. It may not be destined to become a favorite, but it’s good fun, and well worth reading.
First Line: Jack woke before dawn and listened to the cold February wind lash the walls of the house.