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Nancy Farmer – The Sea of Trolls

April 15, 2009

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.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Books and Other Thoughts, A Hoyden’s Look at Literature
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First Line: Jack woke before dawn and listened to the cold February wind lash the walls of the house.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2009 10:23 pm

    I really enjoyed this one when I read it several years ago. This and The House of the Scorpion got me on a Nancy Farmer kick. I haven’t read the sequel yet, but now I’m thinking it might add it to my read-a-thon list!

    • Jill permalink
      May 19, 2011 10:37 pm

      these are kids books……I DONT EVEN ENJOY THEM

  2. April 16, 2009 3:40 am

    I don’t know that much about Norse mythology but I tend to like any story with any mythology in it lol. Sounds like a unique story!

  3. April 16, 2009 10:43 am

    Shelley – I haven’t heard anything about The House of the Scorpion – I’m guessing you’d recommend it? I’ve got the sequel to Sea of Trolls all queued up on my iPod for once I finish my current audiobook.

    Ladytink – You might want to give this one a try – it would be a pretty painless way to get some more Norse mythology into your reading diet, and it uses the mythology in some interesting ways.

  4. April 16, 2009 12:15 pm

    I would definitely recommend The House of the Scorpion. It’s more of a speculative fiction novel, if you like that kind of thing.

  5. liz (aka Conan) permalink
    April 16, 2009 6:09 pm

    Nancy Farmer has to be one of my very favorite YA authors, she’s not prolific but what she writes is always outstanding, House of the Scorpion is amazing, creeping old rich guys cloning themselves for extra parts … when one clone catches on! Also The Ear, The Arm and The Eye, the gun battle at the top of the mile high hotel and the society in the trash heap are .. WOW.

  6. April 17, 2009 11:08 am

    Shelly – Sounds good! Off to my wishlist…

    liz – Okay, okay already, I give, I already said I’m off to my wishlist! :)

  7. April 17, 2009 2:06 pm

    Fantasy and Norse mythology – definitely sounds like a book for me.

  8. April 17, 2009 2:31 pm

    Nymeth – If you do get a chance to read it, I’d be curious to see what you think, since I think you’re probably more familiar with Norse mythology than I am and might have a different perspective on how Farmer uses it.

  9. brycet93 permalink
    April 28, 2009 10:24 pm

    best book i have read in a while…liked scorpion and i just finished the sequel, also liked the eye,ear,arm one. I was practically heartbroken along with frustrated after thorgil left in the first book but once they found here again i was overjoyed…missed the other norsemen though and their parties etc…but i find this book amazingly contraditory over religion and almost convinced myself into switching from christian after the second one… hoping the following works out; ethne and king brutus(roman irony anyone) , jack ond thorgil, pega and bugaboo marry it would be a happy ending although some won’t happen

  10. April 30, 2009 2:50 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this! I sure did. I will be curious to hear what you think of the sequel, since I plan to listen to it, but it will be a while because I have a ton of things on my iPod to listen to right now.

  11. April 30, 2009 3:23 pm

    Darla – I’m almost done listening to it, and while it’s been good, I liked the first one better. Ah well! Now I just need to figure out what I’m listening to next!

  12. beau permalink
    April 20, 2012 9:28 pm

    is their any free audiobooks for the sea of trolls online? ive wanted to read it but the only time im not busy is when im driving places for work.

    • April 24, 2012 2:00 pm

      Beau – Have you tried your local library? That’s where I get almost all of my audiobooks.


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