Review by Booklist Review
Ragnarok, the gods' war, has come and gone, leaving the human realm in chaos. Eiric, son of Sylvi, loses his mother after she gives birth to his brother and is left to die along with the baby. Reggin, a healer who's been sold into slavery to strange monster Alger, has traveled her entire life and fears the anger of her master. When Eiric and Reggin cross paths in an alehouse, an attraction forms, though neither expects to see the other again. Eiric returns home to try to save his family's farm with the help of his half sister Liv, while Reggin narrowly escapes to learn magic from wyrdspinners. But magic nudges them back together and toward the old gods of Asgard. Chima has been a fixture on best-seller lists as long as she's been writing, and this new series has the depth to grab epic fantasy fans. Mythology-based books draw natural comparisons to Rick Riordan, though this less-humorous offering may hit the spot for readers growing out of Riordan's many series.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This sweeping, Norse myth--inspired series opener from Chima (the Shattered Realms series) follows Eiric Halvorsen and Reggin Eiklund, two white-cued 16-year-olds desperate for freedom. To avoid their extended family's wrath after killing their abusive stepfather in self-defense, fisherman and farmer Eiric, a Viking descended from gods, and his half sister Liv strike a deal with regional leader Jarl Karlsen: if the siblings locate a rumored stronghold of witches, or wyrdspinners, Karlsen will pay off the siblings' persecutors. Elsewhere, Reggin Eiklund, a spellsinging, runecasting foundling indebted to fire demon Asger, plays music, peddles remedies, and runs cons for Asger's financial gain while leeching her energy to sustain himself. When Reggin performs sorcery one night at an alehouse, two wyrdspinners offer refuge from Asger at the Academy of the Grove, a hidden paradise and training ground. Chima toggles between Eiric's and Reggin's equally electrifying perspectives, and the tension, stakes, and complications mount as their paths intertwine. The vibrantly characterized, racially diverse cast is replete with courageous, resourceful women, imparting feminist undertones. Despite its scope, length, and complexity, Chima's epic never outstays its welcome, stoking anticipation for the sequel. Ages 13--up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Nov.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up--This action-adventure packed with gods, demons, magic, and Norse mythology follows two 16-year-olds: Eiric, a Viking descended from gods, and Reginn, a foundling with magic. Eiric and his sister, Liv, have been found guilty of murdering their mother and stepfather following a rigged trial, and must bargain with a neighboring jarl or lose everything--including their family's unusually bountiful farm. If they can find the mythical, magical island stronghold of witches, called wyrdspinners, the jarl will pay their blood price. Reginn has spent her life traveling and using her sorcery to perform wonders, all while being leeched by a fire demon she would do anything to escape. After a performance, wyrdspinners invite her to the academy at the Grove, the island sanctuary for sorcerers, and offer freedom from her demon. Characters converge on the Temple at the Grove, naturally tying the plotlines together. Intricately plotted so that even the twists have twists, this book is exactly as long as it needs to be and leaves readers excited for the sequel. Chima proved an expert at balancing multiple points of view and intricate plotlines with her "Seven Realms" quartet, and those skills shine here. The main cast is white, with diversity in the secondary characters. VERDICT Infused with Norse mythos and spellbinding from start to finish, Chima's new series should find its way into every library. Hand this to fantasy fans and younger readers aging into YA.--Emmy Neal
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
This first entry in the Runestone Saga series introduces readers to a world of witches, gods, demons, and humans. Drawing on Norse mythology, this ambitious, original story captivates from beginning to end. Eiric Halvorsen and his mysterious half sister, Liv, are fighting to maintain ownership of Sundgard, their unusually prosperous farm located in the depressed land of Muckleholm; Sten, their drunken stepfather, has designs on it himself. When their mother, Sylvi, dies of exposure while protecting the infant son that Sten has rejected and left out to die, Liv and Eiric know they will be the next victims. Instead, they kill Sten and, for protection, make a deal with Jarl Harald, the regional leader, to search out a group of mythical islands, where the volur, or witches, live. A concurrent storyline follows Reggin, a thrall enslaved by fire demon Asger. Reggin is forced to use her considerable healing and musical abilities to make money, but worse is the painful transmission of her energy that Asger takes by touch to sustain himself. Eventually these two plots converge in a satisfying, organic way. The novel is lively and well told, with twists galore. Liv and Reggin are portrayed as strong, nuanced women; Reggin has a lovely, dry wit. Eiric is a classic Viking. Main characters are White; secondary characters bring racial diversity. This innovative story with a satisfying ancient mythology baseline strikes a refreshing note for the genre. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.