Friday, September 09, 2005

The Sea of Trolls - Nancy Farmer

The Sea of Trolls is excellent; it makes Katherine Langrish's Troll Fell and Troll Mill look like Norse myth-lite. I love the fact that Nancy Farmer has included both an appendix, explaining the myths that are mentioned in the book (eg. Bards & Skalds, Ivar the Boneless, etc.) and a list of sources so the interested reader can follow up the book by reading Norse Tales, or reading about the Norse Myths and Gods, or the Vikings.

I liked young Jack the Saxon apprentice-bard, and Olaf One-Brow who, in spite of his reputation as a Viking Berserker, isn't all bad (Jack believes that there's a Good Olaf and a Bad Olaf, a nice Jungian conception). Thorgil is an interesting character, a shield maiden with a Berserker's blood, who's desperate to die so she can go to Valhalla and who hates Jack - but he saves her life anyway.

I highly recommend this book.


Anonymous said...

I liked the book for all the reasons you mention, but also because Farmer hints that trolls really might have existed - she leaves it as an open question!

Also, the Jack and Jill allusion was great, especially the idea of how, in giving up what they each think they want most, they wind up getting what they really want. Although overall the plot seemed to wander a bit too much for me - but that seems to be characteristic of her writing.

Michele said...

I can't say that I noticed the plot wandering at all - I was too gripped ! :-D

Yes I liked the suggestion that Trolls really existed - and the reference to Jack and Jill of nursery rhyme fame (esp. Jack's assurance to Thorgil/Jill that her poem would last far longer than anyone else's !) I thought it was interesting that both Jack and Thorgil were thinking that they would have to sacrifice a limb or their life for the sake of drinking from the Well, only to find it was something far different, and in Thorgil's case, something a lot more intangible.

A brilliant book which I will have to add to my Wants list !