Saturday, January 14, 2006

Giants of the Frost - Kim Wilkins

I promised a review of Kim Wilkins' Giants of the Frost at the start of the year. But first, a quick word to say that at 4 pm (GMT), I hit the "send" button with a big sigh of relief as my Tolkien essay went whizzing off to America... So that's that done - and never again will I agree to research and write a 9000 word article in the space of 3.5 months, whilst working 30 hours a week at a "day job" ! I'm going to enjoy the two weeks' R&R I've promised myself...

Victoria Scott, the heroine of Giants of the Frost is a scientist, insomniac and a hardened sceptic who accepts a job at an isolated weather station on an island in the Norwegian Sea. She's running away from two broken engagements and the certain knowledge that love is a lie. But there are strange shadows outside her cabin window, a hag who visits in her in her nightmares - and a disturbing sense of familiarity in the forest. Meanwhile, in Asgard, the world of the old gods, Odin's son Vidar has exiled himself from his cruel family to await the reincarnation of his beloved: a Midgard woman whom his father murdered a thousand years before. And deep in the black, twisted roots of the World Tree, the three Norns spin and weave the fates of everyone. Vidar must escape his destiny, but the price may be more than anyone will be prepared to pay.

This is a very gripping book - akin to Neil Gaiman's American Gods in the way that Victoria and Shadow respectively deal with the old gods and the supernatural when they encounter in their every day lives. I find it interesting that more and more fantasy writers are turning to Norse mythology for their stories: Neil Gaiman, Kim Wilkins, Nancy Farmer and Katherine Langrish have all published books in the last few years. And of course, Tolkien took much of his inspiration from Icelandic mythology (the Norse sagas and the Finnish Kalevala).


Kerry said...

I had this book on my "hmmm, looks interesting" list, but I may have to upgrade it now.

I haven't read any Kim Wilkins, but I thought "The Autumn Castle" sounded good. Have you read that one and can you make a comment on it?

Michele said...

Not yet - I knew nothing of it until after I'd read Giants and went looking for more info. on Wilkins - I'm a great picker-up-of-random-books when in the library ! A title (or occasionally a cover) catches my eye - I look at the blurb and then bring it home. Giants was one such book and it was only after I'd read it that I decided to find out what else Wilkins had written, and then found out it had a "stand alone prequel" ! (That is, that the book she wrote before it belongs in the Europa Suite series, but both books can be read separately and in either order...) It's on my To Be Borrowed list !

Kerry said...

I'll check my library for 'Giants of the Frost', although when I'll find a space to read it, I don't know. (Online reading groups have their down sides as my personal TBR mountain doesn't get accessed as rapidly as it might otherwise.)

I like at least to consider Norse based fantasy after 'Eight Days of Luke' was my first Diana Wynne Jones novel many, many years ago.

Michele said...

Ah well, I'm only in one online reading group - and I won't even be reading the next Fantasy Favourites book (I read it already, and didn't think that much of the series, although I did enjoy the first book). Besides, with the amount I need to read for writing essays, I can't afford to let my TBR pile get too far out of control.

I had a real Norse-fantasy year last year - funny how things work out sometimes.