Loki’s Wolves

11438693

Author: K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Publication: 2013, Little, Brown and Co.

Pages: 358

Overall Rating: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Rating for Action: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_35_zps7a173504[1]

Age Category: 9-12

Brief Summary: Matt is a descendant of the Norse god, Thor.  Fen and Laurie are descended from Loki.  Up till now, they’ve all lived relatively normal lives (well, except for Fen who can turn into a wolf and has to steal to pay dues to his wolf pack).  But Ragnorak is coming.  It’s the end of the world, the final battle between Thor and the Midgard Serpent.  And Matt has been chosen as Thor’s champion.  To save the world, he’ll have to team up with Laurie and Fen, find the descendants of the other gods, and locate his magical hammer and shield.  But trolls, wolves, and a host of other monsters stand in their way, determined to stop them at any cost.

Age of Main Character: 13

What I Liked the Most: Armstrong and Marr set a light, humorous tone similar to Rick Riordan.  While there’s enough setbacks and angst to keep the story interesting, flowing beneath it all is a strong vein of humor.  You can tell the authors had a lot of fun writing this one, and that sense of joy is infectious.  It creates a rollicking good adventure replete with gods, monsters, and the whole panoply of Norse mythology.  What’s not to love?

What I Liked the Least: Unlike Riordan, Armstrong and Marr don’t devote quite as much attention to background.  While Matt might be very familiar with tales of Ragnarok, Loki, Thor, and the Midgard Serpent, I’m not and I didn’t come away with all that much sense of what the stories are or how they unfold.  Same when Matt and company meet the Norns or the Valkyries, or fight off trolls.  The authors provide the bare minimum of information on who these creatures were within Norse mythology, and that sometimes made it hard to fully appreciate what was happening.  There’s also no such thing as Riordan’s mist or Cassandra Clare’s glamor to hide what’s going on in the world of the gods.  Which made me wonder what regular people saw when the trolls came to life or Valkyries rode out on their steeds.  It’s a minor issue, but just points to the larger question of whether Armstrong and Marr could have done a bit more to develop of their world of Norse gods and mythical beings, all alive and well in the present day Dakotas.

How Good was the Action? It falls solidly into the swashbuckling camp.  It’s not likely to get your blood pumping, but it sure is fun.  Whether Matt and his friends are battling a pack of giant wolves or trying to take down a stone troll, Armstrong and Marr manage to strike a balance between humor and manic energy.  You’re never truly afraid for Matt and his friends, but each battle is just too much damn fun to stop reading.

How Engaging was the Story? This is good lighthearted fare that made for several hours of enjoyable reading.  I wasn’t chomping at the bit to read the next book in the series, but I had a good time with this one and when my ten year old daughter saw what I was reading she was excited, too.  I think the main thing that kept Loki’s Wolves from being as engaging as it might otherwise have been was that by the end of book one in the series, we still haven’t met the story’s primary villain.  The stand-in is Skull, leader of a pack of raiders, or wulfenkind.    And while he’s tough enough, he didn’t have anywhere near the evil chops to make me truly worried for Matt and his friends.

Profanity: None

Sex: None

Violence: Some, but there’s minimal bloodshed and most of the violence has a light, swashbuckling, and often humorous tone to it.

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