When this was good it was excellent, but a lot of the chapters were very dry and dense and loaded with historical info. It wasn't quite the novel I haWhen this was good it was excellent, but a lot of the chapters were very dry and dense and loaded with historical info. It wasn't quite the novel I had expected and it took a good deal longer to read than I anticipated (thanks to those chapters that seemed more at home in a scholarly work than a fantasy novel) but I enjoyed the legends and mythology that laid the groundwork for this one!
Maya's love for her little sister, the wonder of the Night Bazaar, flesh-eating horse demons, glass gardens, the romance...from the very first sentencMaya's love for her little sister, the wonder of the Night Bazaar, flesh-eating horse demons, glass gardens, the romance...from the very first sentence I was utterly spellbound and completely lost myself to Chokshi's incredible world and her fantastic characters. Without giving too much away, I have to say The Star-Touched Queen was so breathtakingly beautiful - Chokshi's writing is nothing short of lyrical and the entire book has a dreamy, fairytale-like quality to it that I couldn't help but love! At a time when trilogies and series are hotter than hot, this standalone that's heavily steeped in mythology and folklore was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and I'm thrilled to say it did not disappoint! I hate to be so stinkin' vague but, seriously, get a copy of this book. Now.
I'm quickly discovering that Jennifer McMahon has an incredible talent and I'm not about to let another year go by without reading more of her work. LI'm quickly discovering that Jennifer McMahon has an incredible talent and I'm not about to let another year go by without reading more of her work. Luckily for me, she's got quite a backlist! Needless to say I absolutely loved The Night Sister, easily ranking among my favorites of 2015. If you're new to this author, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this one.
Everything you need to know about The Reluctant Reaper can be found in its summary: on her 25th birthday, Kithis review will go live on the blog10/18
Everything you need to know about The Reluctant Reaper can be found in its summary: on her 25th birthday, Kirsty d'Arc was accidentally reaped when she jumped in front of a scythe meant for her boss. The man who was more like a father to her had offered up her soul in exchange for fame and fortune and now the Reaper has come to collect. Suffice it to say things didn't exactly go according to plan. Kirsty's body is technically still alive, though in a near-vegetative state, meaning she's stuck in Hell until Reaper management can sort out the whole mess.
The Reluctant Reaperscreamed guilty pleasure and I was really looking forward to spending a giggle-filled afternoon with it. Just like Dante's reaping, however, things went awry. Speaking of, that reaper Dante? Turns out he's the Dante Alighieri. Perhaps you've heard of a little work called The Divine Comedy? Yeah, that's him. Only now he's wavy-haired and hunkalicious. His undeniable mastery over the written word is sorely lacking in this novel, causing him to come off as more of a lovesick teenage boy than the famed poet.
If Dante's poetry was the worst thing about The Reluctant Reaper I would have been happy. Instead I was thrown pun after pun, to the point where it was no longer punny (I am so sorry). I'm all about cheesy. Witty phrases and plays-on-words are so my thing. Here, though, they were taken a step too far and after a few chapters it began to feel as though a conversation (or Kirsty's running narrative, for that matter) couldn't happen without a handful of puns. In the beginning I truly giggled and thought they were clever. A few chapters in they began losing their luster and by the end of the book I was flat-out frustrated. Sybil Serpent (and her union!), gee-gnomes and metro-gnomes, the GI's (Good Intentions) that line the roads, Sue Sayer and Claire Voyant, and Dante's gargoyle Jenni (because her fur gets all over - Jennifur harhar) all made multiple appearances. There were times the author must have been feeling especially clever because she would set up a paragraph of dialog - that usually had nothing to do with the current topic - just so she could whip out a phrase. Enough is enough, madam.
If it wasn't such (I accidentally typed suck at first - that should tell you what my mind thought of this book!) a short, quick read I highly doubt I would have finished. I went into The Reluctant Reaper expecting a fun, light-hearted story. Instead I got a story VERY heavy on the jokes and not so interested in actual plot. Kirsty spent the majority of the novel wandering around Hell simply taking in all the sights and sounds. I wanted to like this book, but sadly it wasn't for me....more
Back in February I reviewed the first book, The Colossus Rises and instantly knew it would be a hit with the Percy Jackson crowd. I've waited (not-so-patiently I'm afraid!) eight long months, but the sequel is finally here! I couldn't wait to dive back into this fun, imaginative world - hello, ancient wonders!
Jack, Aly, Marco, and Cass are all Selects: they bear a special gene that allows their natural talents to grow and expand. Unfortunately, this gift comes at a price; no Select has ever lived past their 14th birthday. In The Colossus Rises Jack was taken from his home and send to the Karai Institute, a compound so totally remote and off the grid that even the employees working there aren't entirely sure where they're located. Under the care of Professor Bhegad (and Torquin, my favorite red-bearded Bigfoot), the kids search for a possible cure - one that's buried deep within the seven ancient wonders.
After narrowly avoiding a run-in with griffins and a band of crazy monks, the kids are now headed to Babylon's Hanging Gardens. Unlike last time, however, they're not aiming for the ruins: they're going back in time.
I'm so pleased to say Lost in Babylon doesn't suffer from the Second Book Syndrome! Believe it or not, it just might be better than the first! With the world building and explanations out of the way, Lost in Babylon is able to jump right into the action - and it does so spectacularly. In a very happy accident, Marco discovered a way to go back in time - go into the river in the present day and exit thousands of years in the past. Aided by a sweet Babylonian girl (I'd love to see more of her in future books!), the four begin their search for the next Loculus: Invisibility.
In my review of the first book I mentioned the children feeling like real kids and that holds true for this book as well. Thirteen years old, being told they're not going to live to see their next birthday, they've got no idea where they're being kept and aren't able to contact their families, that would be difficult for anyone to handle. They're scared. They're frustrated and angry. They miss their parents. As much as I love the historical aspect of this series, I really love seeing these kids react to their situation and grow.
Lost in Babylon digs deeper into the mystery surrounding the Selects and provides a bit of backstory and history - how these Loculi were formed and why. Jack also discovers that a long-lost family member might not be so lost after all. The third book, The Tomb of Shadows, doesn't come out until May - but you can bet I'll be reading it the moment is does! I've recommended this series to many people - friends, customers, family members - and will continue to do so. Anyone who enjoys a fun adventure story with a bit of history will be sure to enjoy these books!...more
On the morning I was scheduled to die, a large barefoot man with a bushy red beard waddled past my house.
That, my friends, is how you start a book.
Jack McKinley was just like any other 13-year old boy: always woke up late for school, didn't want a babysitter while his father worked out of town, dreaded math tests. His world changed one morning when he passed out just before school. The next thing he knew he was in a hospital with the strange red-beared man claiming he was a doctor. Suddenly Jack was whisked away to a totally remote island - radar doesn't work there, it's not on any map, even the inhabitants aren't entirely sure where they are.
Along with Jack, three other 13-year olds are housed at the giant compound: the Karai Institute. There's Marco, athlete extraordinaire; Aly, a genius hacker; and Cass, able to memorize anything. Jack learns he's not like other kids. He's one of the Select, an extremely small group of kids who possess a specific gene. This gene allows their natural talents to expand and become heightened. Unfortunately, Jack also learns that no Select has lived past 14. It's at the Institute that Jack receives treatment in order to halt his impending doom - and possible discover the secrets of Atlantis in the process.
The Colossus Rises was fun! It started out a bit slow and bogged-down with all the world-building and explanation, but once the action started, I settled in and enjoyed the ride.
The Select all bear a white λ in their hair. I don't know if it'll become key in the following books, but it seemed unnecessary in this one. Especially since it doesn't really do anything - Aly dyed her hair and her λ is covered, resulting in...nothing. It makes the Select special snowflakes and nothing more.
While reading I couldn't figure out if certain characters were good guys or bad guys. Even after finishing I'm still questioning certain actions and scenes. The Professor in particular. He used these children as pawns, as a way to discover the heart of Atlantis and uncover the seven hidden powers. However, there were times when it truly felt as though he cared for them.
The children were great. Jack, Cass, Marco, Aly, they all had their own personalities and felt like real kids. They questioned authority, they were scared, they joked around, they missed their parents. Marco was loud and boisterous to the point of being annoying and overdone, but even he was great. Although I could have done without his constant Brother Jack/Sister Aly.
The thing about horror - real-life horror, not the kind you see in movies - is that it is so silent. No screaming sound track, no fancy camera angles. Just two bodies vanishing into the shadows. Gravity doing its work.
Things really got good toward the end. After a mistake on Jack's part unleashes griffins the kids uncover old riddles and codes telling them where to go to track down the seven powers. The seven wonders of the ancient world. Their first stop: the Colossus of Rhodes. Unfortunately for them, the statue has long since been destroyed and what's left is buried deep under the sea.
The Colossus Rises is a wonderful start to a new series! Although my studies dealt with other aspects of history, I've always been fascinated with ancient history - the Greeks in particular. The seven wonders of the ancient world? Sign me up! From the moment I first heard about this book I was intrigued and I wasn't disappointed. I'm hoping that, with the world-building and explanations out of the way, the next book will jump right into the action. I can easily see this series appealing to a younger crowd although I certainly enjoyed it myself!...more
The Menagerie is a book that caught my attention the moment I first heard of it. I recently discovered my library had a copy and immediately requested in. I was absolutely delighted that no one else had put a hold on it or had it checked out; I could get started right away!
Logan Wilde is having a pretty crummy summer. His mother left home one day and later sent a postcard stating she wouldn't be returning home to Logan and his father. Naturally the two are hurt and heartbroken and Logan's dad makes the decision to quit his job as a lawyer, pack up, and move to a tiny nowhere town in Wyoming - hoping to find some sort of clue as to where his wife went.
Now Logan is stuck in Xanadu and can't seem to make a friend out of the whopping 24 students in Seventh Grade. That all changes one day after overhearing Zoe's - the weirdest girl in school - and Blue's - the most popular boy in school - frantic worries about Zoe's missing dog. Zoe and Blue are the last two people Logan would ever imagine talking to, let alone hanging out with, and offers his aid in locating the missing pet. As if that wasn't strange enough, Logan comes home to discover a baby griffin in his bed. A baby griffin that can talk to him.
Griffins, strange conversations, and stores missing their entire stock of food? Just what on earth is happening in Xanadu?
Okay, be honest: who wouldn't want to find out griffins, yeti, and unicorns are real? & not just that, but they're all being housed in your own town! Logan's reaction to this realization is, naturally, pure shock. Ultimately his initial surprise wears off and is simply in awe of the creatures he sees. Zoe's house is in near-total seclusion on an enormous area of land. The Menagerie can be found there and it's under the protection of Zoe's family. And Blue...well, turns out he's half merman. And, yeah, about the lost 'dog.' Somehow six griffin babies escaped their pen in the middle of the night and it's up to Zoe's family (along with Blue) to find them. Having griffins run amok in town would be a cause for panic anytime, but the SNAPA - SuperNatural Animal Protection Agency - are set to drop in for an inspection and if those griffins aren't found by the end of the week, the Menagerie could be shut down. Or worse.
Giant hellhounds who are actually big, loveable, and slobbery; a mammoth named Captain Fuzzbutt; and an ADORABLE griffin named Squorp (who happens to love hamburgers) made The Menagerie an absolute joy. Add in shout-outs to Diana Wynne Jones, Men in Black, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and SO many more. This book was a ton of fun, although I will say there was a downside: everything wrapped up a little too nicely for me. Logan just happened to be right - on the first try - anytime he guessed at a location for one of the griffins. Also, the ending was a total cliffhanger and there were multiple plots left hanging. There were a lot of questions I had that weren't answered, but I have high hopes for the sequel!...more
My love of cozies knows no bounds. They're such a guilty pleasure and when I heard about this new series, I immediately pounced on it.
After Ella Mae LaFaye discovered her husband of seven years in an elevator entertaining a pair of redheaded twins, she grabbed her dog Chewy and left New York. She headed for her own of Havenwood, Georgia where her mother and aunts welcomed her back and wasted no time helping Ella Mae get back on her feet.
Years of culinary school left her with a burning passion for baking - and a dream of opening her own bakery. Luckily for Ella Mae, the perfect location just went on the market. With customers just short of beating down the door, business is booming until a well-respected doctor is murdered - and Ella Mae's rolling pin is found at the scene.
Pies & Prejudice was a ton of fun! Going into it, I hadn't realized it was a paranormal mystery, though I guess that little fact was glaringly obvious. With character names like LaFaye and a villain's license plate reading SIREN it goes without saying I figured things out a little quicker than Ella Mae. :)
Hands down, the best thing about this book were the pies. MMM, pie. Shoofly, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan, Banana Pudding, I was drooling all over myself while reading. Thankfully there are recipes included at the end of the book (I know what I'll be doing on my days off)!
The characters were nearly as rich and vibrant as the pies. I loved Ella Mae and Chewy. Her mother and aunts were ridiculously awesome as well. Loralyn, Ella Mae's childhood rival, had the Mean Girl act down to an artform. I would have loved to have seen something come out of the budding romance with Hugh (high school crush), but I suppose that will have to wait for the next book.
Ella Mae's A-HA! moment was a little heavy on the cheese factor and it's so frustrating when the villain turns out to be a character that hadn't been in the story until the big reveal. Apart from those minor setbacks Pies & Prejudice was a fun - and funny - start to a new series and one I'll be sure to continue!...more
I am a HUGE fan of retellings and, lucky for me, there's no shortage of them these days. Fairy tale retellings are a dime a dozen, but I haven't come across a Mexican retelling of the Odyssey before and couldn't wait to dive right in.
Summer of the Mariposas (butterflies in Spanish, and that's just the first of dozens of words sprinkled throughout the book) tells the tale of the five Garza girls, cinco hermanitas: Odilia is the oldest and the narrator of the story; Juanita, the second oldest and the most headstrong; Velia and Delia are the twins, connected by their own bond, yet just as close to their other sisters; and Pita, the baby of the family.
Due to their Papa running out on the family, the girls' beloved Mama has been struggling to make ends meet and, as a result, the girls are more often than not left to their own devices. One day while they're swimming in their favorite spot, they spot a body drifting along in the current. Unsure of what to do, the girls decide to bring the body back to his family. With a little help from ancient Aztec goddesses and Llorona, the five sisters leave Texas and journey into Mexico.
While Summer of the Mariposas deals with highly fantastic elements (the girls battle witches, chupacabras, and trickster demons, to name a few), this is ultimately a story about family and bonds that can never be broken.
I absolutely adored this book. Everything about it, from the sisters and magic to that GORGEOUS COVER (!!), Summer of the Mariposas was a complete homerun. The imagery was beautiful, the wording was remarkable, the characters were fleshed out so well I felt as though I knew them.
Definitely keep an eye out for this book. You won't be disappointed....more
2012 is the year of retellings and until now, I can't think of any other retelling of Hansel and Gretel. The moment I heard about this book, I desperately needed to read it. Luckily I was provided with an ARC (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!) and were it not for work - and, trust me, I was seriously tempted to call off - I would have finished The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy in one sitting.
Lorelei Robinson is an eleven year old girl harboring a terrible secret. Since the death of her mother a year earlier, she's felt alone and ignored by her older brother and father. And her new stepmother Molly is an absolute terror.
When her school burns down, there's talk of where to send the now-schooless children. Over the weekend a new school suddenly is built and the only one who seems to notice just how quickly it appeared is Lorelei. Despite the costs of a private school, Lorelei's father agrees to check it out (much to the dismay of Molly; she'd much rather spend that money on herself).
Splendid Academy is unlike any other school. Not only does it have a pretty fantastic playground, but there are hardly any rules and it's nearly impossible to get in trouble. Students are free to wander the halls or leave their classroom if a particular lesson doesn't interest them. There are bowls of candy on every desk. Multiple recesses a day. Feel like playing with your phone instead of learning math? Go right ahead!
Even with these unbelievable perks, Splendid Academy's claim to fame is the food. Oh, that food. Students are encouraged to eat as much as they'd like and upon touring the school, they were asked about their favorite foods. In many cases, students eat better at school than they do at home.
The only one who seems to suspect something strange is going on is Andrew, a boy in Lorelei's class. Andrew is overweight and over the summer his mother had sent him off to camp. It was there he learned about controlling his eating and how to avoid cravings. While all the other students are stuffing their faces with plate after plate of food, Andrew is able to fight the temptation - and winds up dealing with the repercussions of going against the plans the school has for him.
Without giving too much away - although, given this book is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, what do you think will happen? - The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a dark, delightful tale. I tore through this book, not just because of the quick pace, but because it was seriously that good. This book is described as Hansel and Gretel meets Coraline and that alone should send readers running to preorder it.
The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is the reason I love Middle Grade. :)...more
I feel like I live in a world right after the big party. Like, everything was amazing and alive and people were having the time of their lives way back when, and now when I live is like the next morning, and everything is broken and trashed, technology and ideas just lying around empty, and it's like we missed it.
The Earth Owen Parker knows is drastically different from the world we currently live in. Radiation levels have elevated to highly dangerous levels - so dangerous that humans (and animals, for that matter) can no longer live "normal" lives. Over 70% of the population has been wiped out, countless species have gone extinct, and lakes and oceans have been drained or are rapidly drying up.
In an attempt to save themselves, civilization has resorted to seeking refuge inside domed cities. While the majority of people live in these Edens, there are communities - like Owen's - that live underground.
When Owen is selected to leave the Hub and attend camp in EdenWest, he discovers he holds the key - literally - to an ancient past and what lies in store for the future.
But the body is a simple machine. It doesn't plan for you being underwater when you need air. It figures you wouldn't be that stupid, I guess. And if you were, well, then there were three billion other humans out there who probably wouldn't make the same mistake, so your genes clearly weren't worth passing on.
The Lost Code kicks things off with a bang. Owen drowns within the first few pages and when he's rescued he finds out he was actually underwater for much longer than what was originally thought. Much too long for any human to survive.
As the story progresses, Owen discovers those "scratches" on his neck are gills. He grew gills. And he's not the only one: the group of older kids in charge of the camp also have gills and they'd determined to find out why - and if these changes are in any way linked to the strange disappearance of fellow campers.
While The Lost Code was enjoyable, I had two huge issues: Owen's age and the year. Owen's age is never given, but judging from the cover, I assumed he'd be 17/18. ...the way he sounds in the book, however, I could easily mistake him for 12/13. In fact, all of the characters I'd peg for tweens or early teens. Although there isn't any sex in the book, Owen wonders whether or not his crush and her ex were 'screwing.' I don't know any 18-year old who says that. The whole summer camp setting combined with the way the characters spoke made it really difficult for me to think of them as being the age of the models on the cover of the book.
We stayed away from the Strip, but I remember being able to see the fire from my window, watching it go for days, and almost thinking it was beautiful. I mean, not actually beautiful but...you know how you feel like if the world is going to end, you want to be there to see it? You want to know what comes next?
The other issue I had was with the year the story takes place. Again, it's never stated, although there were some clues. One of the leaders reads a story to them (a little hard to picture older teens being read to). That story is The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, the only novel Poe wrote. It's mentioned that it was ~like, 250 years old~ (Another problem I had with the novel was the overabundance of the word 'like.') I'm a HUGE fan of Poe's, guys. LOVE him. Hearing that this new world is only 250 away from one where Poe lived was mildly confusing. Poe lived between 1809 & 1849. So The Lost Code takes place somewhere between 2059 and 2099. ..2059 is only 47 years away. The Earth changed that much in less than 50 years? SEVENTY PERCENT of the population (7 billion people, y'all) wiped out in a few decades?
Also, assuming this book takes place in 2059, I'm a little confused as to why there were cryos - kids at the camp who were frozen before the world went to hell. Lilly said she was born in 2046. Seeing as how she was frozen as a teen, does that mean her parents paid an insane amount of money for her to be frozen for only a few years? This baffled me even more when Lilly (along with the other cryos) reminisce about fruits and vegetables that used to exist. Owen would have been well aware of those foods.
In the large stretches of blank ocean were little sea monster sketches. Things with serpent backs or giant mouths. Paul didn't seem like the type to waste his time doodling. Maybe he had brought in a cartographer or something. Maybe the monsters were because it got boring sitting down here drawing for hours on end.
Seeing as how the series is called The Atlanteans, you'd think Atlantis would be pretty prominent, right? HA. It's not until the end of the book that Atlantis turns up and even then it's only through odd visions of Owen's. The Atlantis aspect was what originally drew me to this book and, sadly, the parts I found myself skimming over.
I couldn't connect with any of the characters; the only person at the camp I held some interest in was Leech, the cabin bully. But even he came across as a chubby little child in my mind. I just cannot picture these characters as adults.
While reading other reviews, a few readers said they figured things out way before Owen. I can say that's certainly the case, though I hadn't realized it due to lack of interest on my part. I couldn't bring myself to care about these people. It's clear readers are meant to get emotional during certain scenes and I just...didn't.
And that romance? It was certainly a case of instalove on Owen's part - Lilly is a beautiful, older girl with green bangs. One day they're strangers, the next she's flirting with him and he starts daydreaming of them running away together.
With all the complaining I'm doing, it sounds like The Lost Code is a terrible book and it's not. It was fun and I enjoyed it. However, it's not without it's flaws and certain aspects (if the world outside the domes is so dangerous, how is it the kids are fine laying out and looking at the sky at the end?) made it hard for me to stay in the story.
Although it was amusing while it lasted, I can't see myself continuing with the series....more
OH HEY WHAT UP 5 STARS. Okay, seriously you guys, read this book. It's gorgeous, so so beautifully written. And there are Norse gods in it. And nothing is more badass than a Norse god.
The thin child learned to read very early. Her mother was more real, and kinder, when it was a question of grouped letters on the page. Her father was away. He was in the air, in the war, in Africa, in Greece, in Rome, in a world that only existed in books. She remembered him. He had red-gold hair and clear blue eyes, like a god.
Ragnarok takes places in the English countryside during World War II. The thin child (otherwise unnamed throughout the duration of the book) relocates with her mother while her father is off fighting. She comes across an old book of Norse mythology and it sets her imagination running.
The book also said that these stories belonged to 'Nordic' people, Norwegians, Danes and Icelanders. The thin child was, in England, a northerner. The family came from land invaded and settled by Vikings. These were her stories.
This book is not one to be read for plot, characters, or rich dialogue. In fact, as far as I remember, there are only two short sentences of dialogue in the entire story. Instead, this is a showcase for Byatt's sheer talent for writing. The language in Ragnarok is absolutely breathtaking. There were countless passages I read and reread simply because the imagery was so beautiful. Ms. Byatt was even able to turn a description of a boat made from toenails into a gorgeous work of art.
There are no altars to Loki, no standing stones, he had no cult. In myths he was the third of the trio, Odin, Hodur, Loki. In myths, the most important comes first of three. But in fairy tales, and folklore, where these three gods also play their parts, the rule of three is different; the important player is the third, the youngest son, Loki.
The chapters alternate between the thin child's perspective and that of Asgard and its inhabitants. With each chapter the tension built and I knew it was coming. I knew his chapter would be up soon and when I finally reached it, I wasn't disappointed. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
Loki and I go way back. He's one of my favorite mythological beings - Norse or otherwise - and I eagerly awaited his arrival. In a book not written for its characters, I felt Loki was the one character I truly got a feel for. As he hatched his plans I became downright giddy. The writing was such that I felt as though I were watching his scenes acted out, rather than reading words on a page.
The skies thickened and thickened. Things - Dises - leathery winged female things - wailed in the wind and perched on the crags, staring and screaming. Nidhøggr the great worm who gnawed the roots of Yggdrasil came out and sucked the blood from the dead as they law in the freezing slime. From the Kettlewood, where Loki lay bound among the geysirs - which still spouted hot - came a louder howl of wolves, wolves in the wood, wolves padding over the snow, wolves with blood on their fangs, wolves in the mind.
Wind Time, Wolf Time, before the World breaks up.
That was the time they were in.
Loki's capture heralded in Ragnarok itself: the final showdown. Neil Gaiman did a spectacular job of capturing this moment in American Gods and I couldn't wait to read Byatt's take on the battle. In a word: stunning. I could vividly picture the entire world delving into chaos. I watched the battle-scarred gods fight against Loki's wolves.
What I love about the story of Ragnarok is that it doesn't have a happy ending and Byatt actually discusses that in the story. Long before the war the gods knew what was coming and what they would have to do. There are no good guys. There isn't that long, drawn-out moment while the audience holds its breath, waiting to see if the underdogs can score that winning goal as time runs out. It is what it is and I love that.
Bunyan's tale had a clear message and meaning. Not so, Asgard and the Gods. That book was an account of a mystery, of how a world came together, was filled with magical and powerful beings, and then came to an end. A real End. The end.
Despite its extremely short length (less than 180 pages!), Ragnarok is a sweeping epic and has earned a place as one of my tops reads of 2012.
They became raiders. They overran each others' housesteads, howling and roaring, slaughtering the weak and emptying the meagre stores. They drank what mead there was, swallowed the wine as though there was no tomorrow, which they began to believe was true. Hungry creatures, hungry men, will eat anything. The battle-winners feasted among the dead bodies, which were being torn at by creeping, crouching beasts. They gripped each other and fell about the fire, fornicating with whomever was to hand, with whatever was to hand. They bit and kissed and chewed and swallowed and fought and struggled and waiting for the world to end, which it did not, not yet. They ate each other, of course, in the end.
This was the moment. This was the beginning of the end. These gods were gods who had existed in waiting, waiting to made a last stand.
The gods went over the bridge, Bifröst, the rainbow bridge that linked Asgard and Midgard. They were damaged already, when they set out. Tyr had lost his arm to the wold, Odin his eye to Mimir, Freyer had given away his magic sword, Thor's wife, Sif, had seen all her magical hair fall away from her bald head. Thor himself, according to some poets, had lost the hammer he had thrown after the Midgard-serpent. Baldur had lost his life. There are two ways, in stories, of winning battles - to be sumpremely strong, or to be a gallant forlorn hope. The Ases were neither. They were brave and tarnished.