Arol Jahns's Reviews > Runemarks

Runemarks by Joanne Harris
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Mar 28, 2009

Read in January, 2008

I am not a huge fan of the young adult fantasy genre, but I read "Runemarks" because of it's connection to Norse mythology (I'm 1/2 Norwegian) and I was blown away by Joanne Harris' ability to tell an epic story of good versus evil with such wit and dedication to crafting such amazing and interesting characters.

I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys films like "Lord of the Rings" and "The Narnia Chronicles", but doesn't typically read the source material. "Runemarks" creates such a vivid world inhabited by goblins and gods and ferverent religous zealots and carries you along for a 500 page ride.

In the interest of full disclosure, I own the option for the film rights to "Runemarks" and am currently working on the screenplay adaptation. Therefore, I would be very interested to hear what you think of the novel, the story, the characters, the themes, etc.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Regina Hi, I saw your review of Runemarks while thinking about writing my own and you can see what I had to say about it.
I'm interested in your full disclosure - I think a film of this book would be pretty nifty.
My own full disclosure - I'm a Heathen with a vested interest in stories portraying the Norse Gods. I think that Harris's portrayal of Loki is pretty spot-on and Odin is darn good as well. Like I mention in my review, she doesn't do the Goddesses justice and it would be nice to see that adjusted in a film adaptation (although I'm not sure how much can be done without destroying her plot).
I especially liked how she did a pretty good job of introducing Viking-age virtues into the story without hitting you over the head with them. Oaths, for instance, are very important, as is honor.

message 2: by Arol (new) - added it

Arol Jahns Hi Regina,

Thank you for your comment on my review. You brought up some very good points, that I hadn't really thought about much. While I am 1/2 Norwegian I am definitely not an expert when it comes to Norse mythology and have had to read other books on the subject to get some more background in order to further appreciate what Joanne has done with these characters. Joanne's Loki is one of my favorites too b/c while he is often portayed in a negative light, you really develop a strong liking to him in Runemarks....he's not a perfect angel by any stretch, but he's sympathetic. At least i thought so. Anyway, back to your points, the idea of Oaths being sacred. I wasn't fully aware of that and I will definitely see how that can be worked in. As for the female gods not being done justice, well, yes, I can see how none of them are really that strong or compelling with the exception of Skadi who, while strong, comes off as more of a petulent child. That said in my screenplay I, unfortunately, don't think i'll be making much of the Seven Sleepers with the exception of Skadi and I am keeping her more or less how she is in the book b/c she is the antagonist of a major subplot. However, the main protagonist, Maddy, is of course, a new god and a female and she is celebrated in both the novel and the screenplay. By the way, weren't you impressed that Joanne took the myth of Modi, a male character in traditional norse mythology, and made her a female instead? Go women! :)

Thanks again for your thoughts. I look forward to reading your full review. Definitely let me know when you post it.


ps. I had never seen Heathen before as a proper noun. A little google search reveals that it's linked to paganism or a modern version of Germanic Neopaganism. Is this an academic interest for you or a way of life/spiritual?

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